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Can you know who is calling from a VoIP number?

Can you know who is calling from a VoIP number?

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VoIP has many features that users enjoy but one question that many have is whether you can identify someone calling from a VoIP number. That is a valid question involving safety and security as many people don’t want scam calls or telemarketing calls.

Yes, you can identify VoIP callers. First, you need to understand some aspects of the VoIP systems.

VoIP Comes with a Caller ID

VoIP systems, depending on which one you use, can include caller ID for incoming calls as a feature. The ID feature shows the caller’s name on either the desktop app or the VoIP phone. A VoIP system can also connect your phone with your CRM platform for business so all calls to employees can be easily identified in their business connections. This helps tremendously with sales calls.

VoIP Calls Around the World

One of the beauties of VoIP is that people can use a local number even when they are located elsewhere. That allows businesses with a corporate office to provide local numbers to areas they serve, connecting better with local customers and providing a hometown presence for their company.

However, being able to pick your area code rather than have it assigned based on your location, as traditional phone companies do, can make tracing the VoIP number a little more problematic. They can be from anywhere but can be traced to the user’s IP address, which shows their physical location rather than the location of the number’s area code.

VoIP Numbers Anonymity

One reason people get confused over whether you can identify those using VoIP to call is that VoIP IDs are registered anonymously. This can be a great security feature because no personal information is required to sign up for a VoIP phone number. This relieves many concerns about information being sold to third parties.

However, it also allows salespeople to register this way. All calls are encrypted at both ends. That doesn’t mean you can’t find out who owns a VoIP number. You can get that information. There are three clear ways to do that.

Reverse Phone Lookup

Reverse phone lookup apps can sometimes trace a VoIP number, and tell you who owns the number and their address.  It doesn’t always work in sharing details as some VoIP numbers can be anonymous. However, it can always tell you whether the caller is using a VoIP number and possibly which VoIP service is being used.

Calling Your VoIP Provider

Those who are using VoIP phone systems can ask their providers to find out more about a caller using a VoIP phone. Your provider can do what is called a CNAM lookup to find the name of the caller.

You will need some information to do this. You will need the caller ID found on your phone and the time of the call. That’s all that’s needed for your VoIP provider to track the call.

There are two problems with doing this. First, the caller must have a registered IP address they are using to make calls. Some scammers use a third-party address or fake IP and that makes it difficult to trace. Those that use a public IP address, like at a library, would make it hard to trace although not impossible as the library requires users to put in a code associated with their library card.

The catch with calling your VoIP service to trace a call is that many providers honor these types of requests in a limited way. You usually need evidence the call was harassing or malicious. Your VoIP provider will help you block these types of calls if that’s the case.

Using Packet Analyzers

You can trace VoIP numbers if you have a packet analyzer. They come for both SIP hard phones and softphones. You have to be well connected with a proxy or server to do this.

A packet analyzer can be put on a local router or service to inspect both hard phone IP and SIP. You can trace the number if you have an Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) and a Secure Shell (SSH) client.

You can install a packet analyzer on a softphone device that allows you to put a SIP filter on calls. Once this is set up, you can see all the IP details including the caller’s name and the IP address of where the call originated.

Tracing with the Domain Name

Those who have a VoIP address can trace the call using the domain name. That’s because VoIP addresses come as one of several domain names and are logged on your phone system. You can then use the domain name to run the IP address back to the number that called you.

Why Would You Trace a VoIP Call?

People may have both business and personal reasons for wanting to trace a VoIP call. Some of the business reasons are that it could be a customer or new client they wanted to talk to who perhaps didn’t leave a message, a scammer who is wasting a lot of the company’s time, or someone harassing a company employee.

Personal reasons for tracing a VoIP call could be that someone is threatening an individual, harassing them, or doxxing them.

VoIP Security

VoIP systems are highly rated for security because of their end-to-end encryption. All phone lines, whether it’s landlines or mobile phones, can be traced but VoIP systems tend to offer more robust security features.

The amount of security a VoIP system has depends on the security protocols set by the provider. You can enhance the security of your VoIP system by reviewing call logs regularly, utilizing SaaS for VoIP Calling, using a strong password, and doing regular updates of security patches.

Implementing these security features will reduce the need for tracing VoIP calls because it will keep your caller ID updated, help prevent scams or robocalls, and keep a good log of all calls.

Amruth Laxman
About the Author

Amruth Laxman

25+ years of telecom experience, specializing in high availability software and systems, I’ve seen the transformative impact they have on businesses. As the founding partner of 4Voice, I deliver customized, reliable phone solutions and can’t wait to share my insights with you in this blog.

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