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Why does ChatGPT ask for a phone number? Can you chat without one?
If you’re trying to sign up for an OpenAI account to use ChatGPT, you may have noticed that the platform asks for a phone number. In fact, there’s no way to proceed without agreeing to provide one. So why does ChatGPT ask for a phone number before you can even use the chatbot? And is there a way to bypass this requirement? Here’s everything you need to know.
ChatGPT requires a phone number to verify that you’re a real human trying to sign up for an account. This is one of the many measures ChatGPT has employed to keep spammers away from the platform. There's no easy way to bypass it, but you can try one of the ChatGPT alternatives that don't need an account. Keep reading to learn more.
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Why does ChatGPT ask for a phone number?
ChatGPT asks for a phone number to verify that you’re a legitimate user and not an automated program trying to abuse it. The chatbot is free to use and doesn’t require a credit card to sign up. Unfortunately, that makes it a big target for malicious actors. Spammers may create multiple accounts and overload the servers, preventing genuine users from using the chatbot. So to combat this kind of abuse, ChatGPT asks for a phone number while you sign up for an account.
Once you provide your phone number, you’ll receive a verification code to complete the registration process. It’s similar to two-factor authentication, where you prove your identity in order to access your account. Except in this case, you won’t have to enter a code each time to log in.
ChatGPT asks for a phone number to ward away low-effort spammers and attackers.
Requiring a phone number prevents one person from creating too many accounts. You’ve probably already heard about ChatGPT’s 4096 character limit. Likewise, the service also has a rate limit – you can only initiate a handful of chats every few hours. If you exceed this limit, you’ll simply get an error instead of a reply to your prompts. Some people may try to circumvent this with multiple accounts, so the phone number requirement prevents this from happening.
ChatGPT may also use your phone number as a recovery method for your OpenAI account. So in case you ever forget your password, you may receive recovery instructions via SMS. You can then use this to set a new password for your account.
Can I use ChatGPT without a phone number?
No, you cannot use ChatGPT without providing a phone number when you sign up for an OpenAI account. This is an intentional limitation, which likely won’t go away anytime soon. Fortunately, however, there are a few workarounds that you can try:
- Try an online SMS service: You can’t use popular VoIP numbers like Google Voice to sign up for a ChatGPT account. However, some online SMS services claim they use real numbers that avoid detection. Since you can use a number from any country, look around for a service that works.
- Use a rival chatbot: ChatGPT is no longer the only natural language chatbot out there. In fact, it’s not even the best one anymore. From Bing Chat to Google Bard, there are a lot of ChatGPT alternatives you can try. And for many of them, you won’t even need an account to get started.
- Verify via WhatsApp: Don’t have an active cell plan or cannot receive SMS? ChatGPT will let you verify your number via a WhatsApp message in some countries. Simply check the “Do you have WhatsApp?” option while signing up for your account.