A mate pulled a quality prank on me the other day by sending me a SMS via a Spoofed number. He's bought a SMS gateway and can set the message ID/phone number to be 'God' (or whatever he wants(letters or numbers)). I wanted to see if i could determine the original SMS gateway that it came from, I vaguely remember this used to be possible with Nokia phones several years ago.

I found this:

How to get the SMSC set in the iPhone? In the iPhone keypad and type *#5005*7672# Press Call Which told me my network carrier SMSC (which was not helpful)

and this:

*#5005*78283# This dumps a baseband log in /Library/Logs/Baseband/

Which I couldn't find the dump from (sites suggest looking in App-data folders on Windows machines when iTunes syncs the info.

I figure if I know the SMSC/SMS Gateway number its come from I can tell if its been sent via a legit carrier or sent via a dodgy 3rd party one.

Are there any other ways (that don't involve requesting the telco/ISP) to trace or find information about a message that you've received on your phone? Specifically I'm using an iPhone but I have access to a wide range of other phones.

1 Answer 1


I'm sorry for the long answer, but I felt it's needed here. Plus, you're not the regular OP looking for a quickie. I've looked into this when we studied GSM in school. The are several methods to find out the SMSC from your phone; however, that's completely different from what you're looking for.

Let's start with how an SMS is sent (very basic description): The sender sends a message sending request to his serving support node. This request contains the message itself, the destination, and the SMSC (the sender's SMSC). The request is then forwarded to the service centre of the SMSC and stored there.

When the message needs to be delivered (usually, immediately after storage in the SMSC), the SMCS' gateway looks up the recipient's information to find the correct route to their MSC/SGSN. The message is sent there, and then forwarded to the actual recipient.

When the message reaches the actual recipient, the only trace-aiding information is the source of the message as it appears to the recipient (effectively, some sort of identifier/address leading to a gateway in the recipient’s network). The races will lead you to your provider, from there on you need to request information from them.

Remember when I said that what you're trying to find is not what you actually need? Well, that's because what you're trying to find is your SMSC which is configured in your SIM card from your provider. This SMSC is used when you are sending a message, but not when you're receiving a message. Even if you find this address/number (not really difficult), there's nothing you can do with it; it's the address/number of the SMSC of your provider.

Bottom line is: To trace a spoofed message, you need to see the logs of your provider's gateway which will lead you to the sender's SMS gateway which will lead you to the sender's SMSC which will lead you to the sender which, unfortunately, will not be the actual sender (your friend) but spoofing service. Then, and only then, you'll be able to be sure that this message was actually sent by a spoofing service.

If you're looking to dive deeper into this, please have a look at the SMS protocol specification 3GPP TS 23.040

  • Dang, the problem is its on the company phone and then i'd have to go through the company account stuff which i'm not really allowed to do. Hence the desire to do it 'off the phone'. Thanks for the answer though, I don't care about length, just quality :)
    – NULLZ
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 1:06
  • @Adi thanks for great explanation. Could you explain tracking of the call from spoofed number in a similar technical way too please?
    – Mato
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 21:35

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