Whether we’re talking about your office business line or your personal cell phone, telemarketers are relentless. Thankfully, technology offers us solutions to identify, block, and prevent unwanted phone calls. Keep reading to learn how to do reverse phone number lookups and how to block calls below.
Maybe you answer all the calls for your business, and if you do, you need a way to check the phone calls origin. When you put your business number online, you can expect telemarketers to call. You can expect scam calls and everything in between. You need to learn how to report threats and how to block phone numbers from calling you.
To trace the origin of the phone number you will want to use a reverse phone number lookup. There are many out there and this article will cover the best of the best. Use the menu below to jump to a specific section.
Secure Telephone Usage Topics
- 800notes Reverse Phone Lookup
- Do Not Call Lists
- Filing a Complaint
- Block Calls on a Comcast Landline
- Block Calls on a SmartPhone
- TrueCaller Reverse Phone Lookup
If you are looking for the most modern solution for blocking calls on your smartphone, jump to section 5 and click the link to jump to the download page on the TrueCaller website.
800 Notes Reverse Phone Number Lookup for Secure Telephone Usage
This free reverse phone number lookup database allows you to look up a number and see what the users of this website have to say about it. If you get a scam call you can boost your Internet karma by providing a listing for that number.
Maybe, due to your egalitarian effort, someone will avoid getting scammed. This works by typing in a number and then filling in the fields to create a listing for that number. You will need to enter your name, your comment, the calling company and the call type. The call type options are:
- Debt Collector
- Event Reminder
- Fax Machine
- Non-profit Organization
- Political Call
- Prank Call
As an example, we got a call here at the office from 1(662) 883-7649 and the caller id said Scooba. When I entered the number into 800notes.com I saw there was a chain of comments entered by the community. The listings were extensive and spanned 6 pages.
If you like this free service, you can help id scams and other undesirable calls by creating a profile and adding all your annoying calls. In your profile, you can create a screen name, an avatar image, and an about listing. Your profile will also have a listing for how long you have been a member.
When you have a profile you will be able to view a list of all your posts, and view replies to your posts. Having a profile will only be beneficial if you plan on contributing regularly, otherwise it seems superfluous, kind of like this simile.
Forums on 800Notes
As of now there are five forums to engage in discussions. They are:
- Debt Collection Calls
- Telemarketing Calls
- Phishing and Scam Calls
- Wall of Shame (Busted Fakers)
- Everything Else
News on 800Notes
This section has a list of relevant news regarding 800Notes and the telecommunications industry. If you need news about landlines and phone calls, this is a good place to go.
As an example, back in February of 2013, 800Notes was under Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) which puts a big burden on the servers hosting 800Notes and slows down user experience (UX). When I read this, I thought to myself “Of course this website is the target of attacks because a lot of the crime and scam calls originate from criminals and criminal organizations.”
Articles and Videos on 800Notes
Additionally, if you are interested in this field, you should check out their articles and videos which can be informative and humorous. Since it’s a public forum, it has its racism and religious intolerance, but you will have to look past that and focus on the benefit this service provides.
What Are Do Not Call Lists?
The national do-not-call registry was set up in 2003 under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Adding your number to the national do-not-call registry will reduce the level of undesirable calls. However, it won’t stop all of them due to the following exceptions:
- Calls with prior written permission or from a business you have a relationship with
- Calls which aren’t commercial and not advertising anything
- Calls from tax-exempt non-profit organizations
Additionally, the Direct Marketing Association has a list of State level do-not-call lists which you can add your number to as well. Some of these states simply have a link to the Federal list but some have their own.
The problem here is that the criminals calling you don’t care about the do not call list so you’ll have to take additional steps to protect your telephone security. You can file a complaint if your listing is violated, but that won’t prevent others from calling you.
File a Complaint
If you are the victim of phone crime or if you want to report attempts at phone crime you have a number of options:
- For reporting pre-recorded messages, advertising texts, abandoned calls, or calls from spoofed numbers – File a Complaint with the FCC
- For calls regarding financial products and services such as debt collectors, loan companies, credit report companies – File a Complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau
- For extortion, impersonations of a federal agent, scam calls – File a Complaint with the Department of Justice – Office of Diversion Control
- For telemarketers violating Do-Not-Call List, unwanted texts, and robocalls – File a Complaint with the FTC Complaint Assistant
- To report Online Scams – File a Complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center
- To report identity theft, tax fraud, mail fraud, telemarketing fraud, or computer-based fraud – File a Complaint with the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force
Granted that all of these different ways to report fraud don’t help you much after you have become a victim, so the best solution is to learn about common examples of fraud and how they were perpetrated. That way you can avoid these problems in the first place.
