Pranking is such a big part of American culture. Gag shows and April’s Fools? Who are we kidding? We love the fun and games. I doubt there’s a person in the country who hasn’t been in a prank before.
One of the most common pranks people do is prank calls. Compared to other stuff, it is low cost and easy to do. As long as you plan it well, it can be a ton of fun for the whole group.
Like all things, there is a fine line between the perfect prank call and harassment. 2-3 repeat calls should be fine. If it is with a friend, you can probably bring that number up to 5-10. However, there is nothing worse than having your phone blasted with consecutive calls.
If you have been getting many prank calls, find out their number and start your prank call war.
How Do You Know It’s A Prank Call?
First things first - find out if it’s a prank call or not. Prank calls are very distinctive.
1. They are usually an unknown number.
An unknown number means the person on the other end masked their caller ID. Masking your phone number is one of the cardinal rules of prank calling. Who knows, the person on the other end might be a neighbor or a friend.
Dealing with unlisted numbers is uncommon but still a possibility. An unlisted number means that it is a private line that isn’t available in any directory. People go to their service provider for this. Unless a person with a private line is randomly calling strangers - there is a high chance that this is a scam call.
2. They usually have a bit.
Unless the prankster is a kid who has nothing to say - prank calls usually have a bit. They always call with an unreasonable request or a lucrative offer. When you stay on the call long enough, they reveal themselves.
The main difference between a prank and scam call is the content. What kind of questions did they have? What information did they want? What is their main request? Prank calls fish for info so they can have something to improvise with.
Scam calls fish for info because they want to build a dossier on your identity.
Such a big difference in intent, no?
So there are 4 different types of calls you can receive. The first are legitimate calls - family, friends, work, etc. You know who they are and what they want.
The second is a spam call or robocall. They are random and automated. You can’t even cuss them out because the messages are pre-recorded. You don’t want to call these numbers back because it tells them that your number is still in use. All you can do is ignore and block.
The third type of call is a scam call. In general, you should not engage with scammers. They have a way of mining information in ways you don’t expect. But if you are up for it, you can also collect these scammer’s numbers and have a little fun on your own.
And the fourth type is the prank call, and prank calls are fair game.
How To Find Out Who’s Prank Calling You?
There are several ways you can find out who’s prank calling you. But each method has varying degrees of success and cost. Find out which method best suits you!
Check Reverse Phone Directories
Inexperienced pranksters often prank call without masking their number. You can say that this is the equivalent of having your pants down in prank calling. You always have to mask your number. If you don’t, you risk getting caught.
When you have their number, you can either call them back on another day and fish out a bit of info. Maybe you can call asking about a pizza order or an Amazon delivery. Anything generic to get a name to attach to the number.
If that doesn’t work, you can use reverse phone directories to look them up. Here the numbers are listed first, then their name and (sometimes) address. Technically, the gray pages are for emergency services and government agencies. However, you can find several versions are available online. Some of these reverse phone directories are available for free, and others aren’t. It largely depends on how big their database is.
Browse through the free directories first and try to see if you have any luck.
Call Them Back
Even if you don’t have their number, you can try your luck with a call-return code. After the last call, dial *69 or *82. These codes vary, so double check what applies in your state. The phone company will usually dictate the unknown number. Keep your pen and paper ready.
When you have their number, try calling again. If the number is busy or unavailable, there is a high chance it is just a spam call. But if you get someone else on the line and they don’t have a service/ script ready, it’s probably a prank call.
Unmask Their Number
Most prank calls use *67 to mask their calls. The only people who can really unmask calls with no caller ID are emergency services and the police. You have to look into creative solutions to make it happen.
When an unknown call is finished, dial *57. It triggers the malicious call identification. Sounds pretty extreme, right? The fact is that phone companies can’t freely give out numbers. It is a violation of privacy. So this is the next best thing. It keeps track of the calls you deem malicious and make it easier for law enforcement to track.
The call trace does work - it’s just something you can’t really use to prank call back.
There are third-party apps that unmask unknown numbers and blocked numbers. Most of them were created to help deal with harassment calls, but it should work with prank calls too. Unfortunately, it isn’t free. You have to pay a monthly subscription.
If you don’t mind spending the cash, you can try TrapCall or TrueCaller. They screen your calls. First, decline the call, and these apps will go to work and trace the call. They won’t stay anonymous for long. When you visit the app - you can find their number and other basic public domain info.
Note that these apps can’t trace phone numbers that were called in the past. If you are trying to track a specific someone, you won’t have any luck here.
Hire A Private Investigator
Determined to catch that prankster? And you want to have their number as well? Hire a private investigator. Their fees are higher than any of the other suggestions here, but they deliver results.
Check the directories near you and do your research. Make sure they have a private investigation license, and the rules vary. 53 states require a state license. 3 out of the remaining 7 states require licenses on a local level - and for 1 state, it is voluntary. You can cross-check their credentials by learning the requirements in each state.
When you find out who is prank calling you - let the games begin. For inspiration, Ownage Pranks has several prank ideas you can try. Take on a new persona and have fun! To make your prank call more believable, we have free soundboards you can use.
If you are not ready to take on these pranksters, we can take over. Request a prank call with Ownage, and we are sure to get them back in the best-worst way possible!