If you missed a landline call, you may be able to find out who called if you have caller ID and a phone that stores a log of recent calls. Check the log and you may be able to see the phone number that called. You may also see an individual or company name associated with the number.
If only a phone number is displayed and no name, you may be able to find the owner of the number by doing a reverse phone number search online. In many cases, you can type in a phone number and find out who it is. Unfortunately, caller ID technology allows scammers to make it look like a different number has called you, so you can't always rely on the validity of caller ID information.
If you don't have caller ID service on your landline, you may still be able to find out the number that last called you using the *69 feature. Lift the phone receiver and wait for a dial tone, then press the keys for *69. You will receive instructions over the phone about what to do next, or you may receive a message saying the service is not available or that the number is unavailable. In some states such as California, your phone will automatically start dialing the last number that called you when you use *69.
You may only be given the number that called you and not the name associated with it when you use *69. Once you have the number, you may be able to do a free phone number lookup at no charge online. Check your service provider terms of agreement to find out if you will be charged each time you use *69.
Best Reverse Phone Lookup for Free
Doing a reverse phone number search from a website often requires you to pay a fee. Before paying, you can first try searching using general search apps like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. Phone numbers that have been linked to public social media accounts will often show up. This method works best when the caller was a business rather than a private individual.
You may be able to find out a limited amount of information on a reverse phone site like WhitePages.com for free, though you may be asked to sign up for a paid account to find out details about who called your phone. However, cell phone numbers and many other numbers aren't included in the phone directories these sites use, so you still may end up unable to identify your last caller.
Problems with Spoofed Caller IDs
Many people with landlines have had the experience of checking caller ID when a call comes in and seeing what appears to be a neighbor's number, only to find a scammer on the other end when they answer the call. Some people have even seen their own phone number displayed by caller ID for an incoming call. This is because scammers are able to set up robocalls that display whatever they want for caller ID.
There's not much you can do to find out the real phone number that's calling when the caller ID information is phony. If you have an answering machine you can screen calls and wait until you find out who's calling before answering. People who become victims of scammers when their numbers are used as fake caller often end up getting dozens or even hundreds of calls from irate phone owners who want to know why they're calling.
Don’t Always Trust Caller ID
To safeguard your personal information, remember that caller ID is not 100 percent reliable and that the person you're talking to may not be who caller ID says they are. You shouldn't have to give out your Social Security number or a credit card number to an unsolicited caller. When in doubt, hang up and call back using a publicly published number.