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Ever encounter a situation where you need to give someone your phone number in order to contact them, but never want to hear from them again after that meeting? Let’s just go over a list of quick examples: 1) Meeting creepers on Craigslist, 2) Guys hitting on you, 3) That random embarrassing hookup, and so on… Today, I’ve got the solution for you. RingShuffle creates free temporary and disposable numbers that link directly to your carrier’s number.

Platform Availability: iOS 3.0 and up, Any computer with Internet access (via either the Ringshuffle website or the Ringshuffle Facebook app)

Cost: It’s free! If Ringshuffle sounds even remotely interesting to you, you owe it to yourself to try it.

What it is: Unlike some of the multi-faceted apps I’ve covered in the past, Ringshuffle only does one thing but does it very well: create temporary and disposable phone numbers that link to your carrier number. Best of all, the person on the other line won’t know the number you’re giving out is only temporary. Other people can reach you perfectly fine from this number, but when you don’t want them to bother you anymore, just throw away that Shuffle number. These temporary numbers expire in seven days, but you can dispose of them sooner if you wish. You even have the option of changing the area code to blend in with the locals/look like an out-of-towner!

How does it work: Download the app, go to the website, or approve the Facebook app; then, create an account – it’s ridiculously easy. All Ringshuffle requires is your carrier phone number, an email address, and a five-digit pin. After that, it sets you up with a shuffle number with the same area code as your carrier number. If you’d like, hit shuffle and you can then choose a shuffle number with a different area code. And that’s it! Ringshuffle will automatically forward people who call your shuffle number to your carrier number. Unfortunately, you can only have one Shuffle number associated with your carrier number at a time, and you can’t currently make outboud calls with your Shuffle number (but they’re working on it!)

The Competition: While researching more about Ringshuffle, I found out about a service called iNumbr that also allows you to create virtual phone numbers. However, iNumber costs at least $6.99/month with a limited amount of talk time on your virtual line. The same cost limitation also applies to NotMyNumber (which also offers apps for iOS and Windows Phone) – rates start at $2.99 for a number that only lasts an hour. Ringshuffle has no such restrictions and is absolutely free! If making outbound calls with your temporary number is essential however, go with NotMyNumber.

Summary: So often, the phone-related apps we cover on HackCollege are limited to smartphone users. Ringshuffle is one of those rare apps that’s useful to anyone with a phone number (regardless of what phone you use) who wants to keep it private. Get Ringshuffle and start taking back control of your phone number’s privacy today.

Can you think of any other helpful uses for temporary and disposable numbers? Is there anything else out there like Ringshuffle? Let us know in the comments!