How to Track Anonymous Calls
By Thomas McNish
While Caller ID can be a helpful tool for revealing the identity of most callers, many people use techniques to hide their number. Telemarketers, as well as pranksters, can use Call Blocking to make anonymous calls, preventing you from knowing who's behind that "Private" or "Unknown" number. Fortunately however, there are ways of tracking these calls and revealing the caller's identity. The methods vary in price and difficulty, so choose the method that best suits your situation.
Keep a log handy of all dates and times that you receive calls from anonymous numbers.
Speak with your phone company about setting up Call Trap. This is a free service, but it's also temporary. For a period lasting up to a couple weeks, the company will put a trace on your line and keep a log of all incoming calls. At the end of the two week period, you can cross-reference the call log you've been keeping with the phone company's. Between the two sets of information, you can find out who has been making the anonymous calls.
Speak with your phone company about subscribing to a service called Call Trace. For a small monthly fee, you'll get the ability to trace anonymous calls coming from your local area. After receiving any "Private," "Restricted" or "Unknown" call, simply dial *57 and the caller's info is rerouted to your phone company.
Sign up for a service called TrapCall (see link in "Resources"). Subscribe to a monthly service plan that suits your needs. When receiving an anonymous call, simply hit the "Ignore" or "End Call" button to refuse the call. This automatically triggers the number to be sent to TrapCall's database, where it will be cross-referenced and identified. Soon after, you'll receive a text message with the identity of the anonymous caller.
Contact law enforcement. If the nature of the calls makes you feel truly threatened or sexually harassed, it's best to get the police involved. They can put a trace on your line and help you track down the caller. They can also cross-reference their line tracer with the log that you've been keeping for evidence in court.
- Use discretion when choosing your method for tracing anonymous calls. For instance, don't contact law enforcement if a prank call happens one time. That method is best saved for continual harassing calls.
Thomas McNish has been writing since 2005, contributing to Salon.com and other online publications. He is working toward his Associate of Science in computer information technology from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla.