How to Trace a Private Number on a Cell Phone

By Colleen Collins

Updated August 24, 2017

It's not impossible to trace a private call.
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When "Private" or "Private Caller" displays for an incoming phone call in your caller ID, that means the caller has intentionally blocked his number (either through his telephone carrier or by entering "67" or another blocking code before placing the call to you). You can still find out who is calling by waiting for them to receive an identifying voicemail message, calling 69 to call them back or using your phone's redial feature. If you're tired of receiving private cellular calls, you can also ask your phone company to block them from calling you.

Hope for a Voicemail

Let the call go to voicemail, and see if the caller leaves a message. This is often the easiest way to check the identity of the caller. Often people leave their names, phone numbers and reason they're calling in a message, making high-tech steps for tracing anonymous calls unnecessary.

Check *69

Dial "*69." In North America, pressing this code redials the last incoming caller's phone number; however, it's a good idea to first check with your cell phone provider if it offers this code (your provider's contact number is on your monthly statements). If a person answers, explain you received a call with blocked caller ID from this number, and would like to know who called you. If you get that person's voicemail, she may identify her name or phone number in that message.

Press the Redial Button

Press the redial button. Some cellphones have a redial button--press it immediately after receiving a private call to ring through to that phone. If a person answers, politely explain you received an anonymous call from that number and would like to know who was calling you. If you hear a voice message, the person may identify himself or his phone number on it. If your phone doesn't have a redial button, check the phone documentation for a redial feature, or call the manufacturer (whose number is on the main page of its website) and ask if that model has a redial feature.

Block Future Anonymous Calls

If you're tired of getting anonymous calls, consider purchasing anonymous call blocking. Contact your cellphone or landline service provider and ask if it offers anonymous call blocking. This is a paid service that stops blocked calls ringing through to your cellphone. Instead, callers hear a recording telling them to unblock their calls if they wish to ring through to your phone. Because callers must unblock their numbers to reach you, their information, usually name or phone number, displays on your caller ID instead of "Private." Check with your service provider because some companies only offer a variation of this setup.


If you are receiving threatening or intimidating calls from a private caller ID, contact your cell phone provider and request to speak to its security department, which (depending on the provider's policies) may set up a call trace or request you file a complaint with local law enforcement. Neither course of action means the personal information associated with a private caller ID (such as the person's name, phone number, address) is released to you; however, it means authorities will take action on your behalf to halt that caller from making further phone calls to you.