When our phones ring, caller ID tells us who may be on the other end and can often help us decide whether to pick up and answer. Sometimes, however, we see “no caller ID” instead of the caller’s phone number. What does “no caller ID” mean?
What it means when your phone says “No caller ID”
“No caller ID” is a common strategy for anonymizing your identity so the call recipient doesn’t know who you are. Telemarketers and scam callers may use this approach in the hopes you pick up but can’t track, report or call them back. “No caller ID” may also be a tool used to stalk or harass the recipient or as a prank.
Is there a difference between “No caller ID” and “Unknown caller”
If you see “No caller ID” on your phone, the caller has purposely blocked their number so it does not show up. “Unknown caller” indicates the cellular network can’t provide the caller’s information—this does not mean the caller has taken steps to hide their number.
Ways to potentially track “No caller ID”
While “No caller ID” may seem completely anonymous, there are a few ways you might find out who is calling you. Here’s how to potentially call back a private number:
- Dial back using *69 (#69 on mobile). If you press *69 on a landline or #69 on a mobile device, you can call back the last number that called you. Keep in mind this option, called Last Call Return, won’t reveal the actual number. Make sure to do this soon after—before you receive another call.
- Use a reverse phone search. A blocked or private number could possibly appear on your phone usage log, which you can find on your monthly statement. With this step, you get the actual number of the caller and you can call them back or do a reverse phone search to try and find out more about them.
- Try call tracing. Your phone company may be able to trace blocked numbers. Dial *57 on your landline or #57 on your mobile device to route you to recorded step-by-step instructions. You will hear another recording with the caller’s information if the trace was successful.
How do I use “No caller ID” when I make a call?
What if you want to hide your number? Here’s how to make your number unknown when calling.
If you want to make your number private for a single call, you have to dial a prefix before punching in the phone number of the recipient. The universal prefix for blocking caller ID is *67, but there may be a different code depending on your phone carrier.
To hide your number on all outgoing calls, you may be able to change your caller ID settings with your carrier or directly on your device. Both Verizon and Sprint offer privacy options for their customers that include disabling caller ID.