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My family and I are moving to France for a couple of years, and while we plan on using a French cellphone plan, we also want to conserve our US phone numbers for when we return to the US on vacation, and more importantly for when we return for good.
I don’t really want to get into the reasons why we want to conserve our phone numbers because it is beyond the point. But if like us you want to live overseas while keeping your US phone number, know it is pretty simple to accomplish, in exchange of a small fee. Read on for the details.Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post
Before I get into more details, I want to make clear that this is not a sponsored post. Yes, I will be talking extensively and positively about Ting, but they didn’t offer any compensation for this coverage. This is just me talking about my experience.The problem with big carriers
Me and my wife used to be happy AT&T customers, so of course we talked to the carrier and inquired about what would be the cheapest possible plan we could get. Specifications were pretty simple: we wanted the cheapest plan that would allow us to keep our phone numbers, but also allow us to receive text messages or phone calls on that number while in France, if we needed to.
As it turned out, the cheapest plan we could get with AT&T was still in the $50 range each month for both our phones, something I was not willing to pay.
I also inquired about cheapest plans with other carriers such as T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint. No one could offer acceptable prices as all were pretty much in the same ballpark.
Another pretty big issue that comes with big carriers? If you don’t use their service at all for several months, they may cancel your line. This is written in the small prints and not something you’d think about on your own, so keep that in mind. Obviously, getting my line canceled wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.
This is when I started looking into mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). MVNOs are service providers that basically rent out the wireless network infrastructure of other carriers and sell talk time and data to customers at a cheapest rate. They are much more affordable, and they typically don’t come with the risk of getting your line canceled.Ting: only pay for what you use
My Let’s Talk iOS co-host was the one who first told me about Ting, an MVNO that uses the T-Mobile network as its backbone.
What was really appealing about Ting is that it offers a fair pricing structure for however much talk, text and data you use. There is a $6/month fee for each line you have, but after that, you are only charged for what you use.
Talk time, text messages, and data are offered in several buckets. Depending on what you use, you are moved from one bucket to the other. If you don’t use any talk time for example, you aren’t charged anything at all for talk. If you talk on the phone for 1 to 100 minutes, it will cost you $3. Talk time cost increases as you use more talk time. Same with data and text messages.
Where Ting doesn’t make sense is for people who use lots of data, SMS, and talk time. Clearly, this is not what we intend to do, so Ting works great for what we need it for.
Considering that we probably aren’t going to be using our US phone numbers at all while we are abroad, the cost of keeping both our phone numbers will be $12 per month ($6 per line per month). It might go up a bit if we need to listen to a voicemail or read a text message received, but that shouldn’t be too often, if at all.Other benefits of using Ting
Despite the pricing structure, there are other benefits of using Ting which really helped make the switch a no-brainer:
We can periodically check text messages and voicemails while overseas. That is important to me because if an online service I use needs to send me a text message with a verification code, I can receive that text and not be locked out.
We get to use our number when we come back to the US on vacation.
It offers Wi-Fi calling and visual voicemail.
It uses T-Mobile spectrum, so coverage while in the US is pretty good.
It works for both GSM and CDMA devices.
Their iOS app makes it easy to see your usage and estimate your bill.
They have outstanding customer support.Porting our phone numbers from AT&T to Ting
First thing we had to do was to order SIM cards from Ting. SIM cards are $9 a piece and are shipped quickly. Once we had the SIM cards, the next step was to activate them and port our numbers from AT&T to Ting. On my end, it took about 2 minutes to set up, then it took a couple of hours for the porting to be completed. Ting has a very simple tutorial on how to process with the port.How to keep your US phone numbers overseas
Here are the steps I took from start to finish to port our phone numbers from AT&T to Ting.
I made sure both our iPhones were unlocked. If you aren’t sure yours is, contact your carrier.
I spent some time browsing Ting’s website making sure I understood everything there was to know about the company and the service offered. In retrospect, I really overthought all this.
