Phone Number Masking: What it is, How it Works & Key Benefits

Phone Number Masking: What it is, How it Works & Key Benefits

Whether you run a food and grocery delivery service, a ride-hailing app, or a marketplace where you need to call your customers regularly creating a customer experience is a top priority. 

Phone number masking is a tool that allows these business types to design customer-centric communications that prioritize privacy and security, improving customer satisfaction and building trust in your business. 

But how do you implement phone number masking? What are the benefits of call masking? And, is it worth the effort and resources? 

In this guide, we’ll answer all of these questions and help you choose the right service provider for your call masking needs. 

What are masked phone numbers? 

Masked phone numbers, also known as anonymized, proxied, or cloaked phone numbers, conceal participants' personal phone numbers and anonymize communication between multiple parties. 

Instead of directly calling from one phone number to another, users communicate through a third-party "proxy" phone number that forwards the call to the desired destination. To build familiarity and affinity, you can even opt for a specific area code local to a particular state, territory, or region. 

How does call masking protect your number?

Phone number masking often includes features such as call routing, caller ID protection, call duration limits, and encryption, adding layers of security and privacy. This setup achieves several goals at once. 

Firstly, it prevents the parties' numbers from being exposed to one another by using a temporary virtual number as a bridge between the caller and the recipient. Vendors can automatically discontinue communication once a transaction or service is completed, ensuring that all parties involved are secure. 

Second, number masking allows companies to monitor and control communication for quality and security purposes. By routing calls through a controlled environment, you can monitor conversations for compliance with service standards like GDPR, resolve disputes by reviewing call records, and detect any fraudulent activities. 

With reliable masking providers like Plivo, you can also accelerate your go-to-market time with an off-the-shelf, packaged API solution and implement masking within a day. The feature-rich platform provides robust logic that facilitates two-way calling and phone number reuse. Additionally, the advanced infrastructure ensures high call quality and minimal call drops, ensuring your customer experience is on-point. 

6 benefits of using phone number masking API

Let’s take a look at six of the biggest problems call masking solutions solve for business: 

1. Ensure privacy and security of both customers and vendors

By masking phone numbers, you can build trust with your customers and vendors and ensure the safety of their personal information. Call masking keeps numbers private and secure from unauthorized access—spam calls, fraudulent websites, and others. 

2. Prevent platform leakage

Platform leakage occurs when buyers and sellers bypass the marketplace to avoid platform fees and obtain better deals by communicating directly to complete a transaction. 

Phone number masking adds a layer of protection that discourages users from taking their transactions off your platform. It anonymizes and conceals sensitive information to protect user privacy while preserving the data's functionality. 

3. Uphold the brand reputation

Call masking makes business representatives and customers feel secure knowing their personal information isn’t exposed to strangers. This reduces the risk of a privacy breach or unwanted contact post-transaction (i.e., contact once the cab ride is over). 

Call masking also reinforces the brand’s role as a trustworthy intermediary, making customers more likely to continue using the service. 

4. Get enhanced data insights for better decision-making

Plivo offers streamlined data analysis and reporting of your call masking operations. Simplifying key information allows Plivo users to set the stage for higher rates of adoption, impact customer loyalty, and increase revenue. 

5. Go global in a cost-effective way

Expanding to new markets is tough. It’s often resource-intensive and expensive to comply with local regulations and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) while building trust with local customers. 

Partnering with a trusted phone number masking provider like Plivo can also reduce the risk of unintentional violations that could be costly or damage your business’s reputation. 

6. Enhance your customer experience 

Call masking makes business interactions feel safer for customers by combining security and streamlining customer service. 

For instance, a food delivery service can use anonymized virtual numbers to facilitate communication between customers and delivery drivers without revealing personal phone numbers. 

This setup ensures customers can easily resolve any issues with their delivery, such as providing directions, without compromising their privacy. Such a seamless and secure communication management process enhances the overall customer experience, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

How to mask your phone number with Plivo?

Plivo's Number Masking API makes it significantly easier and faster for companies to set up phone number masking, cutting out 80% of the in-house development steps required by non-packaged solutions. 

Plivo’s Voice API allows you to seamlessly manage call flow and assign virtual phone numbers. Simply send the real phone numbers of the parties involved in the call via an API request. Plivo will then respond with a virtual number from your account, which you can use to host the masked session.

Plivo’s API simplifies the process and adopts a straightforward pricing model flat per-session fee, with no variable components such as call rates or phone number rentals. 

You can implement phone number masking with Plivo in just two steps.

To begin, you'll need a Plivo account — register using your work email if you haven't already done so. 

You must have a voice-enabled Plivo phone number to create number masking sessions. You can lease numbers through the Numbers section on the Plivo console or the Numbers API.

Step 1: Get a phone number on the Plivo console 

Step 2: Complete a single API integration 

How different types of businesses use call masking?

Number masking benefits businesses in many different industries. Here are a few examples of enterprises that use number masking in their daily operations.

  • Ride-hailing apps

Apps like Uber rely extensively on phone number masking to keep both drivers and passengers' phone numbers private. 

When a driver and passenger need to communicate about a ride, such as confirming a pickup location or sharing arrival updates, the app provides a temporary number for their communication. 

  • Marketplaces that connect buyers and sellers

India’s e-commerce market is one of the fastest growing globally. E-commerce marketplaces are responsible to both buyers and sellers for ensuring the trust and safety of both parties’ communication.

Phone number masking helps do just that. When a buyer wants to inquire about an item, the marketplace can provide a temporary number for the buyer and seller to communicate. 

This maintains the anonymity of both parties' real contact details until they decide to share more information, reducing the risk of scams and unwanted contacts. 

  • Package delivery and logistics

The need for security in e-commerce doesn’t stop at the marketplace level. E-commerce brands need a way to ensure the delivery experience meets customer expectations; partly, this can be achieved by integrating security throughout the transaction including phone calls made during the time of delivery. 

Call masking allows customers to contact delivery agents without revealing their personal phone numbers, and vice versa. 

Get started with Plivo’s number masking API

Lack of security and trust can be frustrating for business owners and consumers alike, but there are certain communications you can use to build affinity and reduce costs. 

At Plivo, our enterprise-ready premium communications network has a 99.99% uptime. With our global reach supporting communications to 190+ countries, we help our customers cast a wider net globally—minus the legwork and hefty costs associated with infrastructure setup. Sign up for a free trial with Plivo today and get started.


Call masking FAQs

Is call masking legal?

Providing false or misleading caller identification information or caller ID spoofing is prohibited in many countries. However, call masking is legal in most countries, as long as it's not used with malicious or deceptive intent. Its legality depends on local telecommunications laws and regulations about privacy and general data protection regulations. 

How does number masking work?

Phone number masking works by using a virtual or proxy number to connect two parties without revealing their real phone numbers. Through cloud-based telephony platforms and APIs, call routing is done through these temporary or virtual numbers, ensuring privacy and security for both ends of the communication.

Is number masking essential for all businesses and teams?

Phone number masking isn't mandatory for all businesses. Still, it's highly beneficial for those prioritizing privacy and security in business communications, such as online marketplaces, grocery delivery firms, package delivery vendors, and takeout food delivery apps. 

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