You get a call from a phone number you don’t recognize. There’s a good chance it’s just a scammer, but it could also be a legitimate business or a person you know. Rather than answering the phone or calling the number back, there are a few quick ways you can identify just who it was who tried to call you.
Google—or another search engine, like Bing if that’s what you’re into—is the first place you should turn when you see you’ve been called from an unfamiliar phone number. Just plug that number into Google or your search engine of choice. You can type the number in either the form “555-555-5555” or 5555555555 and you should see similar results.
If the number is associated with a legitimate business, you should see that businesses’s website appear in the first few results. If the number appears on that business’s website, you know it’s real.
If the number is a home landline phone number someone has registered through the traditional phone book system—in other words, if it would appear in a paper phone book (remember those?)—there’s a decent chance you’ll see that person’s name in the search results, too.
If the phone number is used by a scammer, however, you’ll likely see links to websites like whocalled.us, 800notes.com, and whocallsme.com. You can also visit these websites directly and plug in a phone number, if you like—but they’ll usually appear when you perform a normal Google search for a phone number associated with scams.
These websites allow users to comment, and people often leave comments about their experiences. Skim through them and, if the phone number has been calling a lot of people with a similar scam, you’ll get an idea that the number is associated with a scammer. You can block these…
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