I created an account with Ting and ordered SIM cards.
I gathered all the information needed for porting my phone number to Ting. In my case, all I needed was my AT&T customer number and account PIN.
I ported my AT&T phone number to Ting, which took a couple of hours to complete.
A couple of weeks later, I ported my wife’s phone number as well.
I logged into my AT&T account to make my line was properly canceled.My experience so far
At the time of writing, I have been using Ting for about two weeks and couldn’t be happier with the service. The coverage in the area where we are staying at before our departure for France gets better signal than we did with AT&T. In my very informal testings, data speeds are very satisfying as well.
When we get to France, we will simply pop the SIM cards out and store them in a safe location. When we return to the US, we’ll take them along and swap them with our French SIM cards as we land in the US.
I called Ting’s customer service to confirm our lines won’t be canceled if we don’t use them, and I was delighted by the experience. When you call Ting, someone picks up the phone right away and you aren’t put on hold or have to wait to be transferred. You get to talk to someone who’s here to help immediately. I suspect this is manageable because the company is still relatively small but I can only imagine this getting worse as Ting grows in size. Regardless, customer service is top notch at this time.Sign up for free credit
As I mentioned above, Ting didn’t pay us for this glaring overview of the service, but as a Ting customer, I do get a referral link to share with friends. If you are interested in checking Ting out, make sure you use my referral link. If you sign up for the service, both you and I will get $25 in Ting credit.
After weighting the pros and the cons, I’m persuaded this switch to Ting was the right one for us to make, but I could be wrong. If you have other suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them. And if you have questions about all this, I’d be happy to answer them.
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Did you forget your Instagram password but you don’t have access to your email or phone number?
If you don’t have access to your email or phone number, you won’t be able to reset your Instagram password.
Hence, you need to contact Instagram support for assistance in recovering your account.
Similarly, you need to do this if you think that your account is hacked.
However, contacting Instagram support is challenging because they are hard to reach out to.
The process of recovering your account is challenging as well because you need to verify your identity.
The verification process requires you to take a photo of yourself holding a code.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to recover your Instagram account without an email or phone number so that you can reset your password.How to recover your Instagram account without email or phone number
To recover your Instagram account without email or phone number, you need to navigate to the “Get more help?” page.
Then, you’ll be able to request support by tapping on “I can’t access this email or phone number”.
Tapping on “I can’t access this email or phone number” will open the “Request Support” form.
In the form, you need to enter an email address that you want Instagram to contact you with.
Then, enter the email address that is linked to your Instagram account.
You’re then required to complete a couple of questionnaires followed by a description of your issue.
Once you’ve submitted the form, you need to wait for an email from Instagram.
The email requires you to take a photo of yourself holding a code.
This is to verify your identity and that you’re the owner of the Instagram account.
Lastly, you’ll receive an email from Instagram with a link to reset your password.
Here’s how to recover your Instagram account without email or phone number:1. Navigate to “Get more help?”
Firstly, open Instagram and navigate to the login page.
If you’re logged into a secondary account, go to your profile and tap on your username.
Then, tap on “Add account” followed by “Log In to Existing Account”.
Once you’re on the login page, tap on “Forgotten password?”.
The “Forgotten password?” link is located under the password field.
After you’ve tapped on “Forgotten Password?”, you’ll land on the “Trouble with logging in?” page.
On this page, you can either enter your username, email address, or phone number.
Since you don’t have access to your email or phone number, you need to enter your username instead.
Firstly, enter your Instagram username on the “Username” field.
If your account is hacked and the hacker changed your Instagram username, you need to find your new username.
You can do this by checking your previous likes or the following list of people who follow you.
Next, tap on “Need more help?” instead of “Next”.
Make sure that you’ve entered your Instagram username before you tap on “Need more help?”.
Otherwise, you’ll be redirected to the Instagram Help Center.2. Request support
After you’ve entered your Instagram username and tapped on “Need more help?”, you’ll land on the “Help Us Recover Your Account” page.
