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Did you receive a call from a number you don't recognize? Since cell phone numbers are generally not listed in public databases, finding the owners of such numbers can be tricky—especially since spam callers can spoof their phone numbers to implicate others! If you're being harassed over the phone and feel unsafe, call your local authorities. But if you're being pestered by annoying spam calls, or just want to know who's been calling your line, this wikiHow will teach you different ways to locate the owner of a phone number
Method 1 of 2:
Finding an Unknown or Blocked Number
1Check your call log or caller ID. All mobile phones will automatically identify most incoming phone calls. If you're on a land line (home phone), contact your phone provider to enable caller ID.
- Consult your phone manual or contact the manufacturer if you don't know how to check the call log for recent incoming phone numbers on your mobile phone.
- There are ways to bypass caller ID or even trick it into displaying the wrong number. If caller ID is unsuccessful, move on to the following options.
- If you're being harassed or threatened and fear for your safety, contact your local authorities to request assistance. Most locations have specific procedures to follow for tracing dangerous callers.
2Ask for "call return" service. If you'd like to be able to return a call to an unknown number, ask your provider for the call return code or search the internet for "call return code for [your country]". Contact your phone provider and purchase "call return" or "last call return" service if necessary, as an initial fee may be required.
- The call return code varies depending on country and phone provider (and may not be available in all regions). In the United States, this service is also called *69 (after the code used in that country).
- After the call you want to trace has ended, enter the call return code and you should hear a voice message reading the telephone number of that caller, with the option to return the call.
- In some regions (such as California), call return will only return the last incoming call without telling you the phone number.
3Enable "call trap" or "call trace" functions. If you are receiving repeated harassment calls from an unknown number, contact your phone provider and ask if these services are available:
- Call trap: After requesting a call trap, write down the dates and times you receive harassing phone calls for the next couple weeks (or for as long as your provider requests). Once you report this information to the phone company they will identify the harassing number and report it to law enforcement.
- Call trace: Once this service is enabled, pressing the call trace code immediately following the harassing call will send the phone number to law enforcement. (This code is *57 in the United States; your provider should tell you which code to use if you are in a different country.)
- Call traps are usually free, while call traces may cost an additional charge. If call trap is not available, or if the harassment is severe, you may be able to convince your phone provider to give you free call trace service.
Method 2 of 2:
Searching for a Phone Number
1Type the number into a search engine. If you're not having any luck with the reverse-lookup sites, you can use Google, Bing, or any other search engine to run a search. Since search engines let you look through all kinds of data, you may find hints that can point you in the right direction. For example, if a phone number is associated with a business or website, the business or site's info will come up.
- Try formatting the number in different ways, such as XXX-XXX-XXXX or (XXX) XXXXXXX. You should also try placing the entire phone number in quotation marks and no other symbols (e.g., "XXXXXXXXXX")
2Try a reverse-lookup database. There are many free websites that can provide basic information about a phone number. If the phone number you're tracing is a landline (not a mobile phone) and not private, you may be able to find the caller's name, business name, and/or address on a reverse-lookup site. If you search for a private landline or a mobile phone number, these websites will at least tell you the phone number's location and service provider. If you are prompted to pay for an upgrade see more detailed results, skip that—there are more free options to try.
- Whitepages (USA)
- Zabasearch (USA)
- Canada411 (CA)
- 411.ca (CA)
- WhoCallsMe (EU)
- ReverseAustralia (AUS)
- Although some reverse-lookup sites advertise paid services, they often won't yield results you couldn't find for free. Some sites are notorious for scamming customers, either by failing to provide any useful information for their money or by willfully stealing the customer's credit card information. If you do decide to use a paid service, research the company thoroughly, and stick to services that use PayPal or other well-known third-party systems.
3Search for the number on Facebook or other social networking sites. Depending on the social network, you may be able to search for a phone number to find the owner's profile on that site. For example, if the owner of the phone number linked it to a Facebook account, you can search for the phone number using Facebook's regular search bar. X Research source
- If you suspect it is someone you have dealings with online, search the site where you exchange chat or information with them, such as on the site's forums.
