Phone number screens dating callers for you

GrandCentralMy friend Doug alerted me to a new service he thought would be perfect for daters (no, he’s not representing the company). It’s called

It allows you to have a free phone number in any area code you want. You can give it to guys you meet online or in person and there’s no way to trace the number back to your name or address. Additionally, you set it to forward to the phone(s) you want: cell, home, work. You can even set it to forward to a different phone depending on the time of day so you don’t get dating calls at work.

You can screen your calls or block callers you don’t want to talk to. You can listen in on people leaving voice mail before taking the call. Sounds perfect for avoiding stalkers or those who are obtuse. For guys who don’t really understand “I don’t want to see you anymore,” now you don’t have to change your number.

It lets you have different messages for different callers. “Yes, Steve, my sweet patootie, I’d love to have dinner with you Sunday.” “No, Dash, it’s too little too late, so please don’t call again.” “No Robin, calling me at 10:00 p.m. to ask if you can bring over a DVD screams ‘bootie call’ and I’m not interested.”

Which reminds me of this message, reported to be on someone’s answer machine, forwarded from my friend Paulette Ensign (The Booklet Queen).

“I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the beep. If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes.”

If you are out of the US (like DG readers Gatti, Cat and ER), you can get a US number if you’re Skypecommunicating with folks in the US, then hear your voice mails from the GrandCentral web site. If you want to talk to the person real time, you can always use Skype for pennies per minute.

If you’re interested, now during the beta period they are offering goodies to try the service. You can have unlimited inbound minutes, unlimited voicemail, and all premium features, including call record. You can check voice mail from a phone or the web site.

I contacted the owners and they said they’d give DG readers a $5 credit on outbound calling.  You can then return calls directly from your voice mail or from the site while displaying your GrandCentral caller ID and keeping your phone number private. But for GrandCentral to know you’re one of my readers and get the $5 credit, you need to use the code “DatingGoddess” in the promotion code field on the sign up page.

If, Yahoo! Personals, JDate and other sites were savvy, they’d have this service as part of their package. It would eliminate many of those jitters of “Do I trust him enough to give him my number?”

I signed up for the beta. If you do, too, let me know what you think.

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10 responses to “Phone number screens dating callers for you”

  1. Julie Smart Avatar
    Julie Smart

    This is great! Thanks for letting me know about it! I hate giving my number out to guys I’m just considering dating!! Now, if they turn out to be freaks, I just play “number not in service”…this is too cool!

  2. Jim the tech consultant Avatar
    Jim the tech consultant

    A truly anonymous service is provided by I talked to these guys at CES and it looks pretty good. It is designed for the dating scene.

  3. Jim the tech consultant Avatar
    Jim the tech consultant

    Skype has three different call scenarios: (1) Skpye software on a PC to Skype software on another PC – this is free no matter how long the conversation. (2) Skype software on a PC to a dial number. Depending on where you are in the world and where you are calling there are different rates. One good deal is you can call from a PC in the US to any number in the US for as long as you want for $30/yr (yes, per year) (3) Dial calls to skype software on a PC – you get to choose where the telephone number is. NOTE: At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, I saw a lot of Skype phones that do not need a PC to work, just an internet connection. They should be on the market in the next six months or so.

  4. Kat Wilder Avatar

    It seems kinda cool but … why would you want to give our your number to someone you’re so unsure about? Why not get his number? Or use e-mail (and everyone should have a separate e-mail address that isn’t your “real” one).

    And why can’t someone have the balls to say, “Even though I enjoy your company, I don’t think we’re a good fit in the long run. But I wish you lots of luck?”

    Just curious ….

  5. Dating Goddess Avatar


    Even if you call him, if you don’t have your caller ID blocked, he can get your number. And of course you wouldn’t call or give your number to anyone you weren’t interested in getting to know better, or who you thought was a wacko. But people can seem nice and normal at first, then their mask comes off as you get to know them. And you may discover after the first few calls or even dates that they are a card short of a deck and it would be best to not have contact. Some guys — and I’m lucky to not have given my number to any like this — will continue to call even after you’ve told them to stop. So this is an extra security measure.

  6. LA Avatar

    Seems like foolishness to me. Why agree to meet with someone you are not really interested in and on top of that give him your number? What happened to Universal truth and honest? Oh yeah, I forgot. There isn’t any.

  7. Kat Wilder Avatar

    Both Dating Goddess and LA are right.
    Welcome to the new world ….

  8. Erin Avatar

    If you dial *67 before you dial their number, then your number will not show on their caller ID (I’m talking regular phones here).

  9. NYSharon Avatar

    ….And then there is the good old fashioned restraining order.

  10. Jim the Tech Consultant Avatar
    Jim the Tech Consultant

    CAUTION: blocking caller ID does NOT always work, as there are whole classes of phone numbers you can call that get the calling information regardless of the condition set on the calling phone. This is buried deep in the FCC regulations and the telco operating rules. If you want to ensure someone can not get your calling number the only reliable way is to use an anonymous calling service or a non-existent payphone (notice how they are disappearing?). The bottom line is your privacy is non-existent unless you take very active measures to protect it.