I know that Trapcall allows mobile telephone users to forward their calls to a toll free number, which then forwards them back to the user's telephone, allowing them to see the caller ID. However, this A) is only available thru Trapcall for mobile phones and B) according to this question, it doesn't always work for VOIP callers.

I have been repeatedly harassed by a scammer calling my land-line (15+ calls per day). Each call is placed thru a new spoofed phone number. Because I run a home business, I need to be able to answer calls from numbers that I don't know, and thus I cannot ignore calls from numbers that aren't in my contacts. Additionally, since a new number is used each time, blocking the numbers that the scammer calls me from is ineffective.

Is there any way to get the true caller's phone number? If I were to file a John Doe lawsuit against him, would there be a way to get his phone number from subpoenaed calling records? Or are spoofing services sophisticated enough that all of the records would only show me being called from the spoofed numbers?

  • This exact thing has blown up in the media recently the FCC is proposing a ban on letting telecoms allow users to set their own caller id. Until this goes through the only way you could get any actual information would be to file a suit and subpoena all the telecoms between you and the original caller. – Chad Baxter Jun 26 '17 at 3:24

When a call is placed into the PSTN, three different numbers are associated with it.

  1. The standard caller ID: this is analogous to reply-to: in an email. This can be anything the user desires, and the name is matched from an external database.
  2. Calling ANI: This is the phone originating the call, it typically has to be a number on the caller's account.
  3. Charge ANI: This is the number that will be charged for the call, or whose carrier will be reimbursed for a toll-free call. This number is always a number on the caller's account. (except in cases where it is empty, like skype free calls in the past)

Consider the case of an executive making a call without assistance.

Caller ID: +1 (123) 555-3102 - Secretary's number, who should handle return calls.

Calling ANI: +1 (123) 555-3112 - Executive's direct number, the number making the call.

Charge ANI: +1 (123) 555-3000 - Company's main call in number, the account that will be charged for the call.

However, only the Caller ID is sent to the end user, unless the call is toll-free, or the callee subscribes to ANI from their provider.

It is also worth noting that a user can dial a feature code to have the call 'traced', and diagnostic information retained, but a court order is required to access this information (and possibly ditermine the true source.) However the customer is charged for the trace even if no investigation is made by the authorities.


I'm unsurprised in the very lest that the phone carrier would charge the end user for the trace and capitalize upon the situation rather than resolve it since the carrier is the medium through which the spoof calls are being made. A subrogation claim against the carrier named in the original plaintiff's petition as well would likely relieve the end user and phone customer of any damages in the manner of being charged by a carrier to investigate the illegal use of their own services. It is not uncommon for carriers to merely pass such charges along to unwitting consumers.

The same is true of banks. If your ATM is misused and there is surveillance evidence capable of tracking the suspect, banks require and subpoena and will charge the customer for the time spent to locate the activity on the system and provide a copy for court purposes. That's capitalism for you.

  • Welcome on the site! I think, the question is more about technical options, not from the legal ones. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Aug 4 '19 at 18:47

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