When someone calls and doesn’t leave a message, if I don’t recognize the number, I often try to figure out who called. Why? I don’t know, maybe I am just obsessive. Other times I need to help someone figure out if the caller has broken a law or rule so it is important to identify the caller if I can.
These are the steps I take.
The first step is to simply enter the phone number in Google. Many people will post various phone numbers on online forums, especially when it comes to telemarketers or debt collectors.
The next step I take, if Google fails me, is to go to a reverse lookup site. Reverse lookup services enable me to enter a phone number and find out who owns it. This only works for landlines. My favorite is AnyWho.
The third step I take, which doesn’t help me identify who called but does help me identify from where the call came geographically, is to use a site such as this one which identifies whether a call is cellular and provides some information. If I am so inclined I can purchase more information. Normally this information still won’t give me the name, so I don’t tend to purchase it. However, in some cases, I can file a subpoena to find out more. Especially if I know someone who shouldn’t be calling is from a particular area of the country/city and the call is shown as coming from that area.
If the call seems to have come from another country, I simply look at a Website such as the link I have provided to identify the various country codes.
Call a Number Back
If you want to call the number back, the code *69 normally works, unless the line is marked as private. This only works for the last call received.
Use of the Number
Not only can identifying from who a call came help with my obsessive need to figure out who is calling me it can also help with debt collectors who are violating a request to communicate in writing, someone engaging in harassment, or those violating the do-not-call list.
Other Information Provided
Another interesting piece of information is that some reverse lookup services will provide you with directions to the location of the number, information about the neighborhood, and even the neighbors of the address to which a number is attached. I remember when this service came out that those who practiced in the field of domestic violence were very concerned about their clients. This is why it is sometimes a good reason to set your own phone number as private or to use a service such as Google Voice.
Set Your Number to Private
If you want to set your phone number to private on a call-by-call basis, the code *67 followed by the number you are dialing. So if you are calling me you would dial *67 1-717-256-****. Some people refuse private numbers, so you might find your calls rejected from time-to-time when you do this.