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Every now and then, an unrecognized number will appear on your phone. Maybe you don’t answer it. Maybe you do, and they hang up. But either way, it leaves you scratching your head, wondering who called. 

Unknown or blocked callers could be anyone — from your ex to a sales representative to even a scammer. Or maybe the caller is just a petulant prankster who gains amusement from your confusion. While most individuals just shrug off the calls as a wrong number, you have legitimate reasons to know who is calling you. 

Why it’s important to identify unknown callers

Phone harassment is not just annoying; it’s a serious issue and it doesn’t take much for it to be considered illegal. The definition of phone harassment varies from state to state, but in general, it includes repeated calling, intent to harass, obscenity, and threats. If someone is calling you from a blocked or unknown number, their reasoning could be intentionally harmful. 

If you’re experiencing phone harassment, the easiest thing to do is to block the caller in your phone settings. However, that doesn’t solve the mystery of who called you and why.

How to find out who called you

A number of options exist to find out who called you. You could simply call the number back and ask who you are speaking to. However, the receiver might not respond, rendering your efforts useless. A few free methods are handy to help identify the caller. You can search the number using public databases, search engines such as Google, or by scouring social media networks. Most of these just require typing the phone number into the relevant search bar and seeing what the site spits out. Sometimes the caller might have posted their number on a personal or corporate website (although that isn’t always a guarantee). 

While most mobile phones automatically have caller ID, with a landline, you have to ask your phone provider to enable it. For unknown or blocked phone numbers, you can use a “call return” service. In the United States, you can use the code *69 to return a call. 

You can also ask your phone provider for access to services like “call trap” and “call trace.” Call traps are typically free functions offered by your provider to identify harassers. After requesting a call trap, your provider will ask you to write down the dates and times you receive these calls. After some time, you will send that information to your provider who will identify the number and report it to the authorities. 

A call trace allows you to immediately report the number to law enforcement. Compared to call trap, call trace is usually offered for an extra fee. After your provider enables this function, you can press *57 (the code used for the US) when you receive a call from the harassing number. This code sends the phone number straight to the relevant authorities. 

But if these options fail, try a phone tracker service such as Golookup. By using a reverse phone lookup, you can find out detailed information about the caller including their full name, email address, their job, relationship status, and court records. Golookup works best with providing public data on a caller such as their addresses. The service also provides a complete background check report which includes criminal records and mugshots. 

We all get random calls from unknown numbers from time to time. But if a number is repeatedly calling you, sending disturbing messages, or you just have a suspicious feeling about it, it’s wise to find out who the caller is. 

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