If you’ve ever needed to send a sensitive message without revealing your identity, you’ve likely found that the current options for anonymous texts are limited. Traditional telephone companies have tight Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. So, how do you send an anonymous text message?
Sending an anonymous text message requires using a trustworthy service to deliver an SMS without revealing your identity. Some mobile carriers offer email-to-text services. Alternatively, there are messaging apps that do not use a phone number for registration, allowing two-way anonymous texting.
I’ll detail your options along with my recommendations based on some possible circumstances.
Use A Messenger App To Send An Anonymous Text
Most mainstream messenger apps use your phone number during registration to identify users on the platform. Requiring this unique identifier prevents platform abuse that could otherwise get flooded with bot or scam accounts.
Messaging platforms such as Session and Briar allow users to register using a random username or a randomly assigned, generated identifier. This registration technique enables users to send anonymous texts within the platform.
Users may also have multiple accounts on the service to compartmentalize their communication, further protecting their identity.
For example, I have published my Session user ID so that you, my dear reader, can reach me with your questions. Simply install the Session messenger app and enter the unique identifier
05201a18f0189853e9382f93363b6c7157fc975a17f79b8c5d9e1067aa2deb9b6d to start a conversation. Session and I will only know whatever identifying information you have chosen to add to your profile.
The drawback of these anonymous messaging platforms is that users cannot send old SMS or MMS messages to traditional phone numbers. Messages can only be delivered to users of the service’s apps.
Burner Apps Are Not A Way To Send Anonymous Texts
Burner apps, commonly marketed as a way to send anonymous texts, are unreliable for maintaining privacy.
While these apps can be a helpful tool for hiding your phone number, they are often tied to your identity through the app stores where you download them, making it easy for others to know who you are.
Additionally, many burner apps require you to provide additional personally identifiable information (PII) during registration, which negates the anonymity we’re trying to achieve.
It’s worth noting that law enforcement can request user logs from these apps, meaning any “anonymous” messages you send through them could be traced back to you.
Given these limitations, it’s clear that burner apps are not a foolproof way to send anonymous texts.
If you want a more private way to send texts, you may want to consider something like MySudo. This privacy-focused platform provides a range of virtual identities that you can use to send and receive messages, make purchases, and more. Unlike burner apps, MySudo’s business model is built around protecting its customers.
If you are looking for a way to send anonymous texts, it’s essential to understand the limitations of burner apps.
Use Websites Offering Free Anonymous Texting Services
Quite a few sites offer the ability to send anonymous texts directly from their website.
Some popular examples include:
- Anonymoustext: uses Stripe for payments; $1.49/message
- anonymous texting: baits with an over-capacity message; median cost $0.20/message sold bundles
- Texttasy: uses Paypal for payments; $1.40/message
I tested each of these, and there are problems…
Each service requires a payment method after entering your recipient’s phone number and message from the homepage. When handling purchases, any information collected drastically reduces the anonymity of your message.
You can use payments via MySudo or Privacy.com to control cost overages and some identification. But the threat surface increases the more parties are involved in sending an anonymous text.
These web-based texting services can provide a degree of anonymity, but tracking is still possible if law enforcement serves the operator with a warrant.
Also note that these services likely use a pool of shared outbound numbers, which can be traced back to the website.
Another limitation is that these services typically do not allow replies from the recipient, providing only one-direction conversations, which can be inconvenient for some use cases.
Send Anonymous Texts Via Email
Sending anonymous texts via email is another option for those looking to keep the origin of a text message private.
Many mobile phone providers offer an email-to-SMS gateway. This service allows each phone number on a carrier’s network to receive texts via email. The address starts with the recipient’s number before the at (@) symbol. Each service provider has a specific suffix. Here are some common domains used by popular US cell phone companies:
- [number]@txt.att.net for SMS
- [number]@mms.att.net for MMS
- Google Fi: [number]@msg.fi.google.com
- T-Mobile: [number]@tmomail.net
- [number]@vtext.com (SMS)
- [number]@vzwpix.com (MMS)
- Find your recipient’s phone carrier using a service like CarrierLookup.
- Then locate the email domain suffix based on the carrier using a list like this.
- Combine the numeric phone number and the email domain to create an email address.
- Critical: Use a secondary email account not tied to your identity to send this email.
- Paste the email address into the To field and a short message in the email body.
- Send the composed email normally.
It’s worth noting that the availability of email-to-sms gateways may vary for non-US service providers. This means that users outside of the US may have different options and capabilities when sending anonymous texts via email.
Register A Phone Number For Your Business To Send Texts
Registering a phone number in the name of a business is standard practice and is a technique that individuals can use to shield their identity from public records.
This approach, which renowned security researcher Michael Bazzell popularized, is similar to purchasing real estate in the name of a business. The idea is to own a second phone number that is not tightly coupled to one’s personal identity.
This technique can be helpful for individuals who wish to separate their personal and professional lives. It also allows individuals to use this number to send and receive messages without revealing their personal information.
I realize many people will not want to establish a business strictly to send anonymous texts. But for those with a business, having a phone number separate from your personal identity provides additional privacy.
- For the user that needs a quick one-time, one-direction text, use a website offering to send a text from their number pool, and be sure to use a payment that is not closely tied to your identity.
- For a user that needs a two-way conversation, use the email to SMS gateway option with a secondary email address.
- For users who want to maintain an open line of two-way texts, use an anonymous app like Session or Briar.
- For users that want to pay for a company to maintain their privacy, select a company like MySudo
Also, consider combining the ways of anonymizing your text messaging. The key is to experiment with your solution using a test cell phone as the recipient, verifying your text is as anonymous as needed for your situation.