Find Unkown Phone Number?

I’ve been getting intermittant calls on my cell phone (which is my only phone) for the past few weeks, from an unlisted number. When I answer, I just get a slow beeping, about one per second. The beeps sound like the beep that answering machines make. It’s either a minor annoyance or (when they call early in the morning on a weekend) the spark that lights off a nice headache. I’m reminded of an old Dave Barry column about a woman who got calls over and over and they finally determined that it was an empty fuel tank calling it’s llong-since out of service supply number for a refill. I’m sure that once I figure out where this is coming from, all I’ll have to do is call them up and tell them to stop it.

I called Cingular, and they were incredibly unhelpful. They can’t tell me who’s calling because it’s not in their system. They can’t block only a subset of numbers or only unknown numbers (although they could block all of my incoming calls if I wanted :rolleyes: ). They won’t tell me who I should contact to get this figured out. They say the only thing that they can do is change my number, which will cost $36. To hell with that, I say.

But I’m pretty sure that there has to be a way of tracing this. The phone network is a switched system, and there oughta be a way of saying: this call came from here. I’m sure that if some guy was calling and muttering while breathing deeply into the mouthpiece, they’d be able to figure out who the hell he was.

Am I right? How do I find this number?

I am not sure, but I THINK that there is a way to do what you wish. If you call the phone company in your area, hopefully it is a large one like Verizon, etc., and tell them that you are receiving harrassing calls, they will put some sort of tap or something on your phone to trace the calls. They will find out who did it and take action, but they will not tell YOU their name(s).

  1. To avoid calls in the night, turn off the ringer and let the system ‘take a message.’
  2. A court order will turn up the unlisted number to the court but not to you if there is reason to suspect criminal activity. Then action can be initiated.
  3. If it continues call the phone co. office and when you get the runaround ask for the person’s supervisor till you get a positive response.

Slow beep = fax machine.

Someone’s got your number programmed in their fax machine and is trying to fax you something.

And since a fax machine is not answering, it’s programmed to redial indefinitely.

Try forwarding your phone to the fax machine at work. That’ll stop it.

I don’t know if it works on cell phones but on a land line if you hit *69 it will tell you the last number that called your number

Which gives you a phone number, but doesn’t tell you who the person is. But it’s a start.

*69 may not work; it does not work on my cell phone.

Next time they call, immediately dial the operator on your cell phone and say the last number to have called you was harassing; I agree with you they must have some way of tracking down the number. Or, next time they call, you could just not hang up your phone and see what happens. I like to do this when I get these types of calls on my land line. Generally, about once a week or so I will get a call either a prank or just a random call like yours and I will place it on speakerphone until the other line hangs up. (This may not work if you are paying for your minutes.)

Tell Cingular that if they don’t block this number you will cancel your account. And, if you have a contract that if they don’t you will complain to your credit card issuer to block charges from them. This wouldn’t work for my cell phone, as it is one of those prepaid accounts. However, I sure as hell wouldn’t use a prepaid cellphone if it was my only phone, as in your case. I’d move to a contract if my only phone was my cellphone. Unless you are on a prepaid plan, you have leverage. USE IT.

I don’t understand why you can’t see the number on your call log menu. It should be there under missed/received calls.

Just do what Rico said. The fax hardcopy will tell you the source of the call re the fax message you receive. Then you can get it stopped.

*69 does not work. It just says that the number cannot be connected.

I have a contract for a year, and I’ve only had the phone for about three months. While it may be possible to get out of it, I don’t like my chances going up against the phone company. I’ll probably either have a big fee or a big hassle with my credit rating.

It shows up as “Unavailable”

I’ll try the fax thing. That seems like best bet. There must be something on the fax that will identify the sender.

I have Verizon Wireless and their billing lists do not show the number of an incoming call.
No idea about other wireless providers.

The phone companies can be remarkably unhelpful when dealing with unknown phone calls. A few years ago, we were getting hang-up calls every day at the same time (1 PM). Caller ID said “Unavailable”. Every time we picked up the phone, a male voice with an American accent would say “Sorry, wrong number” and hang up immediately.

*69 didn’t work (this was our land line, not a cell phone) because the number was unavailable. When I called the phone company, they said there wasn’t anything they could do - and they suggested we change our phone number. Uh, no thanks, why should I change a number I’ve had for 10 years because some asshole is being a pain??? No clue whether the police could have forced them to action or not, but we didn’t have any other reason to involve police in this.

They didn’t even volunteer info about “call intercept” - I had to ask them about it (it works with caller ID. Blocked/unavailable callers have to announce their name into the machine, before the phone even rings at my end; then I hear their announcement and I have the chance to refuse the call). We got this activated, and never heard from the harasser again.

Anyway - changing your number might be an option, though it’s a pain in the neck. Also, is there anything like “call intercept” available for cell phones? can you set up cell phones to refuse blocked/unavailable calls in general?

The Verizon FAQs say the same thing:

From Verizon’s FAQ Main

In my opinion, this sucks. You should totally be able to block “Unknown” calls if you want, but I guess their hardware isn’t set up for this. I would also guess that they really can’t tell where the call comes from if the caller doesn’t provide caller ID info - they can’t ask another phone company who’s calling.

I agree with Rico’s assesment - that sounds exactly like a fax machine set to auto-dial you. I would guess that you got on some fax-spam list. If it was a person faxing you, they would have figured out that they’re not getting a fax machine. An automatic faxing system wouldn’t care. It’d be interesting to see what fax you get.

On the downside, getting off of a bulk-faxer’s list can be really difficult. Here is an article dealing with a notorious junk faxer,

Good luck! Post back here if you do manage to receive the fax.