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What Are the Different Ways to Reverse Caller ID?

By Susan Abe
Updated: May 16, 2024

Caller identification, caller ID or CID, is a now routine technology that allows someone receiving a telephone call to see the name and telephone number of the individual or business attempting to make contact with him or her. The individual being called then has the option of accepting the telephone call at that moment, returning the telephone call at another time or simply ignoring the attempted contact and any message left. The technology is not foolproof. The US's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warns of con artists who manipulate the technology to reflect erroneous names and telephone numbers in a process known as spoofing. In addition, this technology is not a permanent installation and a user can reverse caller ID by codes, telephone settings or contacting his telephone company or cell phone carrier.

A long-term method to reverse caller ID is to contact the telephone company or cell phone carrier associated with the number. Depending upon the company, obtaining an anonymous "Unknown Caller" identity may incur an additional monthly cost. This method will remain in effect for all outgoing telephone calls until the service is discontinued by contacting the company; however, some companies allow a caller to temporarily show the full caller ID information on a call-by-call basis by dialing a code prior to each telephone number. This feature is known as per line blocking.

Some brands of mobile phones, particularly smartphones, allow their users to reverse caller ID in their system settings menu. This anonymity is usually free of charge as part of the telephone options; however, charges may apply with some mobile carriers. The setting will remain in effect until the telephone owner changes the system settings to again display his name and number.

Regardless of whether a mobile phone or a landline telephone number is involved, a caller can reverse caller ID on a per call basis. This is put into effect by entering or dialing the code *67. There is no cost associated with this service and the code must be reentered prior to each outgoing telephone call to continue the caller's anonymity.

When calls are made to certain numbers, reverse caller ID may not work. For example, this service will not work if an emergency number like 911, a police or a poison control telephone number is dialed. Many toll-free telephone numbers will also continue to show the name and telephone number of the caller despite any call blocks in place.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By cloudel — On Oct 13, 2011

Apparently not all criminals know that *67 doesn’t work when you call 911. A robber found that out the hard way when he robbed my mom’s house and tied her to a chair.

He didn’t want to hurt her, and he hadn’t expected anyone to be home when he broke in. She fought him, so he defended himself, and he ended up fracturing her arm.

He had some form of a conscience, because he didn’t want to leave her there in pain with no help on the way. So, he took out his cell phone, dialed *67, and handed it to her so she could request an ambulance.

Once she had given the operator her address, he took his phone and ran away with her money and jewelry. However, caller ID picked up his name, so he got arrested soon after that.

By OeKc05 — On Oct 12, 2011

My brother set up his smartphone to hide his identity. He had suspicions that his wife was cheating on him, and he needed anonymity to catch her in the act.

On their land line, they had been receiving several calls from an unknown number. Whenever he answered, the person hung up, but if she answered, she took the phone in the other room and talked softly.

After reversing caller ID on his cell, he called his home one night when he told his wife he had to go out of town. A man answered, so he hung up. The next night, my brother called home again, and this time, his wife answered and said, “I’ve been waiting for you. Last night was the best night of my life!”

By StarJo — On Oct 12, 2011

I used to answer calls from unknown numbers. After awhile, I figured out that the calls were almost always from telemarketers, so I stopped answering them.

When I lived with my parents, they used to get a ton of these calls. I remember being so disappointed every time I saw “unknown number” on the caller ID.

I’m pretty sure they were set up with a reverse caller ID service. It would be too time-consuming and troublesome for them to have to dial a code before every call. They called my parents about three times a day, so I imagine they made thousands of calls each day.

By wavy58 — On Oct 12, 2011

I learned about *67 as a teenager. My friends and I used to use it when we did prank calls.

I also used it a time or two when calling a guy who wouldn’t return my calls. I got all giggly and forgetful on dates, and I usually left something in the guy’s car that I needed back.

If he refused to answer my call, I knew that he didn’t want to go out again. However, I still wanted my lipstick, hairbrush, or sweater back, so I would dial *67 until I got in touch with him to ask for it.

By EdRick — On Oct 11, 2011

@ElizaBennett - The main thing I can think of is if you are trying to get in touch with a business that you suspect of ducking your calls. Like your landlord, a place that owes you a refund, etc. These people may know your number and avoid picking up because they don't want to talk to you, but after a while, you get tired of leaving messages that you know they won't return anyway.

Enter reverse Caller ID. Turn off your number. A business will usually pick up an unknown caller because it could be a new customer.

By abemartinez — On Oct 11, 2011

I agree that reversing call ID is often used for all the wrong reasons and I never answer the telephone when the caller's ID is blocked. It would be prudent, however, for someone to use to keep their cell number private, for instance. Thanks for your comment.

By ElizaBennett — On Oct 11, 2011

Are there any *legitimate* reasons to reverse caller ID? Why would you want to trick someone you're calling?

I actually haven't seen "unknown number" pop up on my phone in a long, long time. I think businesses are avoiding this now because so many people have their phones set up to block any unidentified calls.

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