Can VoIP Numbers Be Traced?

A girl trying to trace the number.

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VoIP number is no different from a traditional phone number. And like any other phone number, you can make calls, text, trace and block VoIP numbers. The specific services will depend on the VoIP service provider. But unlike a traditional number, VoIP phone number is independent of location and calls take place over the internet. This makes it a powerful communication tool for businesses, which is why the usage of it is constantly increasing. Since calls take place over the internet, it is hard to trace a VoIP number, making it easier for the caller to remain anonymous. This can lead to scamming and VoIP phishing.


What is a VoIP Number?

A VoIP number, or Voice over Internet Protocol number, is a digital telephone number that allows you to make and receive calls using the Internet rather than traditional phone lines. It offers significant flexibility and convenience for personal or business communications. You can use VoIP numbers on various devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Fixed VoIP Number

A fixed VoIP number is a phone number bound to a physical address, similar to traditional landline numbers. Companies that work out of a single location with no remote workers or customers and no plans to scale internationally typically choose fixed VoIP for their business.

Non-Fixed VoIP Number

A non-fixed VoIP number, also known as a virtual phone number, is not linked to a physical address. It offers greater flexibility and is easily obtained through online providers. Ideal for personal use, remote teams, or international operations, non-fixed VoIP numbers allow users to establish a presence in various locations without needing a physical office.

How Does a VoIP Number Work?

A VoIP number converts your voice into digital signals that travel over the internet instead of traditional phone lines. When you make a call, your voice data is sent as small, digital packets to the recipient, where it’s converted back into sound. The process happens nearly instantly, allowing for clear voice communication between any two points on the globe with internet access. VoIP phone numbers bypass conventional telephony networks, cutting down costs and enhancing flexibility in how and where you can make calls.

Can a VoIP Number be Traced?

VoIP numbers can be traced by analyzing traceable components of a call, such as caller ID, IP address, caller name (CNAM), and call duration. The process is more complex than tracing a traditional phone number. It usually involves a VoIP provider, ISP, and law enforcement.

 

Authorities can work with VoIP service providers to track call logs and IP addresses. However, the level of traceability can vary depending on whether the VoIP number is fixed or non-fixed and the provider’s policies on data and privacy.

VoIP Phone Number Lookup

To find the owner of a VoIP number, you can employ various methods, including inspecting the call detail records and checking network logs.

 

However, the success of tracing depends on whether it is a fixed or a non-fixed call. Furthermore, tracing the IP address of a VoIP call will not be accurate if the caller is using VPN or other methods to mask their IP address. Before tracing a VoIP call, make sure your action falls within the legal boundaries.

Inspect Call Detail Records

Call detail record (CDR) stores details on incoming and outgoing calls and text messages. CDR usually includes the date, time, call duration, type of call, call ID, and information on the caller and receiver. Depending on the system, it may reveal info on network data and call quality as well.

Perform Reverse Phone Lookup

Reverse phone lookup is one of the easiest methods for tracing a call. All you have to do is enter the phone number or username. However, you may not get the information you want, as VoIP numbers are not fixed to a specific user.

After entering the number into a phone lookup application, such as Truecaller, Spokeo, and Whitepages, you will receive a host of details, including the caller’s name and address. Some services only offer details on US numbers and will not be helpful for numbers from other countries.

Check Network Logs

Network logs carry VoIP traffic information that makes it easy to identify the source and the destination of the calls. It contains the following details:
 

1. Timestamp: Shows the date and time of the call.
 

2. Source IP address: Reveals the IP address of the device that generated the call.
 

3. Destination IP address: Reveals the IP address of the device that received the call.
 

4. Call Duration: Discloses the length of the call.
 

5. Protocol: Shows whether SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) or RTP (Real Time Protocol) was used. SIP rings the phone by looking up the IP address of the phone number if the phone is not busy, while RTP carries the media streams.

Dial Star 69

Dialing *69 will let you know the phone number of the last caller and give you the option to call the number back.

 

Depending on the country and the provider, you may also know the name of the caller. Some service providers charge a fee when using this feature.

 

This only works if the caller did not dial *67 before calling you, as it temporarily hides the caller ID.

Contact VoIP Service Provider

VoIP service providers can easily find the caller’s owner if they know the caller ID and timestamp. However, if the caller does not have a registered caller ID or IP address, the process becomes overwhelming.

 

However, the service provider may not provide you with the details you require as it will break the confidentiality they share with their customers. To get the details you will need to receive help from the police.

Notify Law Enforcement

Law enforcement has the legal authority to request a warrant or a court order to obtain user information and call records from VoIP providers.

