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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?

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  • 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. Jun 26, 2017 at 3:24

2 Answers 2

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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) 555-0102 - Secretary's number, who should handle return calls.

Calling ANI: +1 (123) 555-0112 - Executive's direct number, the number making the call.

Charge ANI: +1 (123) 555-0130 - 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.

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There are ways to trace incoming calls to see who is calling, even when they spoof the caller ID.

  1. Use Whitepages website for a reverse phone number.
  2. Yellowpages can also work, if you suspect a business phone number calling you.
  3. Spydialer can tell you what type of connection was used Cell phone / Landline, and you can look up their name and listen to voicemail of the caller, be warned however as VOIP calls can be hidden through a VPN on a computer / laptop machine.
  4. Most calls I have received come from India, and I know this from spydialer after listening to their voicemail if they don't forward to voicemail first. For that specific reason I use Find and Trace, make sure you use spydialer to find the type of phone first, as it will help you trace the call more accurately, then use Find and Trace.
  5. If none of these work, report the phone number to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC). And hope they will take action, usually they can't, as from what I have learned is that most scammers have a way of paying off authorities from being arrested.

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