How to Track Spoofed Numbers

By Mary Cole ; Updated April 09, 2017
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Spoof phone calls occur when the caller misrepresents who he is by displaying a caller ID and other associated information that isn't accurate. A spoofer could be a prank caller. He could also be a scam artist, pretending to be from your financial institution or telephone company, who is in search of personal information such as your social security number, bank account numbers or voice mail passwords. Tracking spoof calls can aid in a police investigation and satisfy your curiosity.

Look at the caller ID when you receive a call. Answer the phone to detect if the call is actually a spoof call. Listen to what the person is telling you and where he says he is calling from.

Note any personal or financial questions he asks that might seem out of place or obvious (for example, a bank calling you directly for your account number, or your telephone company requesting your voice mail password or access number).

Take the caller's name, department and call-back number. Do not provide any of the requested information. Let him know you want to verify the information being requested. If the call is a spoof call, the person will typically hang up. Call the institution he says he represented and validate everything he told you to see if the details match up. If not, you may have been spoofed.

Look up suspected spoof number on reverse directory sites such as 800 notes or Who Calls Me (see References). These sites let you type the number in the search box and see any user comments based on the number. Some comments might provide more clues or establish a pattern with the spoofer.

Call your local telephone company and the local authorities if you believe you are being harassed by a spoof caller. A telephone company can trace a spoof call, though the process takes time. With a subpoena from a local law enforcement company, however, the telephone company would be required to provide the information.

About the Author

Mary Cole resides in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and works as an engineer for a major wireless company. She began writing professionally in 1999. Cole holds a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College and attended film school at Columbia University in New York City.