 

Working with law enforcement ensures you stay within the legal boundary when tracing. Moreover, as the police force often collaborates with network administrators and ISPs (internet service providers) to track the IP address of the caller, VoIP tracing is more likely to be successful.

Challenges When Tracing a VoIP Phone Number

Tracing a VoIP phone number can be challenging, especially if you are an average person with no knowledge of networks. Not only do they lack physical address links, but they can also be enabled for anonymous calls.

Information Access

To trace a VoIP number, you may need access to call logs, originating IP addresses, registered caller ID, network logs, and time of the call. This information is not readily available for access, making it hard to trace VoIP calls. One can obtain the necessary information through cooperation with VoIP providers, ISPs, network administrators, and law enforcement agencies.

Data Protection And Privacy Laws

VoIP number providers prioritize user privacy to protect user information. In some countries, they limit access to call records and user details. Only with legal authority can one trace VoIP numbers without running into trouble with the police.

Limited Technical Knowledge

Tracing VoIP numbers will be difficult without knowledge of the inner workings of cellular systems. Most cops do not have the necessary expertise to trace calls and instead depend upon surveillance teams. If they do not have adequate knowledge, the police may not follow up with your request or complaint. This is unfortunate as only they have the right to issue warrants and ask VoIP providers to help with legal requests.

VoIP Networks Security Measures

Callers remain anonymous due to the extensive VoIP security measures from packet switching to data encryption. Packet switching is used to transfer data in a fast and efficient manner by dividing data. As the small data packets move independently through the network and may not travel through the same path, it is challenging to trace the call back to the owner, but not impossible.

VoIP Calls Privacy Concerns

VoIP can be secure but there are privacy and security concerns associated with VoIP if they are not properly secured.

 

Common VoIP security risks a business may face are Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS attacks), Vishing (VoIP phishing), call tampering, malware attacks, and Spam over IP Technology (SPIT). DDoS can be prevented by having VoIP on its network connection, and SPIT can be stopped by not answering calls that show dubious details on the Caller ID.

 

While these security risks can be easily solved, there are others that are harder to prevent, including Caller ID spoofing.

Are VoIP Numbers Used for Scams?

Scammers use VoIP numbers to make spam calls because they can easily hide their identities. However, not all calls from VoIP numbers are from scammers.

 

According to the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) report, the top 5 countries from which scams and fraud originate are the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

 

VoIP technology lets you choose the name and number that appears on the caller ID, making it easy for scammers to hide their actual number and location. Since scammers can appear to be from a local area, people are most likely to call and fall victim to scams such as fake IRS, banks, and police calls, tech support scams, fake surveys, and charity scams.

 

To avoid being scammed, do not give out your personal information, do not answer unfamiliar numbers or texts, and do not supply your financial information to anyone.

Can VoIP Calls be Monitored?

Law enforcement agencies and government authorities can monitor VoIP calls if they are under court order.
 

Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requirements for telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment are very strict. The 1994 statute states that telecommunications equipment, facilities, and services must be designed to meet legal requests for information.

Can VoIP Numbers be Spoofed?

 

 

Caller ID spoofing is a type of attack where a person pretends to be a legitimate user or business by displaying the Caller ID to reflect the impersonation. Since people no longer pick up calls that are toll-free, that have numbers from strange area codes, or those that do not display Caller ID, scammers started spoofing phone numbers that are local and from legitimate businesses.

 

It has become more frequent due to the increase in third-party Caller ID spoofing apps, such as SpoofCard, Dingtone, and SpoofTel, which allow anyone to alter their Caller ID to another number easily.

Conclusion

Just like any traditional phone calls, VoIP calls are not immune from being traced or monitored. Legal enforcement agencies can trace VoIP numbers in cooperation with VoIP service providers, mostly when there is an illegal operation. Tracing is more likely to be a success if it is a fixed VoIP number rather than a non-fixed number. It gets drastically difficult if the person calls from a place other than their home and employs a VPN. The level of traceability is also highly contingent upon the specific VoIP service provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to trace a VoIP number?

The easiest way to trace a VoIP number is by calling your service provider. The service provider can review the call logs to identify the caller ID and the IP address of the source. However, just because they can trace a VoIP number does not mean they are willing to do it, especially if there are legal or privacy issues prohibiting them from doing so.

Can you trace a non-fixed VoIP number?

You can technically trace a non-fixed VoIP number, but it is challenging as the number is not fixed to a location.

Can VoIP texts be traced?

VoIP texts can be traced like VoIP calls using the SIP protocol. Trackers cannot see the actual texts as they are encrypted. However, they can see the ID of the person who sent the text and the IP address.


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