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How to call a private number back

Updated November 21, 2016

It can be annoying to continually get calls from private numbers. These calls usually come from bill collectors and telemarketers, but some individuals choose to also have a private number to protect their privacy. Caller ID can identify the number of the person or company calling as long as the number isn't blocked. If the number is blocked, the message on the caller ID will usually say "private" or "unknown number." If you want to call a private number back there are some simple steps you can take.

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  1. Pick up the phone. You can only call back a private number if you pick up the phone before anyone else calls you.

  2. Dial 1471. Phone companies in the UK may allow you to call back a private number by simply dialling 1471. In the US this is usually 69

  3. Try other codes. The majority of the time 69 will work. However, it depends on your area. If the private caller is from your local area 57 should work. Other codes to try are 71 and 67. These codes are typically universal (the same) for most telephone companies. If all of these codes fail call your local telephone company to get the codes specific to the company you use.

  4. Stop private numbers from getting through. Most phone companies offer services such as call block, call rejection, call trap or call screening. In most cases it will cost you an extra £2.50 or more each month. Call your phone service provider to find out what is available in your area. If a person calls from a private number, your phone will require the individual to identify the number before getting through. These services are not always available in rural areas. You can also ask them they will give you a "Nuisance Call" number to ring back immediately after you get these calls so they can trace the caller.

  5. Hang up on private callers. If you simply don't want to hear from private callers you always have the option to hang up the phone. Even if you have a call screening service some people will enter all zeros just to get through. You always have the option to hang up on them or not answer the phone.

  6. Tip

    You can always start fresh with a new phone number, but be sure to get a non-published number to help prevent this from happening in the future.

    Be careful who you give your phone number to and avoid putting your home phone number on the Internet.


    If you feel like you are being harassed then you can contact your local police station.

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