How to Find Whom a Phone Number Belongs To and Block Them
If you received a call and didn’t recognize the caller, how do you find out who owns the phone number? Do you call them back and risk calling a marketer or sales agent? Do you ignore it and get on with your day? Or do you find out who it is and then decide whether to call them back or not? While most people receive several robocalls every day or week, curiosity often gets the better of them, and they want to know who called.
As you get more robocalls or scam calls offering deals that are too good to be true, you are increasingly likely to ignore calls from undisclosed numbers or ones you don’t recognize. That’s fine for the most part as we know the numbers of family and friends, but what if they used a different phone? What if you’re awaiting a reply on a job offer or expecting a callback from a contractor?
Knowing who a phone number belongs to is the only thing to set your mind at ease. However, genuine answers are usually not free, but they are also not expensive—a few dollars at most. This article discusses your options to discover who keeps calling you or identify who owns a particular number that called you once.
Identifying a Phone Number
There are a few practical ways to find out who owns a phone number. Most charge fees to provide more detail, but it is worth the cost in many cases. The price is often less than four dollars, and you get a name, location, and the type of phone connection, such as a landline or mobile.
1. Search on Google
In 2021, people usually start with Google for nearly every question they need to get answered. Finding out who is calling you is no different. This option is usually the first place to go because Google’s algorithm is so well-programmed that you can instantly find out if the phone number is coming from a business.
Even with its algorithmic accuracy, Google isn’t the best way to identify a phone number; but it is fast. You will usually see many websites that let you provide feedback on a number, submit a review, or help identify phone numbers. It isn’t always the most informative, but it can often identify a reputable business number.
Google is also helpful if the number presented on the call is a landline. Finding mobile numbers is difficult because there are laws that protect them. To get details on those numbers, you usually have to pay.
Another beneficial function in Google is finding the area code. You can use the first digits to identify where the call came from, assuming a computer or app didn’t spoof it. If the call is from a distant city but has family or friends there, it may be enough to call it back. But again, cell numbers are not published online unless linked to a website, business, or complaint.
2. Use Reverse Phone Lookup
There are many ways to perform a reverse phone lookup when you have the number but not the owner. These solutions are handy ways to identify who owns the phone number. Websites such as Whitepages, WhoCallsMe, Pipl, Spokeo, or Numberville can all help you out with this.
Many websites offer some degree of information for free, but not enough to ensure the accuracy or determine the actual source of the call. For better accuracy and details, websites charge a fee to gain access to identifiable information, or some give you a hint of who owns the number and ask you to pay to find out for sure. Bear in mind that the data may not reflect the current owner but is often correct.
The above scenarios apply to both landline and mobile phone numbers. Those linked above give you all or enough information to identify who owns the number.
3. Browse and Search Social media
If the number is associated with a company of some kind, it will likely get mentioned on social media. That’s especially true if it’s a robocaller or scammer, as many people will rant about it on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere. It might be worth putting the number into your favorite social network and searching for it.
If the number shows as a private caller, it will not get mentioned anywhere as it has no number to display.
4. Call the Number
Your other option is to call the number back. This process is probably the easiest thing to do, but you risk calling someone you don’t want.
It’s a good idea to use *67 before dialing the number to hide yours. This action means your number won’t show up on the recipient’s phone, so you’re not confirming that your phone number is live if it is a marketer or scammer. If you want to talk to the person on the other end, you can. If you find you don’t want to talk to them, you can hang up or listen for a while, and they won’t know who called, as long as you used *67.
How to Optionally Block a Phone Number
If you receive frequent marketing calls from the same number(s) or you identified a caller and want to stop them, you can block the number(s) on your phone. Your device and provider handle the block. Mobile users will see a failed call on their call log, and landline users will be blissfully unaware.
Bear in mind that marketers and scammers often use different numbers or falsely send a fake number to get you to answer or get the call to go through, making it difficult to identify who called you at times.
How to Block a Phone Number on Android
Once you’ve identified who called you, there are a few ways to block a phone number on Android, depending on your smartphone’s make, model, and OS. The easiest way is to go straight to the call log. Here’s how.
Depending on your make, model, and OS, options may appear differently. However, the process is the same.
- Head to the call log on your smartphone, usually by tapping on the “phone icon” then “Recents.”
- Find the call you want to identify, then press and hold down on the name (not the phone icon) or tap it and select “i” or the “three-dot menu icon” to open the menu options.
- Select “Block/report spam” or something similar depending on model.
- In the popup window, confirm the block. You can also check the box next to “Report call as spam” if desired and available.
Now, any calls from that specified number will get blocked on your Android phone. You can also unblock them later if needed, so don’t worry too much.
How to Block a Phone Number on iPhone
The process is similar on an iPhone as it is on Android devices.
- Go to “Recents,” then find the call on the list.
- Select the “i” and choose “Block This Caller.”
- Confirm your choice and you’re done.
How to Block a Phone Number on Landlines
Different networks may have unique methods, but the easiest way in the US is to dial *60 and type in the number you want to block. Some networks charge for call blocking and may require you to activate the feature first. You should hear an audio prompt if that’s the case.
In closing, identifying who called you has become a hot topic these days, especially since robocalls don’t stop, telemarketers keep pushing services or products, and scammers keep trying to steal identifiable information or rip you off.
Once you know who is calling, you can block them or respond if they are a desirable caller, such as a distant family member, a medical facility, a company you ordered from, or even a neighbor.
Just remember that non-legitimate callers often change numbers to keep the calls coming or to trick you with a local phone number so you’ll answer. Those scenarios are challenging to avoid, but at least you have some control. Your smartphone and provider may offer a service that warns you based on the call history of a specific number, which would appear as “Potential Fraud,” “Potential Scammer,” “Private Number,” etc.