Everyone who has received a call from a number they don't recognize has thought the same thing: “Who is calling me?”
A call from an unknown or unrecognized number could, of course, be from a client or potential job offer. But there’s also a chance that the calls are coming from people who want to defraud you. And it’s important to find out which.
Luckily, there’s a myriad of ways to look up a phone number. Let’s find out all you need to know about spam calls, how to find who’s calling you from a phone number, and how to block unwanted calls.
Spam calls are a type of unwanted call that occur without a prior request or permission from the recipient and can be potentially dangerous. Often, callers perform spam calls using robocalls so they can call their victims in bulk.
RoboKiller, a reputable call-blocking app, reported that Americans saw 5.74 billion robocalls in July 2021 alone.
Robocalls are automated calls that use autodialers to deliver pre-recorded messages through a telephone call. Autodialers are software that helps robocallers automatically dial lots of phone numbers to pass recorded messages. Many companies use robocalls for telemarketing purposes, and these calls have proved helpful in US elections, but now more than ever, scammers are using this technology to defraud people.
Spam calls utilizing robocall technology have become more common in recent times, and they’ve gotten a lot more difficult to ignore. Sometimes it may even be difficult to tell if the call is a spam call or not.
If you have unknown numbers calling you incessantly, you probably want to figure out the identity of the person behind the calls. Depending on the resources you have access to, here are some of the best ways to find out who keeps calling:
When you open your social media accounts, you are often required to submit your phone number as part of the registration process. There’s a fair chance that the number harassing you is linked to a profile on a social media network like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
So, if you need an easy option, perform a phone lookup on your social media. Social media networks like Facebook make this straightforward with their unique search feature.
What’s more, users often post their current location on Twitter and Facebook, which can be helpful if the phone number is linked to a profile. However, for this to work, the phone number has to be made public on the person’s profile, as most social media networks keep it private by default. Typing a number under that search bar will bring up posts and profiles linked to that number. If it is associated with a profile or has appeared on a post, you’ll find out.
Another easy way to find out who’s calling you is to look at the phone number on Google search. For many phone users, Google, the world’s biggest search engine, is usually the first place to look up strange numbers.
However, the results may not be as accurate as you’d expect. A phone number search on Google may not show any results.
If you receive these unwanted calls on your smartphone device, you can download and use a Caller ID app. With this, you can know who your unwanted caller is, including their name and location, if the information is available.
Caller ID apps help you look up the relevant information about your incessant caller even without the number stored on your phone. They can also be used for call blocking some phone numbers from incessantly calling or spam texting you.
With these apps, you get to maintain a “denylist” of unwanted callers and a “safelist” of phone numbers that you want to go through when they call you. Some Caller ID apps even let users on both Android and iOS devices download or integrate a contact list from the app to their phone.
So with a Caller ID App on your mobile device, you never have to worry about unknown numbers. However, if the app fails to display the caller’s ID, there’s a high chance it’s a spam call.
A reverse phone lookup can be used to find out the identity of the caller registered to an unknown number. A reverse phone search will include the name linked to a phone number as well as the address associated with it. The search tool will also allow you to browse through an available record of phone numbers and the associated details.
Depending on the phone number, other information that a reverse phone lookup can bring up includes:
A free reverse phone lookup by name can generate results that help you find out your unwanted caller’s true intentions in less than a minute. Free phone number lookup tools do exist, but the information obtained may be incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate.
We already know how to identify a number who keeps calling you, but how can you get them to quit? Here are a few tips:
The first and best way to handle spam calls is to avoid interacting with the caller if you can’t identify them. If you pick up the phone and the caller instructs you to click a button to stop receiving calls, do not follow this instruction. Spam callers and scammers have a crafty way of using this tactic to target live respondents who pick up. In this situation, what you need to do is hang up immediately.
You can also add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry if you’re receiving too many unwanted calls and robocalls. Joining this list does not require you to pay a dime, and will stop telemarketers from contacting you. However, if the spam calls keep coming, chances are it’s a scammer on the other end.
You can use your phone’s or a caller ID app’s call blocking features to alert you of and block unwanted callers who keep calling you. Some personalized settings will allow you only to receive phone calls from numbers on your contact.
Landlines are a bit at a disadvantage when it comes to using caller ID apps or blocking numbers. However, you can manually search them using a reverse phone search tool. There’s also the option of calling your phone operator and asking for all the relevant available references for that particular number.
STIR/SHAKEN is a carrier-based Caller ID authentication system that works to verify calls are indeed from the number displayed on the caller ID.
Providers used to use a manual and oddly time-consuming method known as a traceback. With a traceback, network providers can identify the source of unsolicited calls. While some years back, this method seemed very effective in combating robocalls and spam calls, it is too slow to take on the millions of spam calls that people experience daily.
Because of that, many providers have worked towards deploying a new and modern technology called STIR/SHAKEN. STIR is short for Secure Telephony Identity Revisited, and SHAKEN is short for Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs.
The primary goal of this new, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated technology is to make it more difficult for robocallers to spoof their caller ID and thus increase trust in voice calls. According to Hiya, Americans answered only 48% of voice calls in 2019. For numbers without caller ID, only 26% of calls were answered.
Using public key cryptography and digital certificates, STIR/SHAKEN can authenticate phone calls the same way that e-commerce websites secure their traffic. Carriers have a digital signature, and the carriers using STIR/SHAKEN work to make sure that the signature is authentic before it allows the call to be completed.
Unwanted and unsolicited calls can be a menace and a headache to deal with. From spam calls to robocalls and even scams, these calls are made without the recipient's prior permission and can be a constant source of harassment.
But now, those days are long gone. Using a phone number search and caller ID technology can tell you the identity and agenda of that number that keeps calling you, and call-blocking technology can put a stop to it.