Phone Number Masking (Call Masking) – Glossary

Call Masking

What is call masking and how does it work? Learn how masked numbers are used in real life and how you can set up call masking yourself.

What is Phone Number Masking?

Phone Number Masking is a feature used to facilitate short-term interactions between users while protecting their personal information. Instead of dialing directly from phone to phone, users communicate via a third “proxy” phone number that connects the call to the end recipient. 

Looking for an easier way to explain it? 

As long as you know that masked numbers are temporary telephone numbers displayed in place of the actual phone number connected to the call, you pretty much got it. The basic purpose of call masking is for a user to send or receive calls and messages without revealing their real phone number. There are several benefits of doing this (we’ll cover those soon), but protecting personal information is the main motivation for using masked phone numbers. 

Why Use Masked Numbers During Calls?

In many business scenarios, a flurry of communications must be conducted within a short period of time. For example, ride sharing apps like Uber or Lyft, the customer and the driver need a way to communicate with each other. But in a transaction that will be over in a few minutes, trading phone numbers between the service provider and the customer is not necessary. 

This is where phone number masking comes in. As a technique, call masking protects the personal information of both the buyer and service provider. Masked numbers are only available temporarily. After the interaction ends or the designated time expires, the masked numbers can be used by other users of the platform. 

Phone number masking is also known as cloaked, proxied, or anonymized calling.

How Call Masking Works

Take a scenario where two people need to speak with each other. They don’t have one another’s phone number, and they don’t want to. So the sender calls a number through the app, 123-444-5555. The call is routed through the masking software, which forwards the call to the receiver at 321-555-4444.

With number masking, the receiving caller doesn’t see the sender’s number (111-222-3333), they see another masked number, let’s say 123-999-1234. If they get disconnected, they can call this number back and get the original sender.

To use call masking as a feature or build it in to your own software, you need a voice API provider that can facilitate it. To configure number masking in your own platform, you need to create a customer-to-user call map in your back-end. Then, embed your phone number provider's APIs into your platform and assign their numbers to your call map. 

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