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Phone scammers are the bane of everyone’s existence. There has never been a time when they were wanted, and as the years have passed scam calls have gotten more sophisticated and adept.
Because of this, the best option to avoid a scam is to ignore unlisted phone numbers and block suspicious callers. Here is a list of five websites and apps, including the long-time favorite 800Notes, that help you detect scammers. We’ve also got an explanation of why you shouldn’t answer unlisted calls in the first place.
Why Should You Not Answer Unlisted Phone Numbers?
According to PR Newswire, over 47 billion robocalls were placed in 2018. More and more often, these scammers are trying to impersonate the IRS or another governmental agency.
Additionally, scammers might try to get you to say “yes” over the phone to record your voice and access stolen credit card data, according to a report by ABC News.
With the myriad of ways that you can be scammed, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Check those unlisted numbers first, and know the telltale signs that you’re on the phone with a scammer.
Did you receive a call from an unknown caller ID and the caller did not leave any messages? Wondering who that was? 800Notes is a free website that can help you identify unlisted phone numbers.
Simply enter the caller’s phone number. Then, 800Notes will check to see if there are any other people who received a call from the same number. It will also show other user comments if they left any.
One of the obvious ways to make use of 800Notes would be to identify and report phone scammers. 800Notes also posts news, articles, and videos explaining how to deal with telemarketers or robocalls.
We especially like how frequently the forums are updated for this site, and how active the userbase is in trying to make sure scams and robocalls are tackled directly. An active community is a successful community, in our opinion.
If you’re trying to find the website through Google, however—instead of typing in the address directly—make sure you don’t type “1800 notes” or “800 Note” by accident. Neither of these names belongs to the website, but they get mistaken as such on the regular.
WhoCallsMe is a website that looks nearly identical to 800Notes, and it works in a very similar fashion. If you’re contacted by an unlisted phone number, you can type it in. WhoCallsMe will give back information on whether or not the number has already been recorded as a scam.
While WhoCallsMe is not as well-known as 800Notes, it does have a small forum where you can ask questions about scammers and robocalls, and get feedback on how to deal with them.
Whitepages is one of the biggest online “phone lookup” services out there. Beyond having a visually engaging site, it’s fairly easy to use. You can access multiple different services through the website, including:
- Looking up a number to see someone’s spam/fraud potential.
- The address associated with a phone number.
- The ability to tell if a caller is calling from a cellphone or landline.
If you keep on getting calls from unlisted numbers—and you want details on whom the numbers belong to—then this is a great website to use. What we personally love about Whitepages is that it specifically breaks down the potential scam risk behind each number with a handy graph.
Aside from this, Whitepages is so much more than a scam alert website. Surprisingly, you can also run background checks, screen tenants, and find reputable businesses through it, too.
Hiya is an app that you can use to identify and block unknown or unlisted phone numbers, available on Android and iOS. I personally use this app to get rid of persistent, annoying robocalls, and I’ve had a great experience with it so far.
While Hiya does have a premium subscription available, its basic free plan allows you to identify and block spam callers, which is all you really need.
Once Hiya has been installed on your phone, you can whitelist your contacts so that they don’t get caught up in your filters. You can also download block lists of known scam callers to keep yourself safe or report callers who have yet to be added to the system.
Additionally, when you receive a call on your phone that isn’t blocked, a pop-up screen from Hiya will emerge, asking if you want to run the number against their known database of scammers. With one click of the button, you can find out who that unlisted number belongs to and if you need to block them, fast.
Hiya is intuitive and easy to use, and a must-have for anyone who gets a lot of calls on their cellphone.
Last on the list is SpamCalls.net, an unlisted phone number finder that allows you to search for and report scammers in your region.
Through the website, you can identify scammers, report robocalls, and use the reverse phone number lookup tool to see if a suspected number has been hitting your area particularly hard.
What we find especially helpful about this site is that it breaks down the data on scammers by region.
For example: If you’re located in the US, it will show you the phone numbers that are most likely to be bothering US residents, or Canadian residents if you’re living in Canada, etc.
Block and Report Scam Calls
Scammers are a serious menace, not only because they can bother you during the day, but because they’re getting more sophisticated, insidious, and harder to identify when you pick up the phone. If you answer one—and you fall for their scam—there is a high chance of identity theft.
Remember, the safest way to deal with scammers is to not answer any calls by people you don’t know. Look up the number on 800Notes or another website on the list, and block them if they seem suspicious.
Are you being plagued by scams of the digital kind? Here’s how to spot online fakes used by scammers.