USA text message number that I can receive overseas (and verifies)
September 29, 2016 7:54 AM   Subscribe

I moved to another country but often need to do 2-step verification with my old American website accounts. The trouble is, these systems insist on my providing some (###)###-#### number but I don't have one anymore, so I have to have a text sent to my dad in the States and call him up. Is there a service that will let me sign up to receive text messages in the US, read them online, but (key thing) also pass verification?

I tried a couple of "get a free text number" services but 2-step services will say "we don't recognize this as your number." I tried telling the services in question that I was travelling but they still will ask for a USA phone number to text.

Any help much appreciated.
posted by johngoren to Technology (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Doesn't Google Voice receive SMSes?
posted by scolbath at 7:57 AM on September 29, 2016

Google Voice works with most but not all SMS gateways. I was able to use it for all of my banks except one. It's free, so it's worth a shot to test, as long as you're OK with Google's ToS (e.g. expanding what they know about you).
posted by Candleman at 8:01 AM on September 29, 2016

Not a direct answer, but do any of the services support time-based OTP authentication, like Google Authenticator?
posted by zamboni at 8:04 AM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sort of a roundabout way, but I receive texts from my number on my pc via pushbullet. If you had a cheap burner phone in US that was plugged in at your parent's house, it could push them to you anywhere in the world I believe.
posted by AugustWest at 8:10 AM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hmm sorry to interrupt the thread but i'm wondering if Google Voice is phasing out texting? At least from here, when I check what used to be a "voicemail and texting" tab (according to a support page) it just has voicemail and I can't seem to get it to receive texts.
posted by johngoren at 8:13 AM on September 29, 2016

Google is definitely trying to phase Voice out in general in favor of Project Fi and Hangouts. I no longer receiver Voice phone calls in my hangouts, they just stopped one day. I don't think they're planning on keeping Voice around for long.
posted by dis_integration at 8:15 AM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think your options are -

1. Get a US phone and run it in Europe on roaming. Not cheap, but if you don't use it for anything other than receiving texts, not much more than running a burner at home.

2. Get a US phone, leave it in the US and run an SMS forwarding app (there are several, I have no experience of them) and get it to send you stuff either through SMS from it to you (which will cost more but will retain reasonable security) or via email, which will be less secure. I have a dislike of putting both eggs of two-factor auth through the same delivery basket, so I'd set up a separate email account on a different service that's only used for this, but that could just be me.

3. Hammer on your website service providers some more. Do they really have no international customers?

My experiences of using SMS aspects of web telephony and cloudy VoIP<>POTS in general has been dire, and I wouldn't trust any of the current crop to be secure enough, reliable enough or long-lived enough to carry stuff as important as auth.
posted by Devonian at 8:37 AM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

The SMS functionality of my Google number moved from the Google Voice app to the Hangouts app a while back. Can still do SMS, only in the Hangouts app though.
posted by LoveHam at 10:12 AM on September 29, 2016

Best answer: is a buck a month for SMS and voicemail sent to your email, a few cents a minute for calls, which you can easily set to be forwarded to your local phone, wherever that is. And I guarantee they don't assume you live in the US.
posted by wnissen at 10:36 AM on September 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Line2. It allows you to call, text & forward calls on a second line to your mobile. They have a Standard plan for $9.95 per month (no contract) and a Pro plan for $14.95 (no contract) a month that supports international calling, texting, and forwarding.

They offer a free 7 day trial too.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 10:48 AM on September 29, 2016

Best answer: I have been using Google Voice as I currently live overseas, and it works well with such 2-step verification at all of my USA bank and credit card accounts. I am on iPhone, and almost all of the functionality moved from the Google Voice app to the Google Hangouts app several months ago. I can get SMS in the Hangouts app. I also use it to make phone calls to USA numbers for free and other international destinations for a low fee. The voice calls from Hangouts use data (wifi or cellular data, whichever you happen to have). This solution has worked well for me so far, no monthly fees etc, and I have kept my old USA number unchanged (ported it into Google Voice).
posted by thewildgreen at 7:48 PM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

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