Why can some companies view your private phone #?

How come some companies like credit card companies and pizza places can identify my private phone #? Is there a way to prevent them from getting your number?

Most phone companies have a number you can dial (like *12 or something) that blocks the other person’s caller ID. Look in your phone book.

I’m sure there’s a method to block the other person’s caller ID. I’d like to know why they can see my unlisted number in the first place. I pay for an unlisted number so that it is not released when I use it to call someone.

It’s not consistent, either. Most people can’t see my number on their caller ID but some can and I haven’t been able to find a pattern yet.

Are you calling an 800 number? For toll-free numbers your number is transmitted regardless if you have call blocking (make sense, someone else is paying for the call).

We receive hundreds of calls a day on our toll free numbers and I am pretty sure that for every single call the number is shown in our phone software and again on our phone bill. I have tested it with selective call blocking and the number will still show up if even it is turned on.

From this site:

“Most consumers are not aware that when they call 800 numbers, they are transmitting their own phone numbers. Many contacted the phone company, CPUC, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and other consumer organizations to indicate their outrage about ANI and to express frustration at not being able to block their phone numbers on those calls.”

Well the number is already private so no one can ID it except certain numbers. the CC companies are 800#s but the pizza places are not. It just gets on my nerves that I pay for the number to be private but it is not private from everyone :smack:

I will also have to check for non-toll free numbers. Our phone bills and phone software log all incoming calls, regardless if they are toll-free. I have compiled many reports on our calls and it seems odd to me that I have never had an instance of the incoming phone number not being numeric or something like all zeros. Same with our phone bills, I usually scan through them every month.

That leads me to believe that either all of our customers don’t block their numbers or the incoming number is transmitted to us anyway.


My experience has been with friend’s phones, not calling businesses. It makes absolutely no sense that Kim in Florida can see my number on her caller ID when I call but Pat in Chicago can’t.

Heres how they do it. (its actually fairly common and can be used to grab numbers off of payphones and call ones that allow it)

ANI: Short for automatic number identification, a service that provides the telephone number of an incoming call. ANI is used for a variety of functions – by receiving the incoming telephone number, telephone companies can direct a call to the proper long distance carrier’s equipment; it can help identify the caller’s address to speed response time to 911 calls; and it can route an 800 call to the nearest vendor. ISDN, the standards for transmissions on telephone lines, supports ANI.

Unlisted, as far as I know, simply means it’s not in the phone book. If you want caller ID blocking, you have to request that separately (usually for free). Then you can dial a special prefix if you ever want to unblock it for a single call.

I have caller ID blocking for my phone. It is a great service. For my friends, I have my phone programmed to dial *82 (i think) so that they see my number when I call.

Note that The Phone Company for a fee will quite happily sell to anyone the unblock “blocked numbers” service. (Without of course refunding any money they charge to the people who thought they were getting number id blocking service.)

Nice people.

On a semi-related note, I ordered a pizza last week from Round Table. The guy taking my order asked me for my phone number, which I gave to him. I would have thought they would have been able to get that information from a caller ID program, but whatever, I gave it to him. However, what I did not expect, that once I did, he proceeded to tell me my physical address and ask me if that was correct (it was).

That in my mind is much scarier than someone being able to see what phone I’m calling from.

Have you ordered pizza from them before? If you have then they probably have your number tied to your house in their computer.

On the other hand try typing your phone number into google. If your number is listed in the phone book they will find you. They did not find me from my unlisted phone number.

That’s just a computerized version of reverse phonebooks that have been around for a long time. It’s nothing new, just faster now. Those darn computers. :dubious:

Nope, first time ever ordering from them since I moved from San Jose to Santa Cruz 3 years ago. The gentleman even said my address came up on his computer. Normally I would have called from my cell phone (408 area code) vs the house phone (831 area code), since it’s my primary phone (the house phone is in my roommmates name so we keep it separate to make it easier on bills).

Where I work, we keep track of what orders have come from what phone number. If you called them before, you probably told them your address (and maybe your number too) and that’s how they know.

I have stopped telling people their information because they freak out. I just ask them for it even though I already know. This spares me the chore of having to explain, about twenty times a day, how exactly I know all that information.

A very similar situation comes up with asking for a phone number. If I just tell people their phone number, they will sometimes want to know how I know it. (One tinfoil hat wearin’ lady called the cops on me for stalking her!) Most people will just say their number when asked, but a few do want to know why I’m not using caller ID.

Another reason to ask is that more and more people use cell phones, so their location isn’t always the same. Sometimes people call from a phone they don’t want to use for their information or that they don’t want to be called on or that they’re borrowing etc etc.

Also, the caller ID doesn’t always work. You look really stupid if you say, “Is your phone number 555- 5515.” like your the Kreskin, but you’re really seeing a number from the computer buffer.

Well, yes, I do understand the information comes from computers and I am familiar with caller id, etc. I’m not a technical retard, I only post like one.

I guess I was just saying that I didn’t think pizza places would have access to this kind of information about me. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I do have to admit it was an eye-opener.

I’ve been trying very hard lately to be cognizant of the fact that, when posting, it is too easy to sound like an arrogant asshat. I’m sorry if I did that.

I know that most people just don’t spend much time thinking about this stuff. It’s kind of like a card trick: it’s just not very impressive when you know what’s going on, but when you first encounter it, it seems almost magical.

Can I pay extra to block the unblocked numbers? Where does it end?

Let me add this:

If you entered your phone number on forms, applications, registration cards and such, those are then used to build lists…the very type that big and small chains use to find you…like Pizza and take out places.

Let’s say a credit bureau, which get info from 1-100 different companies you do business with, creates and sells lists. There is a good chance they have your phone number — how likely is it you obscured your phone number from all the companies you do business with?