There aren’t many things left that you can do anonymously in today’s cyber immersed world. However, Internet community is the one that cherishes anonymity more than any community ever for many reasons. You would want to ask a fairly retarded question, or post a sexist comment without being harassed or ridiculed by hoards of ‘friends; ’ being ‘face off’ when you go online is sometimes comforting, and not necessarily involves indecent activity.
While staying relatively anonymous online is a rather simple endeavor, the same cannot be said about your smartphone. You can block your phone number from being displayed by a simple *67, but it is traceable anyway by calling your wireless carrier and requesting they trace the call.
Text messages are a different story. There is no easy fix to this problem, so, let us see what you can do to anonymize yourself when sending out SMS.
The Email Roundabout
You can use your email account to send text messages anonymously to any phone number provided you know the carrier. Of course, the email you use must not reflect your identity credentials or be linked to your other online accounts, think Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, Twitter. To make it right, create a new email account from scratch specifically for the purpose of sending anonymous text messages. To make it absolutely right, create it from a clean browser, or incognito window.
Here is the list of email templates to send text messages and MMS to clients of major wireless carriers in the U.S.:
It is also possible to send anonymous messages from Verizon’s website without logging in.
The IM Maneuver
In case you are familiar with AIM or iChat, you can use those to send anonymous text messages by going to File -> Send SMS -> enter the area code and phone number of the recipient. Voila!
Note: you must have a disposable AIM and iChat account which will not give away your identity. As it is the case with iCHat, the first time you launch it it aggregates information from your Google Talk, Yahoo, AIM, Me.com, Mac.com, so you need an anonymous account to be able to send anonymous text messages.
Online Services Option
There are websites offering the option of sending text messages; some are paid, some are free, and the main advantage is you do not need to know the recipient’s wireless carrier. If you want to receive text messages, you will have to submit your email, which can also be disposable and anonymous.
It is a little different for iPhone users because there are no such apps that block your phone number, but there are alternatives. These include apps that allow creating a new number and use it to send sms, and in theory, the new number will not trace back to your actual number. Consider Pinger, TextNow and TextPlus.
There is also a paid Burner which costs $1.99 and give you three credits for free for anonymous texting. You can buy more via in-app purchases.
While these tips are helpful for the U.S. customers, we would like to gather ideas and roundabout tips for the European carriers, so your suggestions are welcome.