Phone Number Masking: A Complete Guide To Securing Sensitive Information In Call Centers

In a digitally transparent world, data privacy is a primary concern for the brands and their customers. This is because thousands of people fall victim to cyberattacks and data breach everywhere. When attackers come in contact with sensitive information especially phone numbers, they can hack into bank accounts, emails, social media accounts or even cause identity theft. Protecting customer data and especially their phone number is extremely important.

One detail that is very often used is their phone number. The phone number of the customer or the seller or even of the delivery staff is a sensitive data which is mostly unprotected. Call masking can help prevent this by visibly covering the phone number for each party.

What Is Call Masking?

Call masking allows businesses to protect their own as well as customer’s phone numbers. During call masking a random phone number is generated, allowing both the parties to communicate for the given time. This prevents either party to know the numbers that are being used. In fact, during call masking a bridge is created to connect two people rather than connecting them together.

Above all, surveys show that most people are not comfortable with their numbers being shared with service agents. Application of call masking allows the customer to maintain their privacy without comprising with the service quality.

How Does Call Masking Work?

Call masking is basically creating a bridging number between two connecting calls. When user X calls user Y, they both see a randomly generated number instead of their original phone numbers. This way the real phone number is not being shared and is hidden for both parties involved. This is done by routing the number to a proxy number and then connecting with the final end user.

This practice is very popular amongst cab sharing services, delivery services, buyer-seller platform or even in retail. These brands deal with high volume of phone calls every day where a customer need to call the service provider to avail the service. Call masking becomes an essential tool in this industry. Upon disconnection or call completion, the proxy number goes back to the pool for a different connection.

The proxy number that is generated is randomly chosen from a large pool of available phone numbers. These numbers do not belong to anyone and have a short active span. They are made active to camouflage the real numbers involved for as long as both parties need to interact.

For example: I can call my Uber driver and my number gets masked and so does his. However, calling this proxy number will still connect me to him while I am still availing the service. Once the service is done, and there is no need to communicate, the number becomes obsolete.

Benefits of Call Masking

While privacy is the main reason for call masking to be implemented, there are other micro benefits that make it a brilliant solution for businesses.

Secured Interaction:

What’s better than hiring third party operators is having a call masking software. Whenever a third-party service provider is involved, sharing personal phone number becomes risky. Thanks to call masking, you can freely engage in personal transactions without worrying about any sort of data breach.

Customer Satisfaction:

Unlike yesteryears, the modern customer is very insecure about their data and will do everything to maintain their privacy. Sharing your phone number with a stranger with whom you will interact briefly is an uncomfortable task.

Most customers appreciate it when they do not have to share their personal number when making a business-related interaction. Hence, call masking comes in handy in specific industries like cab sharing services, mobility services, delivery services or healthcare where customers need to call up the service agent. When these customers notice that their numbers are secured, it offers them a sense of security and confidence when availing these services.

Difference Between Masked Numbers and Virtual Numbers:

It is possible to confuse one with the other. Here is a distinction between masked numbers and virtual numbers for clarification. 

Masked NumbersVirtual Numbers
1.  Masked numbers are temporary.1. Virtual numbers are permanent.
2. Masked numbers are intended to protect customer/business’s privacy.2. Virtual numbers are used to provide a local touchpoint for a business or to reduce costs on long-distance calls.
3. Masked numbers are proxy numbers which is active for a limited time span.3. Virtual numbers are active all throughout.

Popular Use Cases for Call Masking:

As I have mentioned before that call masking is essential in different scenarios and is a boon to most businesses. Here are some use cases for the same:

Geo-Matching for Transportation or Ride Sharing Apps:

Call masking enables the drivers and the passengers to get in touch with each other without sharing their personal numbers. With a rise in usage of these apps, securing the personal identities of both parties is extremely crucial. The passenger and driver can call each other and share location easily.

Call Masking for Delivery Agents:

Delivery services often require the customer’s address and personal phone number to locate the customer accurately. This is a task where interaction is must to get the job done. However, both the delivery agent and the customer has the risk of sharing their personal cell number. Thanks to call masking, the delivery agent can call the customer and share the proxy number for the customer to reach back. These masked numbers can also be used to send SMS updates.

Call Masking for Doctors On Healthcare Apps:

While some medical apps offer in-app calling, others require the doctors and the patient to call each other for an on-call consultation. In such scenarios, doctors fear sharing their numbers as they are already busy with tight schedule. Call masking ensures that the doctor’s number is masked and he or she can interact for the specific time set by the administrator. Once that time span is over the number becomes invalid, preventing the doctor from getting bombarded with calls. For further assistance, the patients in need can reach out to them via the app, following the protocol.

Conclusion:

All in all, call masking is more of a boon than a bane. It preserves the identity of all involved, without meddling with the operational stuff. This privacy driven solution is a must-have for our hyperconnected society. Above all, it has all potential to prevent the customer and the brand from falling victim to fraudulent activities and other social threats.

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