In short: many people give their phone numbers through online forms without thinking about what companies will do with them, regretting their decision only after they were bombarded with spam, sellers and robots. But the new service from Firefox will help you avoid these troubles by protecting your privacy by creating a virtual phone number alias.
The service is based on the Firefox Relay product existing in the browser, which prevents users’ mailboxes from overflowing with unwanted messages by providing them with virtual email addresses. Mozilla Product manager Tony Amaral-Chinotto writes that since its launch in 2020, the company has blocked more than 1.3 million unwanted emails.
Firefox Relay’s new phone masking feature is primarily designed for when you sign up for loyalty programs, book a table at a restaurant, or make purchases that require your phone number at companies that you suspect may use it for marketing or selling to others. legal entities with the same purpose.
The function suggests some numbers similar to your own that mask the actual number. Calls and text messages to the new number will be forwarded to your phone, but you can block everything that the mask receives, or only certain contacts. You can also reply directly to the last sender of the message, which may be useful for verification purposes.
The most important element of this feature is that you will never have to give your real phone number, otherwise you risk getting spammed or being stolen as a result of one of the many major hacks that occur these days. There is also no need to download a phone app.
Unlike email masking in Firefox, the phone number feature does not have a free tier. It costs $4.99 a month, or $3.99 if you pay annually, although you also get an Email Relay product included in the price. There are some limitations: users receive 50 minutes of incoming calls and 75 text messages per month and cannot make outgoing calls or send text messages to anyone in particular (only the last sender), but these features may be offered in the future. It is also only available in the USA and Canada.
Check out all the details about the phone and email masking features on the Firefox Relay website.