Another handy tip for wrangling with online life.

Situation: An online service requires verification of your new phone number. It’s a home phone, not a mobile, but they still send you an SMS message. This is delivered, great. But… your phone service has turned it into a spoken voicemail. The user only hears the vital verification number being read aloud thus…

Two hundred and ninety-five thousand two-hundred and forty-two

Problem: This is puzzling to many users, especially older people. Even if they can write it all down in time, what are they meant to input into the confirmation-box on the website? 20095000242? 295000242? 295,000,242?

Solution: None of the above. What the above read-aloud number actually translates to, in numbers is this…


So write it down ‘as spoken’ first, then translate it back to (most likely) a six-digit number.

The above should also work if the same method is used by your service for ongoing two-factor verification. That’s if the same phone is also used for two-factor.