If you receive a call from an unfamiliar number, you may be tempted to call back and find out who is trying to get in touch with you. Before you do that, though, it is worth your time to find out where, exactly, that number originated from. Finding out that the region, state or country that your call is coming from may not only save you from making a useless call, but it could even protect you from paying steep international calling fees or becoming the victim of a scam. Here's a look at how to find out where that mysterious phone number is coming from.
Search by Area Code
If the phone number contains ten digits then there is a good chance that the first three digits are the number's area code. Three-digit area codes are used throughout North America and not just in the United States. You can look up the first three digits to find out what region that particular area code has been assigned to. A simple Google search containing the three digits followed by the words "area code" should reveal where the call is originating from. If the call is coming from a place where you wouldn't expect to receive communication from then you're probably safe ignoring it since it may be either a wrong number or, particularly in the case of area codes from outside the U.S. and Canada, a scam.
Use the Phone Book
In many cases, you can use your phone book to also find out where the call is originating from. A lot of phone books will include a directory of area codes for the entire state. So if your call is originating from in-state then it should be easy to find out where, exactly, in the state it is coming from. While using the phone book may sound slow and cumbersome, it is convenient if you find yourself without internet access.
Reverse Phone Number Lookup
Finally, perhaps the easiest method is to use a handy reverse phone number lookup service. There are lots of websites that allow you to simply type in an unfamiliar number if you want to find out where it is coming from. The Yellow Pages website, for example, allows you to type in a phone number and it will, in many cases, give you not just the location of where the number is coming from, but also additional contact information such as the name of the business or individual that the number is registered to (so long as that person or business is listed). You can also just type in the phone number into a search engine. In many cases, doing so will give you some useful clues about who is calling you and from where.
Because so many people are using mobile phones today, it can be a little difficult to pin down with much certainty where a particular phone number originates from. However, the tips listed above will provide some helpful hints about where an unknown number is coming from so that you don't waste time with wrong numbers or potential scams.
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