Having just come back from two weeks holiday, one of my first tasks was to check the phone messages on both my land line and my mobile.A handful of callers left messages, several did not and were number ‘withheld’ or ‘International’, and a few rang without leaving a message but are known contacts in the “phone book” so their names were recorded in the log. About half of those who did not leave a message were just logged as a number and some made repeated calls.There is no point in calling most of these numbers back because you usually end up at a switchboard. Even if you do get the individual who rang they have long forgotten the purpose of their call. But I am a curious person and I like to see if I can track down the identity of mystery callers.
I first search the various contact lists on my computer using Copernic Desktop Search. Sometimes that throws up a long forgotten contact. A straightforward Google search on the number may also work. If those fail I run the geographic numbers through a program on my desktop called CodeLook. This will tell me the area, exchange and telecoms operator but not the identity of the owner of the number. It can be enough, though, to jog my memory about a friend, relative, or customer. The program is part of a subscription service for members of Magenta Systems’s UK Tariff Comparison web site but there is also a free online version at http://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/codelook.htm.
There is one type of caller that drives me mad: the call centre. They ring repeatedly, hardly ever leave a message, and often there is no-one at the other end when you do pick up. For these numbers Whocallsme is a godsend. This is a user supplied database of UK phone numbers of:
“telemarketers, non-profit organizations, charities, political surveyors, SCAM artists, and other companies that don’t leave messages, disconnect once you answer, ignore the Do-Not-Call List regulations, and simply interrupt your day.”
On this occasion, Whocallsme identified two of the repeat callers. The first was a British Gas call centre. They repeatedly phone me trying to persuade me to change my gas supply to them (I already have my electricity supplied by them). Asking them to cease and desist has no effect whatsoever so they will now be added to the automatic “Choose to refuse” list on my land line. The second was a mobile number and turned out to be Orange. I have a four month old dispute with their billing department so that number was definitely worth pursuing and following up.
All this might seem like a lot of effort to track down who phoned you but it can be worth it if only to identify and filter out the junk callers.