Now you can protect the privacy of your phone number with the iPhone app Burner. Not only can you create a temporary alias phone number that will appear as your caller ID with outgoing calls, the number will kick incoming calls to your line and/or an anonymous voicemail automatically. The numbers work with text messaging as well.
When you're finished using the number it can be deleted forever. The developer Ad Hoc Labs explains that Burner numbers are great for "dating, job searches, short-term projects, craigslist transactions, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media" or for any other time you don't want to distribute your real phone number.
So what's the catch? Burner is not free. Besides the app cost of $1.99, each alias number will cost credits that are currently available in various denominations. The initial purchase includes enough credits to create a line that will stick around for one week, 20 minutes of voice, or 60 text messages. When any of these limits is reached the number will disappear, or you can tap the Burn button to remove it earlier. Callers trying to reach a burned number will receive a message that the number is out of service.
Burner will also use up your real voice minutes, but does not count against any text plan you have from your mobile carrier. Overall Burner could be a useful app for those needing multiple numbers, preferred area codes, or a little bit of extra privacy in business transactions on the web.