January 16, 2020

What is a restricted number? How to get one?

Have you ever received calls from a strange number that is different from the regular phone number or has your phone screen ever showed you the message ‘restricted’ while your phone was buzzing instead of showing the actual number calling? If yes, then you probably know that there is a thing called ‘restricted number’.

What is a Restricted Number?

A restricted number is a number that allows callers to hide their true identity from public viewing. They may also be termed as ‘private numbers’. When individuals receive calls from private/restricted numbers, all that they see on their phone screen is either an unknown phone number format such as ‘0230’ or ‘98760’ appearing or simply the words ‘Restricted’ or ‘Private’. Other forms of messages which appear in case no number format on screen include ‘Blocked’, ‘Unknown’ and ‘No Caller ID’.

There are a few questions that might pop up in your mind after getting to know about restricted numbers. For example: How do people acquire restricted numbers? Is it legal to have a restricted/private number? Why would anyone hide their true identity while calling people? What is the use of private numbers? Why were they invented or experimented in the first place? Are there any benefits to using these numbers? Can we block private numbers or trace their calls back? Let us answer each one of this one by one.

How Do People Get A Restricted Number?

There are two ways to hide your identity while making an anonymous call to the recipient. These include:

Dialing Vertical Service Code

In order to hide their numbers from their call recipients, people simply use the code ‘*67’. This code needs to be dialed before the recipient’s number and Viola! Your true identity has been hidden. Callers may use this code with both; landline phone numbers and mobile numbers. However, when dialing a landline number, you must include the area code as well.

A word of caution though: the code ‘*67’ does not work while dialing 911, emergency numbers, and toll-free numbers. Additionally, the code will not work in case the recipient has blocked calls from unknown numbers or numbers out of their contact list.

Other Options

There are other ways to hide caller identity while using smartphones. If you are using an Android-powered smartphone, simply go to the phone settings and search for ‘Caller ID’ settings. Once you click on this option, various options are given to you to select from. Select the ‘Hide My Number’ option. In this way, you can successfully hide your true number from your recipient without having to use the ‘*67’ code. Your ID will remain unknown and the recipient will receive either auto-generated number patterns or simply a ‘Private/Restricted number’ message on their screen while the call is being made. In the same way, phone settings for iPhone users can be changed and the true identity of their caller can remain hidden.

Is It Legal To Have Restricted/Private Numbers?

Yes! It is totally legal and allowed people to hide their caller identity while making a call. The reason why this action is allowed is automatically explained under the next heading.

What Is The Use/Purpose Of Getting A Restricted Number?

There are many reasons why hiding one’s true identity while making a call is allowed. Some of them are discussed below.

Avoiding Inconvenience

To start with, there are companies’ representatives and working individuals such as doctors who might, under emergency circumstances, have to make a call using their personal numbers. By taking the help of hiding their identity feature in their phones or using the vertical service code, they might just be trying to hide their personal numbers so that people may not be able to call them back on a regular basis and cause inconvenience.

Scamming Schemes

While the aforementioned reason is quite an innocent and harmless one, there are other reasons which are not so innocent in nature and you might need to reconsider your device’s security settings. These include a con artist trying to scam your innocent mind or a network of scammers trying to rope you in for stealth.

Other Reasons

Another reason could be an ex-trying to reach you without revealing their true self to you. Additionally, a local caller who can be anyone a mechanic, a driver, a gardener, etc., who has a crush on you can be using this service to hide their true identity and dial your number up every once in a while.

No matter what the reason is, receiving too many calls from restricted numbers can cause serious frustration. In case this act is carried out repeatedly and the caller chooses to remain silent once the call is picked up, it does come across as harassment too. So, how does one save themselves from the dangers of private callers? Let us shed some light on this in the next section.

How to Deal with Restricted Callers?

There are 2 to 3 ways of dealing with these private callers using restricted numbers. These are explained below.

Block Calls from Restricted Numbers

Block calls from restricted numbers- as simple as that. Go to your phone settings and choose not to receive calls from numbers out of your contact list. This sends calls from unknown, blocked, and private or restricted numbers to auto rejection automatically.

Trace their Caller IDs

Since the main intent of a private caller is to make a call without you finding their true identity out, what you can do is take measures to actually find their identity out and confront them. One method of doing that would be installing apps which help in tracing the true identity of callers such as ‘trapcall’ and ‘truecaller’. Other methods include various websites offering their unmasking services. All you need to do is enter the number which is calling you. However, if there is no number appearing then installing apps could be a better way to stop unwanted calls.

Last but not least, if the matter really goes out of hand, you can take the help of 911. They do help people unmask unknown callers and deal with the harassment issues.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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