How To Find Who a Phone Number Belongs To
If you received a call and don’t recognize the caller, how do you find out who the phone number belongs to? 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 of us receive several robocalls a day or week, curiosity often gets the better of me and I want to know who called.
As we get more robocalls or scam calls offering deals that are too good to be true, we are increasingly likely to ignore calls from undisclosed numbers or numbers we 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 waiting to hear about a job offer or are awaiting a callback from a contractor or tradesman?
Then knowing who a phone number belongs to is the only thing to set your mind at ease.
Identifying a phone number
There are a few effective ways to find out who a phone number belongs to. These are just a few.
In 2021, we start off with Google for nearly every question we need to be answered. Finding out who is calling you is no different. This is usually the first place to go because Google’s algorithm is so well-programmed that we 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 a ton of websites that offer the ability to feedback a number, offer a review or help identify it. It isn’t always the most informative but it can often identify whether it’s a reputable business number.
Google is also useful if the number presented on the call is a landline. Another useful function is finding the area code. You can use the first digits to identify where the call came from. That alone may help. If the call is from a distant city but you have family or friends there, it may be enough to call it back. Cell numbers are not published online unless they are linked to a website, business, or complaint.
Reverse phone lookup
There are a bunch of ways to perform a reverse phone lookup, where you have the number but not the owner. These are very useful ways to identify who a phone number belongs to. Websites such as Whitepages, WhoCallsMe, Pipl, Spokeo, or Numberville can all help you out with this.
There are many websites similar to the ones we’ve mentioned. Many offer information for free and charge for a premium feature or some will give you a hint of who owns the number and ask you to pay to find out for sure. Those linked above give you all, or enough, information to identify who owns the number and will work for a cell number or landline.
If the number is associated with a company of some kind, it will likely have been 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 somewhere else. It might be worth putting the number into your favorite social network and searching for it.
If it’s a private caller, it will likely not be mentioned but it’s definitely worth a try.
Call the number
Your other option is to just call the number back. This is probably the easiest thing to do but you risk calling someone you really don’t want to talk to. It’s a good idea to use *67 before dialing the number to hide your number. This means your number won’t show up on the recipient’s phone so if it is a marketer or scammer, you’re not confirming the number is live.
If you want to talk to them, you can. If you find you don’t want to talk to them, you can put the phone down and they won’t know who called.
Blocking phone numbers
If you receive frequent marketing calls from the same number(s), you can block them on your phone. The block is handled by your phone if you use mobile and network for landlines so you won’t even know they tried to call. Mobile users will see a failed call on their call log and landline users will be blissfully unaware.
Block a number on Android
There are a few ways to block a number on Android depending on your make of phone. The easiest is to go to the call log, select ‘i’ or the three dot menu icon for more details and select Block Number.
Block a number on iPhone
The process is similar on an iPhone. Go to Recents, select the ‘i’ and select Block This Caller. Confirm your choice and you’re done.
Block a number on landlines
Different networks may have different 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.