Can Calling Cards Be Traced?

By Michael Wolfe

Calling cards can be traced
i phone image by Zbigniew Nowak from

Instead of being placed directly from a phone, some calls are made using pre-paid calling cards. Calling cards allow users a certain number of minutes of use. Some cards require users to dial a special number before placing their call, while others can be used while inserted into special machines.


Instead of receiving a display of the number of the phone from which a call was placed, the recipient of a call made using a calling card will see the outdial number of the card's issuer. This makes the call not immediately traceable, as a *57 or other redial trace will result in an error message.


Although the call cannot be traced directly by the recipient of the call, the origination of the call can be ascertained by other means. Phone companies, while probably unable to directly identify the phone from which a call was made, will be able to ascertain the calling card company that directed the call.


Nearly all calling card companies maintain records of what calls are routed through their system. Once the calling card company that issued the call has been identified, their records can be checked to identify the caller. However, companies may be unwilling to relinquish this data unless legally ordered to.