On this page, you’ll see the email address that is linked to your Instagram account.
If the email address is yours, you can tap on “Send Security Code” to send a security code to your email.
However, if the email address is not yours, it means that someone has changed it.
Hence, you won’t be able to send the security code to your email.
Instead of tapping on “Send Security Code”, tap on “I can’t access this email or phone number”.
The “I can’t access this email or phone number” link is located at the bottom of the page.
After you’ve tapped on “I can’t access this email or phone number”, you’ll land on the “Request Support” form.
The form allows you to contact Instagram support for help.
Firstly, enter the email address that you want Instagram to contact you with.
Make sure that you have access to that email address.
Next, enter the email address that is linked with your Instagram account.
You’re then required to complete a couple of questionnaires.
The first question is, “What type of account are you trying to access?”.
If your Instagram account is a personal one, select the “Personal account with photos of me” option.
Otherwise, select the option that best suits your account.
The next question is, “What is the reason for this request?”.
Since you’ve lost access to the email that is linked with your Instagram account, select the “I can’t log into the email on my account” option.
If your Instagram account is hacked, select the “My account was hacked” option instead.
Then, you’re required to describe the issue that you’re facing.
Here’s an example of a description, “Hi, I lost access to my email and phone number, need help to reset my password”.
Lastly, tap on “Request Support” to submit the form to Instagram support.3. Wait for Instagram’s email & follow the instructions in it
After you’ve submitted the form, you need to wait for Instagram’s response.
Instagram will contact you via the email that you’ve provided.
In most cases, you’ll receive an email from Instagram within 24 hours.
In the email, Instagram will ask you to attach a photo of yourself holding a handwritten copy of a code.
You need to reply to the email with the attachment to verify your identity.
Make sure that the photo includes the code, your full name, and your Instagram username.
In addition, make sure that the photo is well-lit, not too small, dark, or blurry.
If you’re satisfied with the photo, reply to the email with an attachment of it.
After you’ve sent a photo of yourself holding a handwritten copy of a code to Instagram, you need to wait for their response.
You’ll then receive a response from Instagram in 24 to 48 hours.
Make sure to check your junk and spam folder for the email as it might have landed there.
The email will contain instructions on how you can recover your Instagram account.
Follow the instructions to recover your account.
There’ll be a link to reset your Instagram password in the email.
You’ve successfully learned how to recover your Instagram account without email or phone number!Conclusion
If you’ve managed to recover your Instagram account, there are some things that you can do to keep your account secure.
Firstly, you can turn on two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication adds an additional level of security to your account.
When someone tries to log in to your account on a device that Instagram does not recognize, you’ll receive a login code.
You can turn on two-factor authentication by navigating to your profile.
Some links will direct you to a fake Instagram login page.
If you happen to enter your login details, the hacker will have access to your account.Further reading
How to Add Instagram Filters to Existing Photos
How to See a Private Instagram Account (3 Easy Ways)
Best Binance Referral ID Code in 2023
These days, we use our social media account on every electronic device we own. It could be either a smartphone, a tablet, or a PC/Laptop. Our devices are not only in sync with each other but also keeps us logged in to all our accounts. The only thing we couldn’t do was, using the same number for WhatsApp across devices. Now let’s just say that you want to send a WhatsApp message to someone you don’t know but you are having their contact number. Adding to it, you don’t want to save the number since you don’t see its future use. How could you send that WhatsApp message without saving the number on your smartphone? Is it possible? Yes, it is.
Today, we are going to show you how to send WhatsApp messages to someone without saving their number. This trick works on any device whether its a PC or a Phone.Send WhatsApp message without saving the number
If you are thinking that we are going to suggest using any third-party application then don’t worry, these methods are safe and sound (unless your network is not secure). These methods will work on any PC or Mobile device irrespective of the operating system it works on. You just need to keep in mind that for the methods to work on a PC/Laptop, you must log in to the WhatsApp web. The methods shared below are working as of the day this article is being written.
