How to use online services for SMS verification | SMS verification without a cell phone

How To verify a service online using SMS without a cell phone

In the fight against SPAM and fraud online many services have opted to try to use SMS verification to prove identity and limit false and multiple accounts.

In my limited knowledge of the internet I have been exposed to this intrusive policy at PayPal, gMail, Craigslist and now my favorite online writing site, HubPages.

It seems like a great idea, by forcing SMS verification, these services can keep out the bad element, right? This would be great if it was true, but in my experience it leads to more lock-outs of legitimate users who are not tech savvy or egads, do not use cell phones!*

In my personal experience I have directly seen the frustration that was caused by a legitimate online users inability to provide SMS verification to Google which resulted in a lock out of all Google services; gMail, Google Calender, Google Adsense and Google Analytics. Can you imagine the heart attack you would have if you were locked out of your place of work and both the keys to get back in and the only means to call anyone with the ability to get inside were inside that office? That would be the offline equivalent.

If you are bored you can read through 100 or so disgruntled gmail users pleas about SMS -http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2009/07/creating-gmail-account-requires-sms.html

But if you find yourself in the position of needing the ability to SMS verify and you don't have a cell phone, have exceeded your text message limits or simply don't trust online services with your personal information, here are a bunch of free and easy ways to verify via SMS without compromising your identity.

The shame is that all of these methods are well known by the bad element that SMS verification was created to combat, the subset of online users that make money hand over fist, spamming Craigslist with false ads and offers, create multiple PayPal accounts for fraudulent purposes, require hundreds if not thousands of gMail accounts or need multiple accounts to auto-post gibberish to Hubpages will have the funds and technical expertise to quickly placate SMS verification requirements and continue their dastardly missions. It's nothing more than a speed bump for them, but it could be the end of the line for a less tech savvy and legitimate online user.


*Many of these services including HubPages do have alternate Voice Call options for verification.

What is SMS, anyway?

SMS is Short Message Service it is the communications protocol that is more commonly known as text messaging.

Option 1 - Get a cell phone

No, this isn't a cop out or a misdirection.

Pre-Paid cell phones are very cheap these days and can be activated in 15 minutes. Since SMS verification seems to be growing in popularity you may just want to bite the bullet and have the option readily available when necessary.

Tracfone, Net10 and StraightTalk; phones can all be purchased for around $20-$40 including a basic minute package. Use it for SMS and keep it around for vacations or random emergencies.

But, there are non-cell options, so lets quickly outline them.


Option 2 - Online Phone Services / VOIP

Most of us are familiar with online phone services, Skype and Google Voice are pretty well known, but can you use them to receive SMS?

You can through Google Voice - http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html

You can Receive SMS to Skype via multiple services that exist for specifically that reason, but, unfortunately the method is not something that can be used for sms verification.

Since Google Voice is so easily registered for and is such a great package, I have never dug much deeper. The Spammers and Scammers who would need SMS verification abilities in multiples, likely have many Google Voice accounts.


Option 3 - Online SMS Services

There are lots and lots of services that create "virtual numbers" and then allow you to have sms received to them sent to your email.

Some are offering free trials, some allow for a set number of messages for free and a very cheap per text rate on top of that and other follow a subscription model like any other phone. The main point, is they are cheap and hundreds of them can be created via the massive number of companies creating virtual numbers.

A simple search for inbound sms to virtual number will show you how common this is for legitimate and illegitimate purposes.

SMS verification to stop spammers! .. what a joke.

Xobba.com allows you to write and earn  without such headaches!
Xobba.com allows you to write and earn without such headaches!

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Comments 7 comments

Bible Studies profile image

Bible Studies 5 years ago from PA

Sorry about the long comment, but... That is such a bad idea in so many ways, it is unbelievable. What about those who have a cell phone, but can't text?

It is good to know there are other services besides getting a cell phone. Unfortunately for those who are living pay check to pay check, couldn't even afford those services.

I'm one of those people who don't have a cell phone. I really can't add anything to my budget. I don't trust those free trials, unless you don't have to input your credit card/debit card. I don't have a credit card, so I use my debit card.

I don't know how many times I got slammed with the free trial, canceled within the time limit, and still had the money taken out of my account. Which caused a bounced check, or no funds to pay the bill that was due.

Basically it comes down to the company sets up an alternative to SMS, or I take my business elsewhere. If it was an absolutely necessary, I would be calling the company and keep asking for a manager who more than likely will be able to give me an alternative to access the service.

What about stolen cell phones? Even cell phones that go missing for an hour or so because a friend decided to borrow it thinking it wouldn't be missed?

I'm not sure if you have to reply to a SMS like you do with e-mail verification. If you don't, what is going to stop a thief from stealing other people's cell phone numbers?

Just wait, there will be a high teck hacker who will come up with a way to steal someone's cell phone number, reroute and receive the text, and send the verification. Then the real owner is blocked out from that service later on when he/she decides to join. Or they could be receiving a lot of spam from the company the thief just joined using their number.

I could just see it now. Person calls up the company and asks to stop sending the messages. Company says they agreed to it when they signed up. Owner asks signed up for what? And a battle ensues with the owner trying to prove that they didn't sign up for anything.

Voted up and rated this useful.


sunforged profile image

sunforged 5 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

The majority of the sms services listed are telecom or telecom resellers whose real markets are to businesses who have needs for sms in relation to their customer communications. I did check into each.

It is always wise to be careful with both your cell# and cc numbers online. The easiest solution above is google voice which is completely free and is an awesome service. Ive had Google Voice since it was Project GrandCentral (Google bought it) and its pretty cool to have a secondary number that I picked out myself and can forward to any other number on the planet and get an email transcript of the message if I miss the call. The SMS is just feature relevant to this article.

None of the services outlined have hidden fees or free trial tricks, the ones that offer free trial are simply because they are new and need to build up a customer base. Eventually, they will likely all be subscription model. But, when you need only ten seconds of the service to receive one text that shouldn't be an issue.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

I haven't had this problem, YET! And I don't have and don't want a cell phone. One of the very few people on the planet that have no real use for that item. Thanks for posting this; I know it's here, and I will bookmark so I can find it again, if I have to! Thanks again, and much love from Paradise.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

You sly person...why didn't I think of doing this??

lol...thanks for posting.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 5 years ago from South East Asia

Thank you...something to refer back to if in need.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for the warning, Sunforce. You always so kind in sharing your information.


Andrew0208 profile image

Andrew0208 5 years ago from Zion

Thanks for this useful information. Rated up and bookmarked. In fact, the new verification method by SMS and phone call by Gmail, facebook and others will truly cautions and help to reduce the misuse of these platforms.

Google has lots of useful tools and opportunities. What I dislike most is the unconcerned attitude of Google customer/user relations dept with absolutely less regard on the rising worrying cases resulting from related developments.

I've heard many express how emotional and phychological torture the had because of the associated network failures in such process and others that led to account block. They just don't care to put back smiles on those affected! Well, "Change is Constant," hope they know what the future holds with such attitude in any business whatsoever? I love to see a change in this area mentioned cause I dearly love Google products. :)

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