They are two of the most used instant messaging apps in the world, and, although they are not the absolute safest, they are used daily by millions of people. Both apps are used both for personal exchanges and for work communications, and for some time also to receive offers and advertisements from companies and companies. In this way, however, our personal number may fall into the wrong hands and if we are not careful we can also run into well-organized scams.
So how can we protect our privacy? There are several solutions we can adopt for both apps!
WhatsApp as we all know it is owned by Facebook while Telegram was founded by exiled Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov. Both apps are subject to an encryption protocol to protect our messages (with Telegram that beats WhatsApp in this case and also has self-destructing messages). Both apps were victims of data leaks and only the client-side of Telegram is open source, making the server-side private, ie where the data is stored.
As always the advice is to use a secure network, like a VPN connection, for your communications. Then there are some tricks you can use to make your number “invisible” or to avoid scams and spam messages.
WhatsApp, but also Telegram, require a phone number to register and to communicate with people. Unfortunately you will use your personal number to register, making it available to everyone, especially when you are placed in groups. To avoid the spread of your number, you can request a temporary number with which to register, which you can use to create the WhatsApp or Telegram account. There are several apps on the Play Store that provide VoIP numbers, both for a fee (including Google service) and free. In this way, when you are placed in groups and chats with more people, only your “fake” number will be displayed and not your personal number, thus avoiding spam and unwanted calls. In addition, in both apps it is possible to block numbers and users that annoy us by inserting them in a blacklist, ie blocked contacts and also use a password to protect the chats ….
There are more than a dozen online services that promise to provide secondary numbers, either for free phone calls and messages or as a temporary number, but not all of these services are the same.
Google Voice : the best choice for secondary numbers, Google Voice has recently been updated with a completely new interface both on the Web and on the mobile, making it once again a great choice. Google is a reliable company and Voice even lets you use your number to forward calls, make free phone calls and send text messages to family and friends with ease. Your number can be used both to call and be called and to send text messages, making it just like a normal cell phone. It’s a great service, especially free, for anyone looking for a new phone number to use with WhatsApp.
Talkatone : How Google Voice, Talkatone is built to provide alternative numbers to call and send messages to users for free. Therefore, when you access the service, you get an alternative phone number for calls and SMS, complete with local area code. Talkatone also allows you to change this number when needed, an exceptional feature that, as far as we know, is not allowed with Google Voice. The negative aspects of Talkatone are the ads included in the app, but if you only use the phone number to verify your account, it’s easy to ignore the ads within the app itself to focus solely on the alternative number you get inside app. While Voice and Talkatone are our choices due to the lack of costs and ease of use, if you’re looking for an application with a little more functionality than just calls and messages, or an app with the ability to create more than a phone number, read on below:
Burner : called “burner phones”, Burner is an app that automatically gives you a new number whenever you need it. You can get a real phone number that can be used to make phone calls and messages directly from the app and automatically configure those numbers. When you are done with that number, you can easily delete it from the device. Burner comes with a toll-free number for seven days, but then you will have to pay a subscription to use the app or purchase credits. If you need to use multiple phone numbers with multiple WhatsApp accounts, it might be worth using Burner.
Sideline : for iOS and Android, you offers the possibility of using local area codes and the ability to easily write messages and calls, Sideline is a great addition to this list. Unlike most apps in this list, sideline uses your normal minutes instead of using VoIP interfaces, saving your data when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. There are a lot of advanced features, but if you are looking for a number only to verify your WhatsApp account, Sideline might be a bit excessive, especially since it costs $ 9.99 a month. However, there is a 7-day free trial, which may be sufficient to verify your account.
Flyp: Flyp is very similar to Sideline, as it is an app created to replace the current phone number with an easy way to contact work colleagues, also allowing you to separate your company accounts from your personal numbers. You can easily use local area codes while calling someone, masking your number. The audio quality of Flyp is excellent. But at $ 7.99 a month, it’s probably a bit expensive to use just to verify a WhatsApp account. Like Sideline, this app has a 7-day free trial.
Hushed: what makes this app excellent is its end-to-end encryption when talking to other users. This makes it the number one app in this list, and this could be important if you’re trying to hide your identity both inside and outside of WhatsApp.
In all communication systems we must instead pay attention to scams, whether they are phishing attempts or personifications.
What is it? Phishing is a technique used to steal users’ personal data through files, downloads or messages that look the same as the original ones. In other cases instead, hackers or malicious people create profiles and groups (channels on Telegram) equal to the original ones except for some details, an inverted letter, a different color in the logo: all details not perceptible at first.
For example, our Telegram channel is called CryptoLocalATM with our logo as an avatar while there is a fake and unreliable version: CryptoLoocalATM . Almost the same if it were not for an “or” addition and not perceptible to a distracted look or a quick look.
Another example is on our WhatsApp contact with the official number +447894438974 with our logo as an avatar while there is a fake and unreliable version where they use the same information and images but with a different unofficial number.
How to do it?
Use only the official channels to register: directly from the site or by copying the links shown on the official pages.
Never provide personal data on chats but only through registration forms verified on official websites and do not make payments if you do not have a receipt and above all there is no secure method with which you can also get a refund (the PayPal refund works only with the Goods and Services method),
and finally there are sites and bots dedicated to scams in which you can check if the channel you came across has already been reported.
In short, the network can be a dangerous place, but by following these tips and informing you, you can use the web in your favor!