We’ve all had those calls that seem to come out of the blue from “unidentified numbers.” Most of us ignore these calls because we have no clue who’s on the other end. If it’s important they’ll just leave a message, right? Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.
That’s when you receive a second call and maybe even a third call from the same unidentified number. We can’t blame you if your mind begins to run wild at that point. Is it a debt collector calling you? An old ex? Your stupid little brother playing a prank on you? The possibilities are endless, but one thing is certain — you want to know who’s calling you.
Why not just pick up the phone and solve the mystery that way? Well, that’s rarely a good idea. If it were important someone would leave a message. In many cases, unidentified callers are people who are trying to catch you off guard.
You may not realize it, but the stakes of answering an unidentified number can actually be quite high. Here are a few reasons why:
- Debt collectors and telemarketers often call phone numbers to see if the line is active. If you answer they’ll begin harassing you by calling from multiple unknown numbers.
- Scammers have been known to call random numbers to feel out potential prey.
- Even stalkers have been known to harass their victims by calling from unidentified numbers that can’t be traced back to them!
Don’t worry, not every unidentified caller is a potential bad guy just waiting to take advantage of you the moment you answer your phone. It could be your bank calling to confirm information on your account. It could be a guy or gal that you gave your number to some time ago, and they’re just getting around to calling you back.
The problem is, you just don’t know. That’s why it’s advised that you find out who’s calling you before you ever pick up the phone. Otherwise, you may end up being harassed for your troubles!
Let’s take a look at a few tried and tested ways of tracking a phone number so you can always be aware of who’s calling you.
Investigate the area code
The first telltale sign that a number is coming from an unidentified caller is the area code — if it’s unfamiliar than there’s a good chance you have no association with the person on the other end. Even if a friend or a family member were to change their number without telling you, they would likely still have the same area code if they still live in the same neighborhood.
Fortunately, area codes can reveal a lot about a caller if you know what to look for. Be on the lookout for toll-free area codes such as 855, 866, 888, 877, and 800 because it’s likely coming from a telemarketer or another type of business. If a scammer is calling from outside of the country, their area code will be foreign which should be an immediate red flag.
If you’re being hounded by sales calls you can opt out by visiting donotcall.gov. Still, thousands of folks around the country still file complaints that they’re still being harassed even after signing up for the list, so keep in mind it isn’t completely foolproof.
Don’t let yourself be lulled into a fall sense of security if the unidentified number is coming from a familiar area code. Some scammers do in-depth research on their targets and will try to catch you off guard by calling from an area code where you have family.
Use Facebook to trace the number
If you use Facebook on your phone, the app can gather information on your saved contacts. That’s why people you call often show up under “people you may know” on Facebook. You can use this feature to your advantage by perusing through this list of suggested friends. If a new face pops up, that may be a bit suspicious.
Facebook also has a feature that allows people to search for phone numbers. However, this is a feature that’s commonly disabled in privacy settings. Thus, it’s certainly an option to use, but the results aren’t as guaranteed as other methods.
Use a Reverse Phone Lookup
There’s plenty of tips and tricks to find out who’s calling you, but the most surefire way to reveal the face or organization behind the unidentified number is to do a Reverse Phone Lookup. Just type in the unidentified number into the search bar and hit “search.”
Now sit back and watch the magic happen as you wait for the results to pop up. In just a few seconds time you’ll have information such as the cellular network used, the identity of the caller, approximate location (in some cases), and more!
Reverse Phone Lookups are perfect for investigative work because they put a name and even a picture to unidentified callers. You’ll also be able to reveal social media profiles, which is perfect because you’ll be able to do even more in-depth research!
The benefits of using of using a Reverse Phone Lookup are numerous:
Always stay one step ahead of scammers
Even if someone leaves a message on your phone that sounds like it checks out you should run a Reverse Phone Lookup anyways just to be safe. Some scammers actually do their homework and will provide information they’ve found on you and your family (likely discovered through social media research) to lull you into a false sense of security.
Reverse Phone Lookups provide peace of mind even when things appear to be fine on the surface and will reveal a lie for what it is. For example, if someone calls and tries to glean information about your bank account for “security purposes” a Reverse Phone Lookup may reveal that the caller is someone who has zero association with your bank.
At that point, you can call your bank and let them know you’ve been contacted by a scammer. They will then take extra precautions to ensure your funds are secure!
Get a possible general location of the caller
You may have your suspicions of who may be calling you, but without a location or a proper area code, you’ll never be able to finger the perp. However, Reverse Phone Lookups often zero in on the approximate location of the caller. You won’t get an address or an exact bead on the person, but you’ll at least know if the caller may live close to you (which should be cause for alarm).
You can take things further by running a background check. Who knows, you may find your mystery caller may have a criminal history. If you find something disturbing your best course of action is to call the police immediately!
Never be in the dark again
You should never have to wonder who’s calling your phone. Whether you use Facebook, investigate the area code, or run a Reverse Phone Lookup there are multiple options to track down who’s calling you. Remember, the faster you take action the faster you can do your research and discover who’s actually calling you.