Suspicious Phone Number Lookup: How to Check If a Number Is Safe, Spam, or a Scammer
Austin, Texas - ( NewMediaWire ) - December 30, 2020 - When most people see a caller that they don’t recognize, it’s easiest to ignore it in case it is a scammer. However sometimes you may want to look up who was calling to see if it was someone you may know. Using a reverse phone lookup website you can find every detail of a suspicious phone number to see exactly who called you.
Other than checking the number on Google and Facebook, websites such as Intelius or Instant Checkmate provide more in depth cross-referencing of every whitepages and government database to find a number. Moreover you can find the root cause of how your number was leaked so you can stop scam callers and spam from continuing if it has gotten out of control.
But first, this is how to do a scammer phone number lookup with popular free tools most have access to.
Using Google to look up a suspicious phone number
Google is the biggest search engine to check for suspicious numbers, but any other platforms will do. Plugging in the unknown number will put up search results in an easy-to-browse manner.
Legitimate business phone numbers will likely show up on the first result. For numbers that are registered through a traditional phone book or landline system, a phone lookup will usually also reveal the name of the person who owns the number.
Otherwise, if the number is fake or if the caller is a scammer then the results will usually point to websites such as whocallsme.com, 800notes.com and whocalled.us. These sites will have comments from those who have been called by scammers.
Facebook is more than just a social media platform- it’s a good way to check if a strange number is coming from a real person or not.
Looking up a number on Facebook is different from Google as the search will reveal a person that’s associated with the number. The good thing is that the search results will display accounts even beyond the friends list.
By default a person can look up an account with a phone number, even when the listed number is hidden. Searching for it as easy as typing in the number on the search field and hitting enter. If a profile appears then it’s most likely that he or she is the one who’s calling.
Using Public Information
There are several websites that offer publicly available information about a phone number. These platforms work much like search engines in that the user just has to enter the phone number, press enter and the details (if any) will come up.
In some cases the geographical location will also show, regardless of whether it’s a cell phone or landline. If it’s a business phone then the company name will come up as well.
TruthFinder, Instant Checkmate and Intelius are three of the best number lookup sites available on the internet.
Instant Checkmate is billed as a public records search service with millions of searches already conducted since its inception. Here, users can search for long lost friends, acquaintances and family members or check to see if a caller is a scam via the reverse phone lookup tool.
The platform is easy to use- input the details, such as last and first name, location and other pertinent information and the person or businesses’ contact information, police records, photos and social media account will be displayed. Read the full instant checkmate review here.
Intelius’ slogan is ‘Search for Anyone’ and has a comprehensive database to go along with it. The company has been established since 2003 and offers a reliable platform for people to look up phone numbers, background checks and criminal records.
Aside from being a knowledge database Intelius offers anonymity and safety for its users. The paid version allows for detailed reports. There are also phone directory, identity protect, reverse address and reverse phone lookup services for those who need it.
Truthfinder is a reputable public records search site that’s available 24/7. Here, users can do a simple search of a person, a dark web scan, background check and others. After putting in the search parameters, for example an unknown phone number the contact information, background, social media and photos associated will come up.
Truthfinder also has a phone book, lookup and reverse phone lookup that’s sure to provide great results every time. The company also has a mobile app on Google Play for added convenience.
Ways to Identify a Scam Caller
Knowing the signs of a scam caller brings greater awareness and makes it less effective.
The following identification markers may include the unknown number having an area code of 829, 954, 484, 809, 506, 242, 313 and 404.
The scam caller will usually pressure the receiving end to make a decision, dangle a bonus or free product, say something along the lines of, ‘you won a contest’ or that the receiver was chosen for a special promo.
After easing the person to it they will then ask for a credit card number.
How to Check a Suspicious Number for a Scam
1. Write down the unknown caller’s phone number as it appears on the call logs.
2. Open a browser and visit Instant Checkmate
3. Find the search box, then enter the unknown phone number.
4. Press enter and wait for the public search record database to do its job.
5. Check the details when the information comes up.
Common Scams on Phone
Scammers are everywhere- on the internet, on phones, email and even in person. Being aware and knowing their modus operandi is a positive step towards not being scammed out of your money or private information.
Scammers usually operate with a set of rules, and they usually repeat it every time they dial the phone.
‘Are You There?’
It’s very easy to fall for such an innocuous line because people are used to it. Scammers will usually try to bait the receiver into saying, ‘yes’, to which the scammer records the audio and plays it to get authorization on credit card charges, financial transactions and more.
Most major companies now utilize voice automation as part of their customer support, and hackers can get away with it as long as they have the person’s voice.
Furthermore, scammers will try to elicit a response by asking a simple question, such as ‘are you the owner of the house?’ or ‘are you the one who pays the bills?’
The best thing to do in this case is be quiet and hold off on pressing dial pad buttons.
‘You Won a Free Vacation’
The scam preys on human desire to gain something for nothing. Sometimes the prize or what’s being offered is too good to be true, which is the case 99% of the time.
The caller begins with a congratulatory note on winning a ‘free’ vacation to an exotic place or popular tourist destination. They can also say that the receiver has won the lottery or a million dollars. Then, they will tell the receiver that in order to claim it they will need a small fee that’s paid using a credit card. Aside from getting personal details the card will have been compromised too.
