Receiving a call from an unknown number is more complicated these days than it used to be. If you are not sure who has called you, it is wise to wait and find out before you return the call. This is because many phone scams have the specific purpose of getting you to call them back, and then you get stuck with a huge bill. Luckily, there are many ways to find out who owns a cell phone number.
Reverse Phone Number Lookup
The best way to find out who is calling you is by doing a reverse phone number lookup. You can type the number into an online tool, and the result will generate a few minutes later. The tool will search through the entire internet until it finds a match. By doing this, you can potentially find out the caller’s name, address, email address, social media activity, and company contact info, if applicable. If it is a company that has been trying to get in touch with you, it will be easier for you, as it is not an individual’s phone number.
Check Spam Reporting Websites
When people receive spam calls, they will sometimes post to a certain website to report it. One example of this is ShouldIAnswer.com. All you have to do is input the phone number and see if anyone has reported it as unsafe or spam. When you find out about the number that has been calling you, you may be able to add it to this website to help others.
Use a Search Engine
Sometimes the most common thing to do is type the number directly into Google. This may bring up some valuable data, but it is not guaranteed. You may get lucky and come across a forum in which others are talking about the same number that called you. If this is the case, it is more than likely a scam call, and you can just ignore it.
If the owner of the phone has put their number on the National Do Not Call List, it will be difficult to track them using Google. You will get a message informing you that it is on the list, and your search will hit a dead-end for the time being.
Use Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook have features that allow you to type the number in and see if someone has it linked to their account. If so, the person’s profile will pop up, and you can easily see who was calling you. If it is someone that you know from the past, it may be worth reaching out to them to see if they are okay. They may have been trying to get in contact with you to ask for help with something and lost the nerve to do so.
Call Them Back with a Different Phone
If you still have not had any luck in identifying the owner of the cell phone number, you can try calling them back. Keep in mind that you should not use your phone in case it is a scam to cheat you out of money. Do not borrow anyone else’s phone to make the call unless you want them to potentially end up with a surprise bill. Use a payphone that is not linked to you in any way. If someone legitimate answers, you will have the opportunity to speak with them about what they wanted. If not, then you know it was a spam caller.
How to Report Phone Scammers
The best thing to do is give all the information you have to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) or the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). These organizations will work to take down the scam callers, preventing them from tricking anyone ever again.