The methods which we are going to see today are:
Using WhatsApp API Links
Using third-party applications
Please make sure that the contact number you are about to send the message is available on the WhatsApp or not, if not then these methods might not work for you.1] Using WhatsApp API Links
To perform this method, you don’t need to worry about the device you are on and what operating system it works on. Just make sure that you follow the steps in the correct manner. To send the message, you should have the contact number along with the country code.
Open any web-browser. It can be either Google Chrome or Safari on any Smartphone or PC/Laptop.
In the address bar type this link:
Make sure that you replace all the X by phone number. Make sure to enter the country code without any 0 (zero) or + (plus) before the contact and hit enter.
If you are on a smartphone, it will open the WhatsApp application with the contact’s chat screen. If you are on a PC/Laptop then it will take you to the download screen.
Type the message you want and send it.
This method is as easy as it seems, keep in mind to enter the contact number properly.2] Using third-party applications
Many users don’t seek the help of third-party applications and for obvious reasons. But, the applications mentioned here come handy when we need them the most. If you are an Android user then you can use the following applications but if you are an iOS user the applications for your devices are discontinued. But, there is still a way for iOS users mentioned below.
For iOS users, you can use the below steps to send a WhatsApp message without saving the contact. This method uses Siri Shortcuts, an application made specially by Apple. It works on devices running iOS version 12 or above.
Download Siri Shortcuts.
Note: You need to follow steps 1 and 2 if you have never used Siri Shortcuts before.
Once redirected to the Shortcuts app, tap on Add Untrusted Shortcut.
Once you run this, enter the recipient’s number along with the country code. You’ll be redirected to WhatsApp with a new message window open.
These applications are easy to use, ad-free, and very light in weight. Once their use is done, you can simply uninstall them or keep them, the decision is up to you.
As we transition more of our daily tasks from PCs to smartphones, the damage that can be done if our phones fall into the wrong hands only magnifies. Without a lock screen, anyone who finds your phone can check your email, access all of your social networks, and make purchases on Google Play or any shopping app that may save your credit card. Even if your phone is locked, that may not be enough to keep your data safe. A competent thief could pop out your SD card or plug your phone into their computer to copy data you thought was otherwise secure. The release of version 2.3.4 offers the ability to encrypt your Android phone. While the process may be intimidating, it’s pretty straightforward.Should You Encrypt? Pros
If you encrypt your Android phone, it provides an extra layer of security by creating an extra loop for intruders to jump through. Encryption can be cracked, but it takes deliberate effort and plenty of time. Unless someone specifically wants your data, they will probably give up and try to steal data from a more easily accessed device.
The average thief probably doesn’t care about your pictures or the contents of your email account. They simply want to wipe your device and sell it to someone else. Encrypting your device does nothing to prevent your data from being erased. If you are more concerned about maintaining access to your data rather than keeping people out, you should consider backing up your device.Cons
An encrypted device suffers a performance hit, and your phone may become noticeably slower as every file has to be decrypted before it can be accessed. Games that already put a strain on your phone may become more than it can handle. Encrypting your phone also disables pattern lock. You will have to rely on either a password or a pin. Depending on your preferences, this may make your phone less convenient to use throughout the day.
Lastly, if you ever decide to change your mind, you will need to restore your device to factory settings to remove the encryption. There is no way to decrypt your device and keep your data at the same time.Getting Started
Open the Settings app on your Android phone and scroll down until you see “Security.”
Under the Security menu, you will see the option to encrypt your device. Unless your phone is plugged in and its battery is adequately charged, the option will be dimmed.
If your phone has an SD card slot, you may find yourself faced with three options. You can encrypt both your phone and SD card, offering the most security. You can choose to encrypt just your phone, leaving the photos, apps, and other personal data on your SD card easily accessible to anyone who can pop out your card. Conversely, you can encrypt just your SD card, protecting the personal data that is saved on your card without causing your phone to take as much of a performance hit when running apps.
Note that encrypting anything other than just your SD card requires you to use either a password or pin. If you haven’t already set one up, you will be greeted by this error message.
From this point forward, the process will be largely straightforward. You will first be asked to confirm your password or pin. The encryption process can take over an hour, and you cannot use your phone to make calls or do anything else during this time. If you interrupt the process, you may lose some or all of your data. Don’t proceed unless you are sure you have the time.Conclusion
Your smartphone is now probably more secure than your computer. Combine encryption with the ability to remote wipe your device, and you’ve set up a pretty solid line of defense. Still, there are chinks in any armor, and if someone gets access to your PIN or password, it doesn’t matter if your device is encrypted. Unfortunately, Android uses the same key you lock your phone with to encrypt your device. This limits how long passwords can be, as who wants to type in a 16-digit alphanumeric code just to check email?
Bertel King, Jr.
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The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has renewed permission to the U.S. government for a controversial program to collect telephone metadata in bulk.
The office of the Director of National Intelligence said the government filed an application with the FISC seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and the court renewed that authority, which expired on Friday.
The information was being disclosed “in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program,” and an earlier decision by DNI James R. Clapper to declassify certain information relating to the program, it said.
The secret court has been set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which requires the government to obtain a judicial warrant for certain kinds of intelligence gathering operations. (
The Guardian newspaper published in June a copy of a secret April 25 order from FISC in Washington, D.C., which required Verizon to produce call records or telephony metadata on an ongoing daily basis until expiry of the authorization on July 19.
The requirement to turn in metadata applied to calls within the U.S., and calls between the U.S. and abroad, and did not cover communications wholly originating or terminating outside the U.S. Metadata was defined to include communications routing information such as session-identifying information, trunk identifier, telephone calling card numbers, and time and duration of calls.
The program does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s phone calls, and the information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the identity of any subscriber, Clapper said in a statement in June, which also confirmed the authenticity of the order published by the British newspaper.
The authorization required the production of telephony metadata under the “business records” provision of the FISA Act.
In response to the disclosure about the collection of phone data of Verizon customers, American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in June in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claiming that the “mass call tracking” by the U.S. National Security Agency was in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, giving U.S. residents the rights of free speech and association, and the Fourth Amendment that protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. It asked the court to order an end to the tracking of phone records under the Verizon order or any successor order.
In a letter last week to Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the U.S. Department of Justice said intelligence tools that NSA uses to identify the existence of potential terrorist communications within the data “require collecting and storing large volumes of the metadata to enable later analysis.” If the data is not collected and held by the NSA, the metadata may not continue to be available for the period that it “has deemed necessary for national security purposes” as it need not be retained by telecommunications service providers.
Internet companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have been demanding for greater transparency in the orders of the FISC, after Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor behind the leak of the Verizon order, also disclosed documents that suggested that the NSA has access in real-time to content on their servers. The companies have denied the claims, and want FISC to remove restrictions that prevent them from disclosing requests for customer data under FISA. Yahoo appears to have persuaded FISC to release its secret order and parties’ briefs in a 2008 case. The court ordered the government recently to declassify the documents, as it prepares to publish the court’s opinion in a redacted form.
During the holiday season, it’s hard enough to decide which gifts to buy and organize their delivery. On top of that, you need to prevent your kids, spouse, and other family members from getting wise to your plans.
In the internet age, this operation is harder than ever before, because online shopping drops innumerable digital breadcrumbs. From a web browser that tracks your every move to a delivery company that sends regular updates straight to your phone, shopping services seem determined to leave clues that will ruin the element of surprise.
