People often need to match an unknown caller’s number to a real person’s name when they get a call or a text from them. However, determining the anonymous caller’s identity can be tricky, if not impossible. So, here are three ways one can figure out the name of the person behind a number and how or why they are reaching out to them.
Deducing if it’s a real number
First and foremost is figuring out if the unknown number is a real one. For instance, hordes of apps and online services give users secondary phone numbers, like Google Voice and TextFree. In addition, some apps add a note at the bottom of the text messages that read, “This message was sent using [app name].” However, not all of them do so. For example, if someone uses a throwaway number or third-party app to contact another person, it will be challenging to determine their identity. But, one can still figure out whether their intentions are shady or not, which is more important.
To determine the motivation of the unknown caller or text sender, first, one has to save that number as “Mystery Caller.” After that, open a text thread with this new contact if one owns an iPhone. In addition, if the user has an option to iMessage instead of text message, then the unknown caller is using a real iCloud account, meaning that the number they are calling from is their real one. However, if the user only gets the option to text message, there might be two reasons. First, the unknown caller might be using an Android number. Second, they might be using a third-party messaging service.
Secondly, users can block their number using *67 and call the unknown caller. If it is a third-party provider, users will hear an audio playing something like, “Hello. Please state your name after the tone, and Google Voice will try to connect you.” But, if they don’t hear this after a ring, it might mean the number is the Mystery Caller’s actual one.
Using reverse-lookup options
Some reverse-lookup options can help determine if the unknown caller uses a phone number backed by a mobile carrier. However, this is dicey due to how widespread these services are and the different terms used to describe mobile numbers, prepaid numbers, etc.
On the other hand, numerous online reverse phone number research sites can help one obtain knowledge about a mystery contact. But, it might require users to pay money. For instance, Whitepages offers a reverse-lookup option—it reveals the name of the place where the number is registered and whether it’s associated with a cell phone. In addition, users can select to know the owner’s name. But, they must pay $9.99 for a single report or $2.50 per month for regular access to reports.
However, all this information only shows up if the number is real. For instance, no location data appears except the area code (which the third-party user can pick) in the case of a Google Voice number. Also, Whitepages identifies this type of number as a “landline.” Therefore, if one gets texts from an unknown number that come back as a landline, one can assume it’s a third-party app.
On another note, some sites, like Intelius, could provide loads of information about an unknown caller for a fee. But, it won’t always show results for third-party apps. Thus, if an unknown caller uses their actual phone number, one can get their data by paying around a dollar for a one-time report, although Intelius can add a service fee of about $3.99.
Using social media or other apps
A great way to determine the identity of an unknown caller for free is by using social media apps like Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, etc. For example, with Snapchat, one can save the anonymous caller’s number and then go to the friend suggestions list in the app. The mystery number will appear at the bottom if that person uses Snap.
However, it is essential to note that on Snapchat, the unknown caller might show as “Mystery Caller,” the name the user saved the unknown number as. But, one can figure out the Mystery Caller’s identity with their username. Likewise, users will see the same thing on Clubhouse and Signal. Nonetheless, users can rest assured that the unknown caller used the number they use for their social apps to contact them.
Likewise, users can use Instagram and TikTok to determine an unknown caller’s identity. But Instagram isn’t as reliable anymore, and TikTok has now started reverse-suggesting contacts, which means the unknown caller might get a suggestion to follow users. In addition, TikTok shows users why each “follow” suggestion appears. For example, “From your contacts” might appear or “You’re in their contacts.” Thus, it might give the searcher’s identity away when searching for the unknown caller’s name.
Lastly, users can use CashApp to determine the identity of the Mystery Caller. For that, type in the phone number in the app. Then, if the unknown caller uses CashApp, the app will display their associated account with their real names (or initials).