Having trouble tracing an unknown or unwanted VoIP call? The hard truth is, in most cases, tracing VOIP calls is extremely difficult—if not impossible.
VoIP providers assign phone numbers dynamically, which means that the number that shows on your caller ID may not even match the VoIP device being used to make the call. VoIP calls are also routed through various servers on the internet, making it even more difficult to figure out where they originated from.
Fortunately, there are a few clever ways to trace VoIP calls. In fact, they may even help you avoid unwanted calls entirely.
Why VoIP Numbers Usually Can’t Be Tracked
First things first, VoIP networks tend to have extensive security measures, such as the utilization of packet switching to break up data and route it through multiple pathways online.
Not only does this enable anonymity for the caller, but it makes it nearly impossible to trace a call back to its original source.
As a result, while calls from dedicated landline phones can often be traced back to their origin through telephone service companies, this isn’t possible with VoIP devices—so you’ll have to figure something else out.
5 Alternative Options to Tracing VoIP Calls
If you receive an unwanted or unknown call from a VoIP device, you’re going to have to get creative if you want to trace it back to its original source. While this can’t be done directly, there are a few alternative options you can take.
1. Contact the VoIP Provider
Even though you can’t call a phone company, you can still try contacting the VoIP provider directly to identify the caller.
While most VoIP providers have strict security measures, you can explain that you’re being harassed by one of their numbers and that you want to file a complaint—assuming that’s the truth. This could result in them identifying the account and banning it for abuse.
Even though VoIP providers are not able to reveal private customer info, they are accountable for ensuring the responsible use of their services and providing limited access to users who are not adhering to their company policies around harassment.
2. Get Law Enforcement Involved
If you’re receiving threatening or malicious calls, you may want to file a police report about telephone harassment and document the dates and times of the calls in question.
Law enforcement may be able to work with the VoIP provider to identify the caller or get the caller banned from using their services. At best, this will put an end to any further harassment and block the caller from continuing to make use of a VoIP network’s built-in anonymity.
3. Switch Numbers
In some cases, you may not be able to stop unwanted calls from a VoIP device. If your situation escalates further, you may consider switching your primary phone number to avoid any more unwanted calls.
You can also leverage secondary phone numbers from platforms like Google Voice. This will allow you to screen calls, block numbers, and establish tighter privacy controls around who has access to your phone number.
4. Use Call Blocking Tools
Call blocking apps like Hiya, RoboKiller, and YouMail allow you to identify and stop spam calls. These apps maintain global databases of known offenders and illegal calling patterns to limit any unwanted calls from VoIP devices. You can also use these tools to block certain numbers from calling your phone.
You may also consider setting up custom voicemail for specific numbers or spam callers who keep calling your device. This would allow you to collect further evidence of unwanted spam calls or harassment from an anonymous caller.
While this doesn’t make it any easier to trace back the call to its original source, it is a clever way to document evidence to report to the VoIP provider or law enforcement. You can then use this collected evidence to get the account linked to the VoIP provider banned or to take legal action against the spam caller.
5. Prioritize Your Safety
If you’re unable to trace or block incoming calls from anonymous VoIP devices, it’s a good idea to take practical steps to prevent further unwanted contact attempts from your harasser.
Your best option is to document all evidence of these incoming calls. You can then report your digital paper trail to law enforcement to issue a restraining order or protect yourself from any further harassment or threats.
Avoid Unwanted Calls
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to track a call from a VoIP device—but that doesn’t mean you have to sit around and deal with spam calls or harassment. By taking a different approach, you can protect your privacy and ward off any unwanted communication attempts from VoIP devices.