To avoid giving away your plans, you’ll need cunning, craft—and a little digital trickery. Follow these five tips to minimize the risk of gift discovery before the holiday arrives.1. Browse in private mode
While private mode will convince your browser that you were never online, don’t get too overconfident—you can still leave behind clues. For example, the retail website might have sent a confirmation email to an inbox you share with your partner. So browse away in this session, but remember to catch notification emails as they roll in.2. Set up alternative delivery addresses
The delivery of an oddly-shaped package can give your gift game away in an instant. To prevent family members from spotting these presents, send them to alternative addresses. For instance, arrange for presents to be delivered to your office, an Amazon Locker, or the home of a friend who can keep them safe and hidden until the coast is clear and you’re ready to smuggle them over to your own house.
Amazon also maintains independent locations where you can pick up your packages. When you place your order, look for the option to ship it to an Amazon Locker. Then visit that location when you’re ready to pick it up.
Other retailers offer similar options for changing addresses and shipping gifts to alternative addresses. Just remember to double-check that you’ve selected the right one before ordering anything.3. Check delivery confirmation settings
Normally, companies send order and delivery confirmations via text or email. While this practice is helpful, it creates another potential vulnerability where a family member might glimpse your shopping plans. To make sure no information that might give you away appears unexpectedly, check the settings for the shopping apps and sites you use.
For example, you don’t want a delivery notification email to appear in an inbox you share with your spouse, or a mobile alert to show up while one of your kids is playing with your phone. To stop this from happening, either disable these alerts or reroute them to email addresses and numbers that you know no one else will check.
On Amazon, for instance, you need to hover over the Accounts & List heading, then pick Your Account. On the next screen, select Communication preferences to change your email address or Shipment updates via text to alter your cell phone number or disable alerts completely. For security reasons, you can’t disable email alerts when you place an order, but you can at least make sure they go to a private account. Other retail websites and apps should have similar settings that you can tweak to avoid unexpected notifications.4. Hide your screen activity
Even if you carefully erase your browsing history and arrange for items to arrive at alternative addresses, you can’t entirely remove the possibility that someone will walk in on you while your computer screen is full of shopping secrets—say a webpage full of jewelry or Legos. Other than angling your laptop or tablet screen away from the doorway, you can employ a few extra tools to make your screen activity less obvious.
Take the Chrome add-on Decreased Productivity. It can turn every site into a drab, image-free wall of text. This may make it harder for you to shop online, but it will also make it harder for any interlopers to spy on your screen over your shoulder.
Finally, some keyboard shortcut skills can work wonders. On Windows, press the Windows key and the down arrow key together to minimize the current window, and hit Windows+M to minimize all open windows. On macOS, you can minimize the current window with Cmd+H and take care of all open windows with Cmd+Option+H+M. Then all you need to worry about is keeping that guilty expression off your face…5. Track your family members
Okay, this tip sounds pretty creepy, but hear us out: Monitoring others’ locations should ring a few privacy alarm bells, but as long as you limit this tracking to your closest family members, it can be really useful at any time of year. When you can see your spouse, kids, or parents on a map, you don’t have to call or text in order to make sure they got home safely, check what time they’ll arrive for dinner, or arrange to meet up in a busy shopping mall. Of course, your teens may not be thrilled that you’re tracking their every movement, but you and your family can decide where to draw the line by turning these tools on or off as needed.
Bringing this back to Christmas presents: If you know where certain people are, you can avoid having them surprise you while you’re shopping for gifts, trying to wrap presents, or waiting for a delivery. In other words, a tracking app will let you double-check that the kids really are at soccer practice before you pull out the wrapping paper and tape.
Although you can find many tracking apps and services, we’ve written a full guide to sharing your location without compromising your security. If you just want a brief summary of recommended apps, then read on: We like the tracking tools built into Google Maps, Apple’s Find My Friends feature, and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Google Maps (free for Android and iOS) lets you share your location with contacts, either for a limited time or until you switch the feature off again. To get started, tap the menu button (the three horizontal lines), then Location sharing, and then Add people.
Apple has a similar service called Find My Friends, though it only works on iPhones. The app comes preinstalled on iOS: Load it up, and you can tap the Add button to start sharing your location with other people. Once location sharing is approved, your contacts will show up inside the iOS app and in the iCloud web portal.
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