Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID Spoofing and How to Trace an Unknown Number with Reverse Phone Lookup

Caller ID spoofing is one way scammers are able to impersonate trusted entities to get individuals to release sensitive information or money over the phone. However, many people receive other kinds of spam calls from unknown numbers every day.

Fortunately, with the right tech tools and awareness, you can protect yourself from fraudsters and oftentimes find out who is behind those unknown numbers you’ve been receiving. Here is everything you need to know about caller ID spoofing and how to trace an unknown number.

What is Caller ID Spoofing?

Caller ID spoofing is when the information transmitted to the caller ID display on your phone is incorrect or faked. This means that you cannot always trust caller ID information. It may not always be the real number of the caller. 

There are certain software or services that allow users to change the caller ID information associated with their phone calls. While there are legitimate reasons for using caller ID spoofing, it is unfortunately also used for malicious reasons. For this reason, many regulatory measures and legal consequences have been implemented to protect consumers from fraudsters and scams.

Uses of Caller ID Spoofing

Legitimate Caller ID Spoofing

There are some legitimate reasons why an individual or organization might want to change caller ID information. For example, individuals may use caller ID spoofing services to protect their privacy. Or a doctor might want to call a patient from their personal phone but display the clinic’s number instead to maintain confidentiality. And With the rise of remote work, employees may need to make calls from personal devices but display the company’s number for professionalism and consistency.

Many businesses use caller ID spoofing to ensure that when they make outgoing calls, the displayed number is consistent and recognizable to their customers or clients. For example, a call center may display a single toll-free number for all outgoing calls, regardless of the individual agent making the call. Businesses might also want to display local numbers when making calls to enhance trust and increase the chances that the call will be answered.

Malicious Caller ID Spoofing

Unfortunately, though, scammers can use caller ID spoofing for similar reasons. For example, they can display local or toll-free numbers to establish trust with the recipient. Sometimes, this might go as far as impersonating the numbers of legitimate companies and organizations such as government agencies, banks, or tech support services, in order to deceive individuals into providing sensitive information or money.

Individuals might also find that a target of harassment or abuse has blocked or stopped answering their calls. To get around this, they might use caller ID spoofing to harass or threaten others anonymously, making it difficult for authorities to trace the origin of the calls.

While there are legitimate uses for caller ID spoofing, it is important to be aware of its potential for misuse and to exercise caution when receiving calls from unknown numbers, even if the displayed caller ID appears legitimate. Caller ID spoofing is fairly easy and increasingly common, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and regain trust in your caller ID display.

How to Protect Yourself Against Caller ID Spoofing

Protecting yourself against caller ID spoofing requires a combination of awareness, caution, and utilization of available resources. Here are some steps you can take to minimize your risk:

Verify Caller Identity

If you receive a call from an unknown number or a number that seems suspicious, do not provide any personal information until you have verified the caller’s identity through other means. You can ask for additional information to confirm their legitimacy.

Don’t Trust Caller ID Alone

Remember that caller ID information can be spoofed, so don’t solely rely on the displayed number to determine the authenticity of a call. Even if the number appears to be from a familiar entity, proceed with caution.

Be Skeptical of Unsolicited Calls

Treat unsolicited calls with skepticism, especially if they request sensitive information or demand immediate action. Legitimate organizations typically do not ask for personal information or payment details over the phone without prior arrangement.

Use Call Blocking and Filtering Services

Many phone service providers offer call blocking and filtering services that can help identify and block known spam or scam calls. Consider enabling these features to reduce the likelihood of receiving spoofed calls.

Install Call Screening Apps

Installing reputable call screening apps on your smartphone can help identify and block potential spam or scam calls. These apps often use databases of known scam numbers and employ algorithms to detect suspicious patterns.

Report Suspicious Calls

Report any suspicious or fraudulent calls to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States or similar regulatory agencies in other countries. Reporting such calls helps authorities track down and take action against perpetrators.

Educate Yourself and Others

Stay informed about common phone scams and tactics used by fraudsters. Share this information with friends, family, and vulnerable populations, such as elderly individuals, who may be more susceptible to falling victim to scams.

By staying vigilant, being cautious about sharing personal information over the phone and utilizing available resources to identify and block suspicious calls, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to caller ID spoofing and other phone-related scams. 

How to Use Reverse Phone Lookup to Trace an Unknown Number

If you receive a call from an unfamiliar number and want to know who it is, you can use a reverse phone lookup service. Reverse phone lookup is a criss-cross directory tool that can identify the people behind text messages, spam phone calls, unknown numbers, business entities, and telemarketers. A detailed reverse phone search report provides you with the name and address of the person behind a cell phone or landline number.

All it takes is the 10-digit phone number. While not all information is available for all numbers, reverse phone lookup results typically include a complete name and any known aliases, present address along with a three-year address history including reported dates, recent phone numbers with their line type (wireless or landline), age, and relatives’ information including their age and email address (if available). When available, you can also get the time zone and area code information for the location where the phone number originated.

Phone data is verified against public records, phone books, vital records, real estate records, magazine subscriptions, voter registration, and other proprietary sources. It only costs a couple of dollars to search a phone number, and you don’t have to pay for a subscription, membership, or any other fees.

If you look at your phone and don’t recognize the number that called, reverse phone lookup can provide you with the correct caller information.


Although technology has created a number of opportunities for scammers to take advantage of consumers, it has also provided us with ways to protect ourselves. There is no shortage of information online. Why not use it to verify that people are who they say they are? 

Remember that caller ID spoofing is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, it is simply used to protect a caller’s privacy. Other times, however, it is important to consider the kind of information we provide over the phone. Being cautious is your first step against protecting yourself from imposters. And, of course, you can always just let that unknown number go to voicemail and conduct a reverse lookup later, just to be sure. Try it today!