These days, individuals and businesses heavily rely on texting and calling mediums to communicate with each other. An actual phone number looks and feels valid; most importantly, it belongs to a person or an organization.

Sometimes, in between, an intruder comes as an unwelcomed guest to see private details from cash. These scammers or spammers tend to make fake calls to harm others. They are rising in numbers recently due to how easily a fake number can be generated.

Now, imagine yourself being their next target. What will you do? With that, don’t fret at all. In this article, I’ll be providing you tips and tricks related to how to know if a phone number is fake. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Why do people use fake phone numbers?

Why do people use fake phone numbers

Mostly, people use fake phone numbers because they want to hide their identity or because they don’t want to be contacted at all. Otherwise, they will contact the other person with their actual phone number.

9 out of 10 times, if anyone uses a fake phone number, the intention behind calling is incorrect. Scammers or spammers make use of spoofing technology so that they can turn their caller ID into a fake number. 

A local fake number is used to lure the recipient into answering the phone. Some of them even use it for illegal purposes like conducting a crime or harassing or bullying someone. 

With the invention of modern technologies, it has become easy for anyone to spoof their phone numbers through the help of online services. This way, scammers can conduct illegal activities freely because of their anonymity.

Why should you check if a phone number is real or fake?

For any scammer or harasser to not put any harm to you, you must check every incoming call to see whether it is accurate or fake. People use fake numbers to impersonate a different person, business, or organization. 

You must verify phone numbers so that you don’t fall into their honey trap, which they do for stealing sensitive information or money. Telemarketing and robocalls also use phone numbers; hence, you must identify the phone number before answering the call. 

Fake numbers are used primarily for threatening, intimidating, or harassing the opposing party. That’s why recognizing them can prevent you from getting involved with their malicious activities. 

Verifying phone numbers can also help scan fraudulent activities, contact the right person, and avoid phishing attacks.

How to know if a phone number is fake?

Generally, an unusual number, tricky call ID information, and weird area or country codes signal a fake phone number. However, distinguishing a fake phone number isn’t easy and can be identified by following some methods.

Simply call the number

It might sound intimidating, but it is one of the ways to figure out whether a phone number is actual or not. You can ring a call to that phone number, and if it gets connected to voicemail or an automated message triggers, it is potentially a sign of a fake phone number.

Use the help of search engines like Google

In some instances, looking for information related to the phone number in search engines like Google can be handy. Someone may have posted negative reviews or reports associated with that phone number.

Number searching services

There are many phone number-searching services like Whitepages, Zlookup, and ThatThem, by which you can get detailed information about a specific phone number. Information like the caller’s name, location, etc. It can be accessed with such phone lookup services or a phone validator.

Truecaller is another trendy smartphone application by which you can identify a phone number or figure out who is calling. It also includes caller identification, call recording, flash messaging, etc. With it, you can even block spam calls or texts. This app is available for both Android and iPhone users. 

Lastly, an important tip: don’t provide your personal information to the person calling from an unfamiliar or unknown number.

Common signs of a fake phone number

Common signs of a fake phone number

Since there are many ways to create a fake number, it is tough to recognize them. But I will make the job easy for you.

  • Strange area code: If you see an unusual or the area code does not match the location, don’t pick up the call. The obvious sign of a fake number is when the area code does not match the person’s location or the one that begins with a prefix like 555.
  • Phone number is short or long: Real phone numbers usually have a fixed number of digits, and you don’t see too many fluctuations. The person trying to contact you with a phone number that is too short or too long is a clear sign of a fake number.
  • Same number patterns: Some phone numbers have the same or repetitive number patterns, which you may have seen in movies or TV shows. For instance, phone numbers like 555-555-5555 and 0123-456-7890 are uncommon; hence, they can’t be real numbers.
  • If it’s a toll-free number: Surprisingly, some individuals or businesses take advantage of toll-free numbers due to the easy changing of callers’ locations and tracking difficulties. This is why scammers or harassers frequently use it. 
  • Caller ID shows a weird name: Rather than showing the actual name of the person or an organization, some specific fake caller ID apps generate unusual names when you try to contact them.
  • No specific information online: Do a thing, try to search for the phone number using any number searching service like Truecaller. The chances of being fake are high if you can’t find any information about that phone number.

Challenges in Tracing a Phone Number that is Fake

Challenges in Tracing a Phone Number that is Fake

Tracing a fake phone number is hard, but what obstacles will you face? Let’s uncover that:

Leveraging virtual private numbers

Tracing a fake number is becoming seriously challenging because of modern technologies like virtual phone number services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications. With the help of these services, temporary or unpredictable phone numbers can be created in minutes.