4Call the number. Explain to whoever answers that you've been receiving calls from the number. Politely ask who they are. If they tell you, no need to continue! If they don't, try one of the methods below.
- Try calling from an alternate number, such as a friend's phone, a Google Voice phone number, or a payphone. If you have called repeatedly and gotten no answer, it's possible that the other party is choosing not to pick up your calls. Calling from a friend's phone or a payphone can help rule out this possibility.
- If the person who answers claims to have not called your number, it's possible that a scammer used rogue software to disguise their phone number as someone else's. This phenomenon is called "spoofing," and often these numbers appear to come from your own area code.
QuestionI want to know which country the person is sending me messages from. How can I do that?Community AnswerYou can go onto country codes lookup site, and look at the number, or the number should have a country code and you can look for it on the site.
QuestionIs there anyway to track a deactivated pre-paid Android phone?Community AnswerIf the phone is "deactivated", that is no longer in service, then probably not. If the phone is stolen, and the battery is dead, you can still get the last known whereabouts by using Google: "Google find my phone." As long as you made a search while logged into a Gmail account, it will work. As long as the phone is charged, you can get real time location of said phone. That's why thieves leave the phone off, until they get a new sim card.
QuestionHow do I find a stolen phone?Community AnswerYou could contact the local police station to see if are they able to help you with it. There is likely a database in which they or your cell carrier hold your number. They might be able to use such a database to locate your phone, if it's on and connected to a cell tower. Using a phone-finding app is more efficient, but it also requires that your phone have the app installed and be connected to mobile data or WiFi.
QuestionWhen I track a phone number, do I hear everything from that tracking period or before?Community AnswerOnly after your track. You won't see any info before it using an app, because your phone doesn't save that data. Although, you can know everything before when using a Google account or your carrier.
QuestionCan I monitor a phone without having the phone if I am the owner and I have the IMEI number?Community AnswerYes, if you own the phone. The IMEI doesn’t help with much except for identifying the phone, though. In most cases you will need physical access to the phone at least once to download the monitoring app or program.
QuestionIs there a way or an app to simply find out who is calling me from an unknown without a caller ID number?Community AnswerThere isn't such an app yet. But you can check what the person sounds like by letting the call go through to the answering machine. If they don't say who they are, think about who has your number and ask your friends and family.
QuestionHow do I trace an unknown number?Community AnswerYou cannot trace *67 or hidden numbers.
QuestionHow do I find out the name of a person who owns a phone number?Community AnswerYou can use the white pages website but you have to pay $2.00 for it.
QuestionEven though my phone number is unlisted, I get calls from all over. How do they get my number and how do I stop the calls?Community AnswerThey pick numbers from a list. If different numbers call, then you sign up for the donotcall.gov list.
How can I track the messages and caller ID?
What do I do if I was overcharged for a phone call that I received when I can't fine the number anywhere?
How do I find my phone if it's turned off?
Is it be harder to trace a number if it's located in a highly populated area?
What app can I use to find out who is tracing my phone number?
- The first three numbers of a US or Canadian phone number are called the area code. In other countries, the area code may be 2 to 5 digits long. You can look up the location of an area code online or in a phone directory.
- The fourth to sixth numbers of a US or Canadian phone number represent the exchange code. Searching the exchange code will narrow down the location of the caller even further.
- If you want to find the location of a smartphone belonging to you or a family member, see How to GPS Track a Cell Phone.
- Pay a fee only after exhausting free options. If you're still at a loss and the situation is dire, a paid service might give you more information. However, these sites typically run the same searches you did when you tried the free methods, so paying money usually won't divulge information you can't find doing free searches.
- If you do manage to get hold of the caller on the other end and work out who it is, stay calm and don't get engaged in a heated argument. If they are rude, threatening or nasty, do not keep listening. If they make threats of physical harm, take the matter to the police.
About This Article
1. Call the number and ask who the person is.
2. Search for the phone number in a search engine or public database.
3. Search for the phone number in Facebook and Twitter.
4. Research and sign up for a paid cell phone lookup service.
5. Ask your mobile provider if “Call trap” or “Call trace” is available.
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