Whether it be on your cell phone or a landline, phone call scams are on the rise. If you've recently received a phone call from a mysterious phone number, you might be wondering how you can identify the caller.
If you've tried to call back to no avail, don't fret. There are plenty of effective tools out there to help you gain information on an unknown caller.
In this article, I will go over the basics of conducting a number search using a search engine, social media, or a reverse phone lookup service. These tools work to track down cell phone numbers and landline numbers and can provide a surprising amount of details about the caller.
If you're worried about a particular phone scam, we'll go over some of the most prevalent phone scams out there, and how you can detect them. Let's get started.
1. Start with Google
If you're trying to perform a scammer phone number lookup, the easiest place to start is Google. Google is the go-to for just about any query you may have, including mystery phone numbers. This option is totally free, so it's a great place to begin.
So, how can you get started with this scammer search method? Luckily, it's pretty simple. First, you’ll want to locate the phone number in question. Head to the recent call section on your phone. From there, you're going to want to enter that number directly into the Google search box.
If your search results come up flat, try putting quotation marks around the number to make sure the search only reveals that number. Google is a great tool, but it doesn't always provide what you're looking for. If you find that Google doesn't work for, you, it's time to move onto the next step.
2. Use a Reverse Phone Check Website
A super-easy way to identify a phone number is with a reverse phone number lookup website. These websites typically offer a free report so you can search for a phone number right away. The only downside is if you'd like multiple reports you will have to sign up for a subscription service.
That being said, these sites offer something that no other option has — access to public records. Many of these websites can provide you with extensive reports to help you find the name and address of a mystery caller. Here's a shortlist of some of the best reverse phone number lookup sites out there.
Intelius: Intelius is another solid option if you're in need of a reliable phone lookup service. You can enter phone numbers directly into the site to see if there is any data connected to the number. You can use this information to find out if the phone number belongs to a real person or a scammer.
Instant Checkmate: This company takes user anonymity super seriously. That means whoever is calling you won't be notified that you're doing a reverse phone check on their number. Reports offer important details such as social media accounts connected to the phone number. This is by far one of the best sites to find out who a number belongs to.
Public Seek: Public Seek is a great company to work with because of the sheer number of records you'll have access to. Public Seek has over 10 billion records in its database so you'll have an easy time identifying a caller. A report from this business will give you information on criminal background, court records, job history, and more.
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CocoFinder: CocoFinder is a comprehensive background check company that can provide you with information about a mystery caller. Aside from the reverse phone number lookup, you can also search according to name and address to find out more information.
3. Search on Social MediaCertain social media platforms have the potential to provide details on unknown phone numbers. The best platforms for this purpose are Facebook or LinkedIn. Like Google, these platforms are free to use.
Now, this search method probably won't give you any details on scams, but if you're getting mystery calls from a personal number, this option will help you out. In other words, searching on a phone number on a social media site will help you find out if it belongs to an actual person or a bot.
Just like Google, you can enter the phone number right into the search box on the website. If the number matches a user on the site, you'll be given an account to check out.
4. Use an AppIf searching on Google or Facebook doesn't work for you, it's time to step your game up. There are few apps out there that can help you on your mission. One of the better-known apps used for reverse phone lookup is TrapCall. TrapCall is super convenient because it's available for both iPhones and Androids.
With this handy little tool, you can unmask mystery callers to help bust scammers. Here's how it works. Once you've downloaded the app to your mobile device, all you need to do is wait for the mystery number to call you. Once you see the mystery person calling you, decline the number so that it can be unmasked through the app.
The app will then send you any information connected to the number including a name and address. If the number calls back, you'll now know exactly who it is. Now, this option isn’t totally free— you'll have to sign up for a paid membership. That said, it can be a helpful tool for identifying mystery calls.
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How to Spot a Phone ScamIf you're reading this article, it's safe to say you might be struggling with a phone scam. These days, it's not at all uncommon for a scammer to call an unsuspecting stranger for dubious reasons.
If you're asking why there are so many phone scams out there, the answer is simple: money. The people behind these scams are usually looking for a way to get cash or credit card details from the people they call.
For that reason, it's extremely important to have an idea of what a scammer might say. Here is a list of some of the most common phone scams out there and how you can avoid them.
"You're in trouble with the IRS"
This particular phone scam has been making the rounds in recent months, and it's admittedly, pretty intimidating. The scammer typically claims to be an IRS official trying to get into contact with you. The scammer might even hack the caller ID so that it says "IRS."
So, how can you tell if it's a scam? The IRS will never ask for a payment over the phone or threaten to have you immediately arrested for not paying taxes. And of course, the IRS would never ask for bank or credit card information over the phone.
"Your relative is in jail and needs bail money"
This phone scam became very popular in recent years. In most cases, the scammer will call an older adult and tell them their grandchild or someone related, is in jail and needs bail money.
The scammer usually pretends to be some sort of government official to seem more legitimate. In other cases, the con artist might even pretend to be the grandchild! You can tell right away that this is a scam if the person is pushing for an immediate, secretive money wire transfer or credit card details.
"You need to verify your bank account"
Well, this one should set off alarm bells right away. Asking for bank details over the phone, also known as phishing, is one of the oldest tricks in the book. That being said, scammers have gotten pretty creative with this one.
Look out for anyone asking for your credit card or bank account information directly over the phone. That includes people attempting to set up automatic withdrawals, claims of bank fraud, or clams of bank-related issues.
"You won the lottery!"
As far fetched as it is, scammers have actually gotten away with this one. Now, this scam might involve something other than the lottery. It could be a grand prize, sweepstakes, or contest from a "local business."
The bottom line is, if they're asking for personal information to claim the prize, it's a scam. Likewise, if the scam requires a fee to collect your prize, you can safely assume it's a fake prize, and the caller is up to no good.
"Would you like to donate to our charity?"
This scam usually occurs after a disaster or tragedy has struck. The scammer preys on people's generosity by asking for donations to help victims or survivors. Often, the scam will use a charity name that is nearly identical to an actual charity.
So, how can you protect yourself from this scam? Always look up the name of the charity that claims to be calling you. Pay very close attention to the spelling and wording of the name. If the caller is pressuring you to donate immediately, it may be a scam.
Scammer Phone Number Lookup - Final AdviceConducting a landline or cell phone number search can seem daunting. However, as you can see, there are plenty of simple ways to identify an unknown phone number. Take advantage of Google or Facebook to search for the unknown number. If that doesn't work, you might want to try an app like TrapCall, or a background check website.
Remember, if an unknown cell phone number is pushing you for personal information or money on the phone, it's likely a scam. Even if you think it may be a legitimate call, it's always best to play it safe. When in doubt, hang up the phone and report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission. I hope this article was helpful, and good luck with your search!