Do you panic when you receive a text or call from a number you don’t recognize?
Forget about having to send that awkward “sorry, who is this?” text message. or Google the phone number: there are several ways to locate the caller.
TikToker Liz Perez posted a recent video detailing what to do when you receive a call from an unknown number.
Here’s how it works: If you receive a text message from an unknown number, mobile payment apps like Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, or PayPal can help you put a name to that number.
All you have to do is copy and paste the number into the payment app of your choice to reveal the name of the mystery sender.
It doesn’t just happen by accident. A caller who appears on her phone as “Unknown” or “no caller ID” has taken additional deliberate steps to hide her answering phone number from you.
TikToker Liz Perez posted a recent video detailing how to use paid apps to find out who is behind unknown numbers
However, this only works if you already have an account on one of those apps, and the sender must also use your real name and number on the app.
Then there is the other side. What if you don’t want your name and phone number to be so available?
Make sure you disable your mobile payment app so it doesn’t share your name and phone number with others. The steps vary depending on the application. For example, in Venmo, open Settings, Friends, and Social and turn off Phone Contacts.
However, there are also settings on iPhone and Android phones that can fix this problem.
Here is DailyMail.com’s step-by-step guide to revealing mysterious callers.
Turning this setting on in paid apps like Venmo automatically adds contacts to your Venmo friends list
What happens with blocked numbers?
You may remember your years of pranks: dialing *67 hides your number from the person you’re calling. There are similar numbers you can dial to answer mysterious callers.
The first is *69, which tracks the number of the last person who called you. It works even for anonymous or hidden calls, so you can get the phone number and the exact time they called.
Once you have that number, you can block it on your phone so they can’t call you anymore.
In more dangerous circumstances, such as harassment, another number you can use is *57.
It gives you the phone number and call information that *69 obtains, but goes further by passing that information on to the police.
Your telephone service will record a *57 call so that authorities can more easily locate whoever is harassing you.
To make the most of this, call the police immediately after a call at *57 with a written record of your stalker’s calls so authorities can take action.
Your phone company may charge you more for these calls, so it’s worth checking your plan to see if it supports shortcuts.
‘I just want it to stop’
Muting unknown calls is a quick way to stop your phone from ringing constantly, but you may miss important calls, like those from your doctor or your child’s teacher.
If you have an iPhone, you can take it a step more extreme and automatically block numbers that aren’t in your contact list using Silence Unknown Callers.
Calls from numbers not in your Contacts will still go to your voicemail and appear in your recent calls list, but your phone won’t ring. Follow these steps to turn it on:
● Go to Settings and then Phone.
● Scroll down to Silence unknown calls. Slide the switch to the right to enable the feature.
If you have a Samsung Galaxy:
● Open the Phone app and tap the More icon (three vertical dots) at the bottom of the screen.
● Tap Settings and then Call blocking.
● Turn on the Block anonymous calls switch.
Please note that if you send calls that are not in your contacts directly to voicemail, there are disadvantages. You will miss important phone calls, for example from your doctor or your child’s teacher.
Using a different phone? Look for your phone’s model name and “call blocking” for instructions if you need them.
About Kim Komando
Use a (virtual) burner
Giving away your real number to anyone is always a mistake. Think about all the accounts your phone number is associated with. Scary things.
Google Voice gives you a free phone number that you can use however you want for domestic and international phone calls, text messages, and voice messages. All you need is a Google account to get started.
Here are the steps to do this:
● Download the app for iOS or Android or go to voice.google.com/u/0/signup to get it for your computer.
● Next, sign in to your Google account.
● Review the terms and continue to the next step.
● Choose a phone number from the list. You can search by city or area code.
● Verify the number and enter a phone number to link to your Voice account.
● You will receive a six-digit code that you must enter in the next step.
Another option is to download a recording app. These give you a second phone number and use your Internet or Wi-Fi data to make and receive calls and text messages.
Burner is one of the most popular applications of this type. You can route calls directly to your secondary number. The app comes with a seven-day free trial and plans start at $4.99 per month for one line.
Hushed allows you to create numbers from all over the world, so you can go outside your area code or country if necessary.
A prepaid plan starts at $2.99 for seven days and comes with bundled minutes for local talk and text. You can upgrade to unlimited talk and text ($4.99 per month) and international service ($6.99 per month).
Sound like a tech professional, even if you’re not! Popular award-winning host Kim Komando is your secret weapon.