Sharing your mobile phone number is key to using digital products and services – from ride hailing, to online dating. But phone numbers are a form of personal information – and are an ongoing target for fraudsters looking to gain access to bank accounts, social profiles, and more. So how can number masking balance the mobile phone number requirement with users’ desire for security, privacy, and anonymity?
What is number masking?
Number Masking is designed to address consumer needs around privacy and anonymity, giving access to a great customer experience without compromising on security. It’s ideal for businesses that share customer information with third parties, allowing direct communication without the need for an external operator or the need to share sensitive contact details.
Acting as a bridge, Number Masking connects two parties while safeguarding their private information. In other words, it allows two-way communication between the likes of buyers and sellers, customers and delivery service staff, without exposing personal phone numbers.
The business benefits of number masking
Number masking provides a number of business benefits:
- Privacy and security: personal numbers are masked for both parties, providing anonymity and creating a secure environment.
- Superior customer experiences: the peace of mind that comes with knowing your number is safe ensures your users are comfortable and willing to engage.
- Communication management: number masking ensures parties engage via your platform alone. Auto-response voice messages ensure communication within the desired timeframes.
- Automation: number masking means that there is no need for an operator, whose job it is to manually connect parties.
How does number masking work?
Let’s use the example of calling a taxi.
Bob is looking for a cab. He does not have internet connection to hail a cab inside the taxi company’s app. He would like to make a call to a number and get connected to an available driver and tell him where he should pick him up.
Bob calls a number (DID) that the taxi company promotes.
Infobip IP Core receives the call from Bob and makes a request to the company’s platform on what to do with this call. This is done over the company’s API that they have exposed to Infobip.
The platform responds with confirmation on what to do with the call, which could be one of two options:
- Forward the call to a Taxi driver and change Bob’s caller ID
- Play Bob an Audio file e.g. “There are no taxi drivers available, please call again later.”
Based on the instruction from the platform, Infobip IP core performs an action and, in this case, connects Bob with the appropriate driver. Also, the TAXI company platform can be setup in a way that a DID number can be reserved for direct communication between the Bob and Taxi driver.
The driver receives a call with caller ID 63329996600 and talks to Bob. Based on the TAXI company platform setup the driver can call Bob back and inform him for example that he will be 20 minutes late.
Why anonymity and privacy are key for modern business
For a company that handles sensitive information such as people’s mobile numbers, be that a taxi service, ecommerce platform, or dating site, number masking is a pre-requisite for running a modern functioning business. Because to value your customer is to protect their information.
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