How to Unblock Incoming Phone Numbers


It's not always easy to know if you want to answer a blocked caller ID, which might show up as "Blocked," "Unknown," or "Private" in your caller ID. You'd like to answer, as it might be a friend or family member. On the other hand, the last person you want to talk to is a telemarketer. There are techniques you can use to effectively unblock a caller ID, or you can purchase a service that unmasks or unblocks caller IDs.

  • Let the call go to voicemail. Many people leave their names, phone numbers and reasons they're calling on voice messages. If you receive a blocked caller ID, the easiest way to "unblock" it is to let it roll over to voicemail, then listen to the message.

  • Call the number back. Many landlines and cell phones have Redial buttons---if you want to call back a blocked number, press Redial, making sure the blocked call was the last incoming call. If a person answers, explain you received a call from that blocked number and politely request that number. If you get a message recording, listen carefully as the person's name and number may be on it. If you don't have a Redial button on your phone, call the phone manufacturer and ask if it offers a redial feature. For example, on cell phones, a redial feature might be under "History" or "Options".

  • Order Anonymous Call Rejection. This service is typically for landlines only. Check with your cell phone provider, whose number is on your monthly statements, and ask if it provides this service. This service automatically blocks incoming calls. Instead of the call ringing through to your phone, the caller instead hears a recording that you do not accept blocked calls, and that he must unblock his call for it to ring through. If the caller unblocks his call, his name and/or phone number displays on your caller ID. There is typically a monthly charge for this service.

  • Sign up with TrapCall. TrapCall is a fee-based service that unmasks blocked caller IDs, displaying instead the caller's name and/or phone number. For a free trial, go to, click the "Try Trapcall free" button in the lower left corner of the Web page, and follow the instructions.

  • Sign up with an unblocking service. One such service is Unblock Private Numbers, which forwards incoming blocked calls to a toll-free number that unmasks the blocking, then forwards the caller's name and/or phone number to your caller ID. To sign up, go to, scroll down the page to "Step-By-Step Instructions," click the "Click here" link in Step 1 and follow the instructions.

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