Considering there are 5.27 billion people using cell phones around the world, it’s fairly common to receive a phone call from an unknown number as a mistake. Someone might have accidentally dialed the wrong number or entered the wrong information for a contact.
It’s better to use a spam blocking app such as Burner that will outright block calls coming from unknown numbers.
However, these calls shouldn’t be a very common occurrence. If you frequently receive calls from numbers you don’t know, it’s most likely an attempt to scam you. If you want to know who is calling you, there are quite a few options to find out.
Why Random Numbers Might Be Calling You
Although it won’t always be the case, it’s safe to say that most of these calls are spam. It’s estimated that there will be more than 71 billion spam calls made in 2021. This represents a 30 percent increase in the total number of spam calls despite recent legislation being signed in an attempt to stop them.
The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act was signed into law in late December of 2019. However, the total amount has only increased since then. These calls are more than just an annoyance; they are dangerous and potentially life-altering.
Phone scams have resulted in Americans losing nearly $30 billion over the course of the last year alone. Generally, these scammers will use a programmed robot to dial millions of numbers at random in order to make contact.
If a person answers the phone, the scam attempt will begin and almost always involves giving out your financial information for some reason or another. One of the popular new trends for scammers is to use COVID-19 as a means to prey on people.
Even if you don’t fall for the scam, by answering the phone, you have indicated to scammers that your number is “active,” and they will almost certainly continue trying to scam you.
Options For Finding Out Who Is Calling You
In order to stay safe from these scams and protect your personal information, you should just assume that calls coming from an unknown number are scams. There are so many other ways for someone to reach you instead of constantly calling from an unknown number. They could use texting, social media, or have a mutual acquaintance give you their number.
That being said, if you are curious as to who is on the other end of the line and calling you, there are quite a few options for finding out.
The first option is the easiest and most obvious: Google the number. In fact, Google searches are so common that the word was added to the dictionary as a verb. It’s possible that Googling the numbers that have been calling you will come back with information relating to them.
There are plenty of lists available online that keep track of all the various scam numbers that have been reported. The numbers that have been calling you might appear on one of these lists, and Google should find out during the search.
The best part about Google is that it’s free. So even if it doesn’t work out, it won’t cost you any money.
USE A REVERSE NUMBER LOOKUP SERVICE
A Google search is a good way to find all kinds of information, but it’s not primarily designed for looking up phone numbers, and the results are often lacking. By using a reverse number service, you can find out all kinds of information associated with a number, including the name of the person or business, their address, and any other relevant information.
The service will typically scan a few billion records in order to find out everything associated with the number, so it might take a little while to complete. The data will come from sources that are made available to the public, so these searches aren’t doing anything illegal. The only thing you will need to create a search is the ten-digit phone number that called you.
Very little information may come back on your search, and that’s typically a sign of a spoofed call. This is another tactic used by spammers where they change the Caller ID number to a different one than the actual number making the call.
So the chances are that if the number has no information relating to it, then it’s a scam. A few options provide this service for free but with limited features and search results. Some of the best sites that provide reverse number searches include Instant Checkmate, Zlookup, Spokeo, and Whitepages.
DIAL *69 AFTER RECEIVING A CALL
Nearly every phone comes standard with a Caller ID these days, and so you should see a phone number appear whenever you receive a call. However, there are a few easy ways that a person or scammer might hide their number to come up as unknown, blocked, or private.
Even though the phone number has been hidden from your Caller ID, you can still find it out by entering the Last Call Return code of “*69”. This code will only work on the most recent call that you’ve received and must be used within 30 minutes.
After you’ve entered the code, you should receive a recording that lists off the number and will give you the option to dial it by pressing “1”. It’s important to note that the exact service can vary depending on your phone service provider.
Some of them will automatically attempt to connect with the previous number instead of listing it first. Since most of these calls are made as an attempt to scam you, it’s best not to call back the number once you have it.
CHECK YOUR VOICEMAIL
Whether your Caller ID displays a number or not, you should just let the call go to voicemail. There is no reason to answer a call when you have no idea who it is. Checking your voicemail is a safe and easy way to figure out who called you. It’s possible that a friend or family member was using a new phone or a similar situation.
However, it’s most likely that the call was either a telemarketer trying to sell you something or a robocall trying to spam you. Most of the time, spam calls won’t leave a voicemail, but some of them do. It can be somewhat tricky trying to determine if the voicemail is legitimate or a scam.
As mentioned earlier, these scammers will use anything they can to scam you, so you’ll have to be careful when trying to figure out if the call is real or a fraud. You will probably just end up deleting the voice mail, but it’s worth a listen just in case it’s real. Make sure you take the time to block the number on your phone once you’ve determined it’s a scam.
Frequently receiving calls from unknown or random phone numbers is one of the annoying downsides of owning a smartphone. You mustn’t answer these calls as they are usually spam. There are plenty of ways for you to find out who is calling after you have their number, and it’s just not worth the risk.
The best way to avoid dealing with these constant and annoying disruptions is to use a spam blocking app like Burner. You won’t have to worry about constantly receiving unknown calls or potentially getting scammed by blocking all unknown numbers.
Digital Around the World — DataReportal – Global Digital Insights.
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