The fake call becomes clear the moment the person asks for a payment. In this case, it’s best to end the call and block the number.
Most phishing attempts are done on the internet and via email but it’s not unusual for it to be done over the phone. The caller begins with them saying how the receiver’s computer is hacked and that they can solve it with an antivirus software or a solution in exchange for money.
Would-be victims should know that big software companies such as Apple and Microsoft will never call their customers or ask personal and private information over the phone. That said, sharing credit card and sensitive details should be out of the question. If the caller persists, it’s better to hang up then do a phone number lookup than giving in.
Scammers are willing to exploit others in an attempt to make easy money, and that includes posing as a fake charity. The call will usually start with them claiming money is needed to fund a local fire department, police station or even a cancer fund. Reverse number checks come in handy in this case as the line will have led to a legitimate organization.
IRS calls have become very popular lately due to the fact that most people are apprehensive about taxes and the IRS in general. Tens of thousands of robo-calls are made in hopes of stealing people’s information for their own gains.
It’s not unusual for the IRS to call, but receivers should make sure the number is coming from the organization and not a fake company. Check the phone number calling and cross-reference it with a public search record or by calling the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1800-366-4484.
Loans are tricky by nature and are popular covers by scammers. The caller will initiate an offer for different types of loans, including car loans, business loans, student loans and personal loans, among others. The end goal is to try to glean personal information.
Debt Collector Scam
Similar to the IRS scam and operates on the premise that the receiver will have an outstanding debt. If the call is timely and yet suspicious, make sure to ask for the debt collection agency name and the agent’s name. Afterwards, a callback can be promised. Written letters requesting debt collection agencies to stop must be honored as per the law.
Credit Card CVV Scam
Handing out credit card information over the phone is never a good idea. More importantly, it’s recommended to never, ever provide the 3-digit CVV or security code on the back of the card. This is usually enough to allow scammers to make unauthorized purchases in the cardholder’s behalf. The caller will usually try to convince the receiver to give the card information by posing as a bank employee and providing a fake employee number.
Regardless, financial institutions will never ask for them over the phone no matter what the concern.
A warrant scam can come in different variations- the local police, sheriff, DEA or even the FBI, but the modus operandi remains the same. The caller will use scare tactics, such as saying the receiver missed jury duty, attempted a fraudulent transaction or something similar and will try to acquire personal or payment information.
The key thing to remember is that government agencies are not allowed to ask for money, especially over the phone. Once this happens then it’s most likely a fake call.
Hospital bills are potential disputes, and scams will try to take advantage of this. People often fall for medical-related scams, where the caller will try to obtain payment for ‘unpaid bills’ and may even offer discounts on medical services that are free. Unscrupulous individuals will most likely target the elderly as they have a greater chance of being involved in a medical service recently.
Lottery scams operate similarly to ‘you win’ scam in that they shock the receiver into believing something good has happened to them. The caller will start by saying the receiver won the jackpot on a lottery and they need credit card information to process the winnings. This should send warning bells and alert the receiver that the call is most likely fake. In this case it’s best to hang up and block the number.
Tech Support Scam
Tech-related scams are prevalent these days due to the fact that society relies on devices for just about everything. Cyber security, hackers and security breaches are big news and it’s right to be worried about these things. However, it’s easy to fall for this scam especially for those who aren’t tech-savvy.
The scammer will do a number of things to acquire the receiver’s private information and banking details. Some will try to get the receiver to install malicious code in the form of a virus or malware. In other cases they will sell ‘solutions’, such as a phony software or warranty program for X dollars.
Tech support scams are easy to avoid as they work on certain signs. For tech-related issues the one who’s experiencing them will usually have to call the company to report the problem. Also, the number may appear to be coming from official lines but it only appears to be so.
Do not download remote access software such as LogMeIn, GoToMyPC, TeamViewer and others as they will attempt to access the computer and install spyware or acquire personal data.
Getting Protection From Unknown Callers and Scammers
Phone scams operate mostly on several fronts, some of which are easy to identify.
Remember, it’s not a good idea to provide sensitive, private and financial information, including credit card number, date of birth, social security number, physical address and so on over the phone. If the caller is persistently asking for them then it’s a clear sign of a scam.
Call receivers can turn things around and ask for more information. Once it’s collected, ask for them to call back and do some research to find out if the unknown number is a legitimate business or not. If the caller is hesitant then they’re most likely fake.
Visit a public records search platform as soon as you can and try to get more information from the phone number. Try Instant Checkmate, Intelius or TruthFinder and see if there are details that can prove to be helpful. Receivers should not be pressured into making hasty decisions. It’s recommended to check all credit card statements and bank status after receiving a call from an unknown number.
Scams will also ask the receiver to reveal financial details such as bank account number, credit card number and the like. They will try to get money by wire transfer or prepaid card to strange accounts. In the event that a tech support call comes up, do not install any software or subscribe over the phone.
Having an ‘unknown number’ come up doesn’t have to be a frightening experience. It’s best to have a clear head and calm down before accepting the call. Do not provide any personal information and take control of the call by promising to follow-up. Then, look up the number and see if they’re legitimate or not.