How to Trace a Blocked Phone Call

By Barb Nefer

Caller ID is a handy way to track the people who call you, especially if you are getting harassing or threatening calls. Some callers block or disguise their information so the ID shows up as "blocked " or "private" or lists an incorrect phone number. You can enlist the telephone company's help to trace blocked calls if you have a valid reason. The information is turned over to law enforcement so the problem caller can be stopped.

Step 1

Track the blocked phone calls that you wish to trace, including the time and type of call. The phone company will want a valid reason for tracing the calls. Typical reasons include the times of the calls if they are coming very late or early, their frequency and whether they are obscene or threatening. The Consumer Fraud Reporting website states that silent calls, heavy breathing and even repeated fax tone calls can be considered harassing if they are repetitive.

Step 2

Call the telephone company and ask it to install a trap on your phone line, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse website advises. Explain the problem and provide your phone log as evidence of the need to trace the blocked calls. The trap captures the caller's information even if the number is blocked and the call is long distance. It does not record the content of the calls.

Step 3

Create a list of the blocked calls that need to be traced. Include the date and time of all the calls. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse explains that this allows the phone company to match your records with the calls that need to be traced. It provides the resulting information directly to the police department. The trap usually remains on your line for two weeks.

Step 4

Talk to the police department once it has received the information on the traced calls. The officers will help you decide on a course of action. They may be able to stop the blocked calls by contacting the originator. Otherwise you may need to take legal action.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may be able to use a service called Call Trace if the blocked calls are coming from within your local service area. Once you get the service installed with your phone company, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse explains that you dial *57 after each blocked call. The originator's identifying information goes to the phone company, which forwards it to the police. A trap can be installed if Call Trace does not work because the problem calls are coming from outside the local area.
  • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse warns that tracing blocked calls does not always stop harassment. Many problem calls use multiple phone lines in different locations, Internet services or pay-as-you-go cell phones. You may need to change your number to stop the issue.