TrapCall signals the end for anonymous phone calls

February 17, 2009

One of the biggest annoyances in life has to be the anonymous phone call. Whether it be a prank call, a stranger, or a company trying to sell you something, they’re never welcome. Thankfully, a new service called TrapCall is set to signal the end for anonymous phone calls.

Since the early 1990s it has been possible to shield your phone number when ringing someone. The system was set up with all the best intentions, making privacy possible, and giving people whose lives could depend on anonymity, such as victims of domestic violence, that choice. But as with everything, the system has been hijacked by spammers and ne’er-do-wells.

Personally, I never answer a phone call to someone when they’ve blocked their ID, but when the phone has stopped ringing, I’m left wondering who it was, whether it could have been important, and the like. Still, the way I see it, if it is anyone I actually want to talk to, they’ll surely ring back or contact me another way.

According to Wired, anonymous phone calls and Caller ID masking could now become a thing of the past thanks to TelTech systems’ TrapCall service. TrapCall unmasks anonymous callers and givers recipients options for what to do with that caller’s number and details.

TrapCall takes advantage of a loophole in the U.S. Caller ID blocking system which sees calls to toll-free numbers unblocked. TrapCall utilizes this loophole to unmask anonymous phone callers, with the offending call being looped through TelTech’s toll-free number, and then sent back to the original recipient.

This basic Fly Trap service is free, and comes with a blacklisting option for callers identified as unwanted. There is also the Mouse Trap service, which for $10 a month creates transcripts of voicemail messages and can reveal the name of the previously-anonymous caller. For $25 a month, Bear Trap records your incoming calls and can reveal the billing name and street address of the once-immune caller.

AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers in the States can now use the service, with other carriers expected to be added in the weeks ahead. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Europe is going to be included in the roll-out so I guess I’ll have to just keep ignoring the annoying anons who seem determined to talk to me.

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