Companies such as Google, CallCentric and eVoice all give away free phone numbers to interested customers. In most cases, the numbers are local to the customer's area code.
Google Voice, CallCentric, and eVoice allow interested parties to choose a free phone number, and many of the services provide a search function so a person can browse the available phone numbers by individual sets of numbers or area codes.
When using Google Voice, a user has the option to forward the new phone number to an existing phone or simply make and receive the calls and text messages online. This can be useful for small businesses that might not want to pay for a separate phone line for each employee.
Google Voice does not cost anything and even gives users one chance to change the number on the account for free, though the next number change costs $10. This type of service makes giving numbers out to strangers or clients safer, because the user can filter out unwanted solicitations, block numbers or delete his free phone number to stop receiving calls and texts.
Note that none of the free phone number services can provide toll-free numbers, though a person can instead use free numbers that are local to specific areas within the United States.