Have you received a phone call, and the term “Unknown Caller” appeared in the caller ID and wondered what that might be?
In most cases, it might be a VoIP caller, and there’s nothing to worry about. VoIP callers are often businesses that prefer to contact your phone number through the internet, rather than use traditional providers due to costs.
But there’s more to it. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the VoIP caller meaning, see who might be behind these calls, and determine whether any security risks are involved in answering these calls.
VoIP Caller Meaning
In short, VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.
Instead of reaching out to you via traditional telephony carriers, VoIP callers use the internet dial and contact your phone number.
Although the call may seem like it’s coming from another phone on your end, you can identify a person who uses VoIP by the “VoIP Caller” term in the caller ID.
What is VoIP?
VoIP is a technology that enables you to make calls via an internet connection. It converts your voice signals into data packets that travel over the internet.
Therefore, people can use VoIP to make calls from any device, as long as they have a stable internet connection.
Who Uses VoIP Technology?
VoIP technology is getting increasingly popular amongst businesses. It allows companies to communicate with employees and customers easily. Moreover, VoIP enables businesses to make international calls without worrying about extra costs.
However, due to its untraceability, low cost, and security risks, VoIP is also commonly used among scammers. They use this technology as regular companies or breach phone systems to listen in on calls and access valuable information.
Why do People Use VoIP?
One of the primary reasons why people use VoIP, especially businesses, is costs.
A landline phone system may cost around $50/month/line. In contrast, VoIP and business phone system providers charge roughly $20/line.
Also, unlike traditional telephony providers, most VoIP systems provide unlimited long-distance and international calls at no extra cost.
Furthermore, since VoIP systems do not necessarily require on-premise infrastructure, businesses can save a considerable amount of money they would otherwise have spent on equipment, set-ups, and maintenance.
Another advantage of VoIP systems is their accessibility. Since calls are handled on the internet, VoIP is an appealing option for businesses looking to conduct remote work. VoIP systems allow companies to make phone calls at any given place during any given time.
Lastly, VoIP systems are convenient. Most VoIP providers offer unified communications, meaning businesses can keep in touch with employees or customers via voice calls, video calls, and texts through a single dashboard.
VoIP solutions also integrate with other business apps, like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or team collaboration platforms, to enhance a company’s communication capabilities further.
Not to mention that businesses have access to advanced features which help them streamline their workflows, like call analytics, voicemail transcriptions, auto-attendants, and more.
VoIP Service Providers
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How do I Identify a VoIP Caller?
There are multiple ways you can identify a VoIP caller.
First, you can use many of the reverse phone lookup services you can find online, like NumLookup or AnyWho. All you need to do is to type in the phone number, and you’ll find the phone number owner’s name.
These phone lookup services work by establishing partnerships with all the major mobile companies worldwide. Once you type in the unknown caller’s phone number, the lookup service will make API phone calls to the phone company operating the said number to reveal the owner’s information.
Other services scour through white pages to determine whether the unknown phone number matches with someone registered.
Secondly, if you use softphones or hardphones, you could identify a VoIP caller with packet analyzers. These network monitoring tools track data coming in and out of a network and allow you to easily track calls that enter your network and reveal the calls’ IP details. You can later use that information to pinpoint where the calls come from.
For hardphones, you can use the packet analyzer found on your server or router. If you use a softphone, you can use software like Wireshark or PacketScan.
Third, if you use VoIP, you can contact your VoIP provider and show them the Caller ID and when the call was made. If the unknown caller has their IP address or Caller ID registers, the VoIP provider can track it down quickly.
Lastly, you can check the VoIP domain. Like an email address, you can verify the VoIP domain to find the caller’s IP address and uncover more information.
How do I Block VoIP Calls?
There are multiple ways to block VoIP calls. On the one hand, you can block a VoIP number through your phone’s blocking features, like any other regular phone number.
On the other hand, if you’re in the United States, you can use the National Do Not Call registry. This website is run by the Federal Trade Commission, the national consumer protection agency.
You can register your home or mobile phone number on this website, and you should stop receiving telemarketing calls.
Also, if you use VoIP, most providers offer blocklist features that allow you to block multiple numbers.
VoIP Fraud, Phishing, and Security Risks
Since VoIP relies on the internet, there are plenty of vulnerabilities for scammers and hackers to exploit, like VoIP fraud and phishing.
With VoIP fraud, hackers can infiltrate VoIP systems and take control of their services. One common type of VoIP fraud is toll fraud. Hackers generate a high volume of premium calls, then collect the profits.
There is also call spoofing. In short, this tactic involves tricking caller IDs into showing false information so they can get you to answer the scammers’ calls or voicemails.
Scammers can impersonate local numbers or other trusted contacts within your area to scam victims out of money or acquire personal information. This tactic is also known as VoIP phishing.
You can prevent being a victim of this scam by double-checking your incoming phone calls and not revealing sensitive information over the phone.
Moreover, here are a few ways you can identify whenever a caller is trying to extract personal information for malicious purposes:
- Adding a sense of urgency – insisting that they need your information right away so you can avoid dire consequences
- Asking for passwords – no legitimate company or government agency will ever need your password to offer their services
- Big promises – scammers may promise large amounts of money or prizes to persuade you into giving crucial details
However, scammers can also use your phone number to mask their identities and call someone else.
Some tell-tale signs revealing that your phone number is spoofed:
- Incoming texts or calls from conversations you were not involved in
- Receiving calls and messages from people asking who you are
- Incoming calls that are from your phone number
To prevent this, read and conditions thoroughly on any website or app that requires your phone number, and be sure to uncheck any consent boxes that allow your information to be sold or shared with third-party data vendors.
Pros and Cons of Using VoIP Service for Businesses
VoIP Caller Pros
- Cost-effective – prices range from $15 to $60/user/month
- Does not require dedicated hardware – you can use your current desktops, laptops, or smartphones
- Unified communications – voice calls, video calls, texts, etc.
- A broad set of features – auto-attendants, call analytics, call whispering, etc.
- Integrations with CRMs and other collaboration tools – streamlines workflows
- Allows for remote work
- Global communication
- Scalable – most providers offer pricing plans fit for any business size
- VoIP providers handle maintenance
VoIP Caller Cons
- VoIP call quality depends on your internet connection
- Prone to security risks – data breaches, VoIP frauds, etc.
VoIP Caller FAQs
Should I answer a VoIP caller?
You can, but be sure to ask the caller for clarification on who they are or look up the number on the internet while the call is ongoing or ringing.
Also, keep an eye out for any potential red flags that might indicate a scam, like a caller insisting on getting your personal information ASAP to avoid serious consequences.
Can you trace a VoIP call?
Yes, there are several methods you can trace a VoIP call. For instance, many phone lookup services on the internet will reveal the caller’s information.
You can also check the caller’s VoIP domain and use that to gather more details.
How can you tell if someone is using VoIP?
The reverse phone lookup method should work. Furthermore, enable the Caller ID feature on your phone. If a company calls you, their name will appear on your display instead of their phone number.
Are VoIP Calls Scam?
In most cases, no. But some hackers and scammers will use VoIP’s vulnerabilities to infiltrate company systems or extract personal information for malicious purposes.
Overall, VoIP technology is mainly used by businesses. It’s cost-effective, doesn’t require dedicated equipment, and allows companies to streamline their workflow and reach a much broader list of contacts.
Answering a VoIP call is generally safe. Still, don’t let your guard down! Avoid sharing personal information over the phone and always double-check where the call comes from.