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Who called me? How to check a mobile number

Long gone are the times when you recognised half a dozen or so regular phone numbers popping up on your screen day to day. Thanks to the convenience of the ‘Contacts’ section in mobile devices, we can see who is calling us by name alone - no digits necessary. Sounds good, right?

Well, that may be true for the most part, but unknown numbers are still very much a thing. As we spend more time with our handsets than ever before, encountering them has become increasingly common - especially if details get lost when switching networks.

In this guide, we explain how to check a mobile number safely and securely, so you can go about using yours with renewed confidence.

Who might be calling from an unknown number?

There are plenty of ways a number can be read as ‘Unknown’ on your mobile phone. What’s important is that you stay calm and approach each call with diligence and sensitivity.

People who might ring from unknown mobile numbers include:

  • Cold callers: any unsolicited phone call attempting to sell you goods and/or services counts as a cold call. In some cases, being cold called can be a good thing, such as if a recruiter reaches out to you about a potential job. Overall, though, you should be wary when answering cold calls, especially from anonymous callers.
  • Scammers: they often use urgency and scare tactics to pressure people for sensitive information, such as their bank details. Scam callers sometimes steal data from organisations to make themselves appear legitimate when you pick up the phone.*
  • Loved ones whose details have changed/been lost: as we go through life, mobile numbers are lost or changed, meaning we may not recognise calls from our nearest and dearest. It may even be that the unknown number on someone else’s phone is yours; in which case, find your mobile number from your SIM and update them!

*A lot of companies have now revised their internal policies and let customers know that they will not be contacting them by phone anymore, to combat scam calls. However, it is always best to check with the business directly, so you don’t miss out on any important communications.


Why is it good to check?

In this new digital world, data security is essential. Most of us now use password managers to protect our personal information online, but organisations often still share people’s details without their knowledge or express consent, and that includes mobile numbers.

Nowadays, more and more people confuse scam phone calls with legitimate ones - and vice versa! Take precautions by checking the status of any unknown mobile numbers that crop up; only then will you be able to respond safely and securely to each call.


How to check a mobile number you don’t know

At the moment, there are no online Yellow Pages for mobile phone users to consult. And with so many numbers now active around the world, the scale of them would be astronomical!

As such, we must all think carefully about how to check a mobile number and only use reputable, secure sources.

Some of the most common ways to check a mobile number you don’t know include:

  • Search engines, which crawl the web for relevant information relating to your query (in this case, a mobile phone number). Just remember not to click on any links/sites that seem suspicious
  • Social media, where numbers are often displayed in association with different profiles
  • Phone lookup services, whereby you can enter a specific number and retrieve certain information


Phone number lookup services in the UK

In the United Kingdom, there are several phone number lookup services available to make identifying unknown callers easier. 

For example, Who Called Me is an excellent platform that allows you to determine the probable reasons behind an unexpected mobile call, including spam and scams. It also creates real-time incident reports based on supplied data, so you can see how frequently calls similar to the ones you’ve received actually occur.

If you believe the unknown number that keeps trying to reach you is a landline, using something like Ofcom’s telephone area codes tool should help narrow down the region from which the call is coming. And while this tool cannot give out exact locations, it could help jog your memory as to why a number may be consistently phoning you in the first place.

You can also find many free phone number lookup apps on Android or the App Store; however, be sure to check that these are reliable, secure and have good customer reviews before downloading.

No matter who tries calling your phone unexpectedly, Asda mobile will show you how to recognise, avoid, and report phone scams in all manner of forms!

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