How to Track Private Calls

By Lawrence Harris

Tracking a private phone call to its source to discover the phone number and address of the person who called can be done easily enough by the phone company, and it's pretty easy for the police to get the information. But getting either one of them to share that information with you is going to be difficult. However, there are a few little tricks and techniques you can employ to try to get that information yourself, and all it will cost is a bit of time and money.

Step 1

Write down the time of day and the topics of conversations of every call, especially if you're dealing with nuisance or prank calls. This will help to identify the proper phone numbers once you can review a phone bill or trace log, and is important evidence if you press criminal charges.

Step 2

Use the "Call Return" function of your phone if it hasn't received another call since the target call was answered. Most phone systems use "*69" to accomplish this. Some phone systems will announce the phone number and the time of the last call, then will give you the option of calling the number back. Other systems just call the number back. In either case, it's worth a try, although unlisted numbers and calls made using a blocked caller ID are unlikely to be identified.

Step 3

Call your phone company and speak to a person in charge of nuisance calls. Ask him to start a trace log on your phone. If you can't discover the subject phone number on your own, you can get the police involved later as the need arises. Meanwhile, you'll have evidence for them to review waiting for them at the phone company.

Step 4

If you manage to get the phone number from your caller ID and circumstances allow, call the party back. If you're tracking a prank call, tell the person to stop or you'll file charges. If it's a business that answers, ask the attendant for the "formal name" of the business, its physical address, and any other information she'll give you.

Step 5

Perform a search-engine query for the phone number using Google or another service.

Step 6

If you can't get the phone number, you'll have to get the police involved. In smaller jurisdictions, the police may pay your prank caller a visit and let him know his identity is known to them and he needs to stop calling. This usually is all it takes to end your problem.

Tips & Warnings

  • Review your monthly phone bill online or once it comes in the mail. Check it against your calling log. Sometimes even unlisted and private numbers show up on the phone bill.
  • Don't visit the residence of a prank caller unless it's a person well known to you and you think the calls were just a joke that went too far. Usually this is a job better left to the police.