Seeing calls regularly pop up on your phoneís caller ID that you donít recognize is an unfortunate daily hassle. Common sense dictates you should never answer these calls. However, there are times when youíre waiting for a call from someone who might not be in your contact list. Maybe a recent acquaintance, or a prospective employer. There are ways to find out where these calls are coming from without having to pay anything.
How Do I Find Out Who Called Me?
Checking the Phone Directory
The old school way of finding where a call is coming from is using the phone directory. Whitepages.com is where you look up a number online, and it has a search feature to help identify a number. However, itís a service that doesnít reveal much.
Without paying anything, the White Pages usually only reveals the first letter of the first and last name associated with a number, if itís an individual. And the address could very likely be wrong. If itís a business or telemarketer, youíre out of luck, because the operation probably isnít listed.
Reverse Phone Lookup Apps
Reverse phone lookup apps and websites are easier to use and are much more accurate than websites. They range in cost from free to $18. The top apps are constantly updating their functionality and databases.
Googling a Number
Cell phone numbers are not listed in public directories, so you might have to do some digging around to identify the number youíre searching. To start, why not go straight to the webís largest search engine? Simply type in the ten-digit number popping up on your caller ID in the Google search bar and see if anything turns up.
If the number youíre looking for has ever been entered into anything on the Web, such as a public job or social media profile, it will most likely show up in a Google search. The number should also turn up in a Google search if itís from a business that has posted its number online. A well-known scammer could also turn up in a Google search if someone has identified it and listed it online.
If the caller is using a cell phone, and the number isnít posted anywhere online, it probably wonít turn up in a Google search. If a person listing their contact information on a social media profile has chosen to keep their profile private, it likewise wonít show up through a search engine.
Facebook is still by far the worldís largest social media network. It also has a very strong search function. In 2017, it was estimated a quarter of the worldís population was on it, and the number only continues to grow.
When people set up a profile, they often include their phone number. So it canít hurt to open your Facebook app or go to the website if you donít have the app. You simply enter the number in the search bar.
The callerís profile could come up. However, because of how much control Facebook gives users over their privacy settings, their number could be hidden from a search. Many users keep this information restricted to only those in their immediate friend network.
How Can I Trace a Blocked or Unknown Call?
You might be able to identify a blocked or unknown call by using a call-return code. These vary by countries, and in the U.S. the code is either 69 or 82. It will only work if the blocked or masked call is the last number to call you.
Most blocked calls come from spam and automated businesses and call campaigns. Trying to reach the source of the call wonít work if the number does not belong to an individual. You can trace the number and report it to your carrier by pressing *57 in the United States.
Ignoring blocked or unknown callers is typically the best way to get these types of calls to stop, although it might take awhile. Calling them back could make the situation worse. This flags telemarketers or other spammers that your number is still active and ultimately lands your number on a list as a target for other spam callers.
Getting Your Number on a Do Not Call List
You can get rid of telemarketing spam by registering your cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. The easiest way to do so is to register online at donotcall.gov. You will have to respond to a confirmation email.