They’re great for mobile privacy, but do you know how to buy a burner phone anonymously?

Burner phones aren’t always untraceable (link). How you use them, and even how you bought them in the first place actually affects how anonymous a burner phone really is.

If you’re buying a burner phone for the first time, this is for you.

Not sure how to buy a burner phone anonymously? Read on to find out.

How to buy a burner phone anonymously: 5 Tips

Tip 1: Keep the burner phone switched off until you leave the store

(image credit: TechEBlog) Switch your burner phone on only after you've left the store.

Want to buy a burner phone without anyone knowing? Always keep it switched off until after you’ve left the store.

When a burner phone is switched on, it is possible for anyone to estimate your current location using cellular triangulation.

Cellular triangulation isn’t 100% accurate, but it’s easier to track the burner phone back to you when people are aware of where you’d bought the burner phone from.

The idea here is to simply use the burner phone away from key locations. Keep it switched off when you first buy it, and also use it only when you’re out and away from your home.

Tip 2: Avoid buying burner phones from major retailers

Avoid buying a burner phone from major retailers like Walmart

Buying a burner phone is pretty easy these days. Walmart has them. 7-11 has them. Almost every major retailer sells burner phones.

There’s a catch though: these burner phones sold by major retailers don’t really work as burner phones.

That’s because these companies require some sort of identity registration. Stricter retailers may even ask for a credit check.

By sharing personal information that can tie the burner phone back to you, that burner phone you’re buying isn’t anonymous or untraceable anymore.

Tip 3: Do not buy a burner phone on a contract.

(image credit: Lifewire) Never, ever buy a burner phone on a contract

Back then, you could simply get any burner phone you want with cold, hard cash. Cash wasn’t only convenient, but it also made your transaction untraceable.

Today, some burner phones are sold on a contract basis, or as part of a mobile plan. These contracts require you to disclose critical personal information that can tie the burner phone to you.

Burner phones sold on contracts tend to pack a lot more features, but remember: you want to keep your identity a secret.

And that means only buying burner phones at retailers that allow upfront cash payments.

Tip 4: Do not use the burner phone for any online activity.

When getting a burner phone, refrain from any online activity

When you first buy a burner phone, you may be advised to register your device or sign up for an account online.

Please don’t do so.

All cellular devices come with a unique identifier number known as a MAC address. When your device connects to the internet, your device’s MAC address will be reported and stored.

This also applies after you’ve bought a burner phone.

You should refrain from installing any apps or using your burner phone for any online activity. Just keep things simple – use it only for anonymous texts and calls.

Tip 5: Refrain from buying “locked burner phones”

Always check if the burner phone you're getting is "locked" or "unlocked"

We’ve mentioned this before in our earlier posts on burner phones, and we can’t stress this enough.

Not all burner phones are the same.

When you buy a burner phone, always check if it’s “locked” or “unlocked”.

If a burner phone is “unlocked””, that means you can freely slot in or out a SIM card of your choice.

If it’s “locked” instead, that burner phone has a SIM card that’s fixed to a particular mobile carrier.

Because “locked” burner phones tend to require identity registration and are linked to a single phone number, these types of burner phones are easier to trace than “unlocked” ones.

Use a burner phone app instead

A burner phone is truly anonymous only when it’s bought or used the right way. If you’re buying one for the first time, you should avoid:

  • burner phones sold on contracts
  • “locked” burner phones
  • Burner phones sold by major retailers
  • Engaging in any online activity at the time of purchase

There’s plenty of room for an accidental slip-up. Just making one of these mistakes will mean that your burner phone isn’t anonymous anymore.

Instead of worrying over how to get a true burner phone, you should consider getting a burner phone app instead.

Burner phone apps provide burner phone numbers that aren’t tied to any one mobile carrier. Numbers on these apps come without contract, so feel free to use them for as much as you like.

Skip the hassle for easier privacy with our Phoner burner number app

Our very own Phoner also allows you to get unlimited numbers from around the world. With just one app, you can get the functionality of many more burner phones without the same headache.

Buy a burner phone the right way today

Should you choose to buy a burner phone instead, we hope these tips will help you buy a burner phone anonymously.

If you’re already using a burner phone, do check if your phone meets any of the criteria mentioned in our list. Consider getting a new burner phone or a burner phone app instead.

So that’s how to buy a burner phone anonymously. Buy a burner phone the right way, or switch over for easier privacy with burner phone apps today!