The Internet has made it easier than ever to collect contact information, whether you’re in need of a phone number or an email address. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of scammers out there who are willing to take advantage of this fact, disguising their phone numbers as valid contacts in order to steal your money or personal information. Luckily, there are ways you can identify a fake phone number so that you don’t fall victim to these criminals. Check out these tips for how to detect a fake phone number and keep yourself safe online.
1. Check Appearances
The easiest way to identify a fake phone number is to check its appearance. Many online and landline phone numbers have specific codes that identify them as fake. For example, an online or spoofed 800 number will often start with 188 while other sites use 877 or even 000.
When entering a phone number into your cell, be sure to enter it into your contact list immediately so you can check for these codes whenever you get a call from that number in the future. Some apps also allow you to enter a phone number and then send back information about it in real time; it is possible to spot a few fake numbers using those apps if they are available on your platform of choice.
2. Look at Intentions
In order to detect a fake phone number, you first need to identify a few different types of caller intent. You want to identify if someone is looking for your professional advice, or if they are simply using you as another lead in their sales funnel. For example, someone who wants to sell you something will be less interested in making small talk about your day and more interested in gathering information that can help them close a sale.
On the other hand, someone with no ulterior motives may ask follow-up questions that feel impersonal, but help clarify an issue. Once you know what type of person is on the other end of your phone call, it’s easier to decide whether or not they’re trying to scam you.
The second way to identify a fake phone number is to evaluate their goals. Think about what type of value your business provides, and think about how you can use that to determine whether or not someone’s goal for calling you makes sense. For example, if someone calls you out of nowhere trying to sell you something, it’s unlikely they really need help from your business as much as they want information from you.
On the other hand, if someone is reaching out because they need advice on an issue related to your industry or product line, then their intentions make more sense.
3. Use Reverse Lookup Sites
If you see a phone number you want to call, but can’t seem to locate it on search engines or social media, look for a free reverse lookup site. Most sites simply require you to enter a phone number and state/country code in order to quickly pull up who owns that line. Just because it isn’t listed on Google doesn’t mean it isn’t being used – there are plenty of spammers out there who make use of ghost numbers. If you don’t find any results using one service, try another – there are plenty out there offering free lookups.
When it comes to finding a phone number, however, you might need to take things further. This is especially true if you’re trying to find out more about something like an unknown sales number or government agency. For these situations, you should make use of a reverse lookup site.
These services can be easily found using Google or other search engines and are extremely simple to use: just enter in a phone number and state/country code and wait for results! Once your service has identified your number, it will show basic details (like name and address) from public records databases. If no records exist online for that number, there’s a chance it could be fake.
4. Get Advice From Others
When identifying a fake phone number, there are two things you want to do: first, get advice from others. Talk to people you trust and ask them if they have any ideas about what you should look for. Get as much information as possible so that when you’re calling yourself, you can really analyze everything. The second thing is actually making those calls.
With each call, keep an eye out for anything that seems unusual—things like a large time difference between when someone answers their phone and when they begin talking or odd responses to certain questions. If something seems off, go ahead and hang up; chances are it is fake.
Another place you can find good advice is on social media, as long as you’re not too specific in your questions. You may want to post something along the lines of “Does Anyone know how to identify a fake phone number?” with lots of space for responses; that way, you’ll get responses from people who have experienced something similar and will be able to help.
5. Research in Person
If you’re hoping to find out if someone is fake and hiding their real number, you’ll want to pay them a visit in person. It might seem a little stalker-ish, but once you get there, it should be pretty obvious. If they give an excuse or claim they don’t have time to see you then something isn’t right.
Remember that people who are really looking for a new relationship will make time for you, even if it means having to reschedule one of their own plans. Fake people can spot fakers too; so if your target seems all too eager with their excuses, chances are that his or her excuse is just a cover for being fake and avoiding reality.
Another way to figure out if someone is fake is to ask them a lot of questions. We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to hiding what we really want or need from other people; so if you can get your target on a couch or in an office and ask him or her open-ended questions, it will be easy to figure out where he or she stands. If he or she loves talking about their past but gets evasive when asked about their future, then you might have stumbled upon a fake phone number.
About The Author
Williams Alfred Onen
Williams Alfred Onen is a degree-holding computer science software engineer with a passion for technology and extensive knowledge in the tech field. With a history of providing innovative solutions to complex tech problems, Williams stays ahead of the curve by continuously seeking new knowledge and skills. He shares his insights on technology through his blog and is dedicated to helping others bring their tech visions to life.