Hence, the natural person associated with that phone number can be hard to break down.

Frequent changes in phone numbers

Virtual phone numbers allow users to get a new phone number and switch between multiple numbers. Scammers take advantage of this and constantly change their targets. 

Since they switch phone numbers regularly to approach another person, finding any information about them can be a hectic task.

Providing wrong information

Any person who is using fake phone numbers tries to be anonymous all the time. So, they fill in all the wrong personal information when registering for virtual numbers. It can be a name, email address, or other details.

Consequently, it hampers the investigation process and makes it even more challenging to crack regarding who is behind it.

Technical hurdles

The calling person can make the job even more difficult for the concerned authorities by using proxy servers or by disarranging their caller ID, leaving no signs of footprints behind. 

To sophisticate the finding efforts, scammers can use VPNs or temporary phone numbers to hide the IP address and the location.

Cross-Jurisdictional challenges

If the caller lives in a different country, then in such cases, tracing fake numbers can be complicated. It is because of different legal frameworks, privacy laws, and jurisdiction quarrels between the two countries. This can lengthen the investigation process further.

Poor cooperation from service providers

User privacy is the priority for virtual service providers; therefore, they don’t provide detailed information regarding a specific person. A formal legal paper is needed for that, which is time-consuming.

Can you track a phone number for free?

Yes, you obviously can track a phone number for free. There are several phone number validation tools like phone validator.com, Zlookup, TextMagic, etc., by which you can check the names associated with a phone number.

The free phone verification tool is limited in features and is not that much dependable. Also, the information it provides can be outdated or inaccurate.

Instead of relying on a verification tool, you can download the Truecaller app on Android and iPhones. It is one of the reputed apps for reverse number lookup and identifying robocalls, scammers, and intruders. 

Ways to track a fake number

Ways to track a fake number

As you know, tracking a fake number now requires much hard work and is filled with challenges of various sorts. Despite that, you can try out a few methods which I’ll be suggesting to you here:

  • Rely on reverse phone lookup services: First and foremost, use the reverse phone lookup services. Many such services are available on the market, like BeenVerified, PeopleLooker, InfoTracer, and many more.
  • Block the number: One of the best ways to stop letting a person track you is to block the respective phone number. This way, tracking a fake number is impossible, but it prevents you from letting these kinds of incidents come to your door. 
  • Get in touch with your phone carrier: You can also mention the fake number who called you to your phone carrier. The responsible party can perform further inquiries or assist you in dealing with such circumstances.
  • Take the help of message or call-tracking apps: Some specific message or call-tracking apps are out there, and you can get help from them. These are CallRail, CallFire, Aircall, CallSource, etc., from which you may know where the calls or messages are coming.
  • Report to local authorities: If the caller is threatening or giving you mental torture, then you can directly report the specific phone number to the local authorities. They might then proceed with the case further on.
  • Take the help of true professionals: If the situation continues, you need to request help from the professionals. An investigator or a cybersecurity professional is well known to deal with such situations so that you have peace of mind.

Conclusion

And that’s a wrap! In this article, I’ve tried to inform you how to know if a phone number is fake. I hope this helps you.

In this era of technology, communication processes have revolutionized a lot. At the same time, it gave birth to spammers and scammers who make fake calls to steal personal information and earn some cash. 

They use specific softwares to call or send messages from nearly real-looking numbers. You can try the tips mentioned above and tricks to find the differences or to check the real nature of the call. 

FAQs

How can I check if a phone number is real?

You can check whether a phone number is actual or not by applying methods like:

  • Calling the number
  • Taking the help of reverse phone lookup services
  • Using number-searching tools

How do you know if a number is real?

If a phone number is real, it will have the following attributes:

  • The phone number will have a real name or a caller ID instead of the unusual one.
  • The number’s area code will be legitimate and assigned to an actual address. 
  • If the phone number has a valid name and address in the reverse phone lookup services.
  • If the phone number appears on the search engines with positive reviews.

How can I check if a mobile number is valid?

If the mobile number is valid, it will appear in the reverse phone lookup services and have a valid name and an actual address. The respective mobile number will also include a correct format and syntax.

How can I verify a phone number?

Verifying a phone number includes the following processes:

  • Make use of the phone number verification services
  • Check the format of the phone number
  • Either send a text or ring a call
  • Contact the phone carrier
  • Utilize a reverse phone lookup service
Sandipan Khadka is an Associate Content Writer at Dialaxy with the knack of writing content that is appealing for the readers. He has written broadly in the area of VoIP and call center solutions.