Help Others and Raise Your Awareness
If you want to help others that may be naive or haven’t educated themselves about potential risks you can report phone calls, texts, and online threats as you identify them to increase the chances that they will be shut down.
The problem here is that the authorities can shut down all the criminals because there are so many of them. The solution is for the public to become more tech savvy so there aren’t as many easy targets out there. As an example, you may want to buff up on email security concepts by reading our article.
Common Phone Scams To Be Aware Of
There are common phone scams that you should be aware of:
- Someone calls you and hangs up right away. They want you to call the number and stay on the line because you will be charged per minute or worse per call.
- A call from a charity asking for your credit card number over the phone. This is a huge red flag and you shouldn’t provide your financial info to someone that calls you. Seriously, never make donations over the phone.
- A call that alerts you that your credit card has been suspended, asking you to call a toll-free number. Once again, never give financial info over the phone unless you began the call and verified that the number you called is legitimate.
- Calls to work at home that require a “small investment”. This is once again the red flag of paying with no guarantee of return. Most likely, the “small investment” is the amount you get scammed out of. This can take the form of sending money via Westen Union.
- Congrats, YOU WON a [Fill in the Blank]. No, you didn’t, they just want your info so they can scam you. No one is in the business of handing out prizes with no strings attached, trust me, NO-ONE.
Other Telephone Red Flags You Shouldn’t Trust
- Act now or the offer will expire
- You can’t afford to miss out
- You must send money
- You don’t need to check out the company with anyone
- You don’t need references or written information
Questions to Ask
Ask these questions and if you don’t get an answer, that means they are scamming you.
- Person’s name
- Geographic location
- Company name and address
- Telephone number
- Percentage of commission on donation
- Any other details you can think of. Remember, they want your information and are trained not to provide information about them or their organization.
Blocking Calls on Your Landline Comcast Account
If you search a number in a reverse number lookup and find it is a scam, or a someone keeps calling you from the same number, you can block it. If you have a landline, you will need to reach out to your provider for instructions on how to do that. We have Comcast Business here, so I will show you the steps necessary.
- Log in to Comcast business
- Select Manage Phone
- Select Privacy
- Click On next to Selective Call Rejection
- Select Call Rejection Rules
- Click Edit
- Add Phone Numbers then Save
Now the numbers you have added won’t be able to call you. In this menu you can also choose to block anonymous calls, that is, ones without caller id or ones that use *67 to omit caller id data from the call. Just click the On button next to Anonymous Call Rejection.
Blocking Calls on Your SmartPhone
There are a number of ways to block calls on your smartphone. Many people I talk to simply say, “I don’t answer numbers I don’t recognize, and that is a good practice.” Unless you are looking for a job and waiting on that phone call, then you’ll answer just about anything.
Block Calls on Android
When you are in your call log, select a number, then hit the 3-dot menu icon, and select add to reject list. This process may not work for you, and it didn’t work for my Samsung S4mini. Please let us know in the comments if it didn’t work for you phone and let us know the model you have.
TrueCaller for SmartPhone Call Blocking
Developed by a private company in Stockholm, Sweden and launched on Android and Apple in Sept 2009 this application had an impressive 100 million users worldwide in 2014. This smartphone application offers free call blocking with just two touches. This app works for:
- Windows Phone
- BlackBerry and BlackBerry 10
As soon as you get a call from a number you don’t want to call you again, you simply open the app, select the number from the call log, and select block. This process is completely reversible and intuitively designed.
TrueCaller Reverse Phone Lookup for Secure Telephone Usage
Just like the 800Notes site, TrueCaller has a reverse number lookup. As an example, I will use the same number as I did for 800Notes. It seems to me that TrueCaller has a more modern user interface (UI).
When I typed 1 (662) 883-7649 into their search bar, I quickly got the country of call origin, the fact that 269 people reported this as spam and an option to SMS the info. Additionally, TrueCaller has partnered with Yelp and uses the Yelp API to identify businesses who call smartphones.
True Caller Dialer for SmartPhones
True Caller’s dialer app automatically adds names and photos next to your unknown numbers. This automatically gives you additional information for numbers you are calling or phone calls you are receiving.
I hope that you now feel more in control of your smartphone and your landline. Please leave a comment if you have anything to add or any feedback.