Have you received a phone call with the words “VoIP caller” in the caller ID? If you’re scratching your head wondering what VoIP caller means, Forbes Advisor has the answers. Instead of calling through a traditional business phone service, seeing “VoIP caller” flash across your screen simply means that the person calling is using VoIP technology.
Let’s break down what a VoIP caller is, explain the basics of VoIP technology and answer the most common questions about VoIP calls.
VoIP Caller Meaning
A VoIP caller is someone who is calling you using a VoIP system, instead of from a carrier like Verizon or AT&T. VoIP stands for “voice-over-internet-protocol,” and all VoIP calls are routed through an internet connection instead of through cell towers, wires or fiber-optic cables.
What is a VoIP system?
A VoIP system is a type of technology that allows you to make calls over a broadband internet connection. When you make a VoIP call, a VoIP system converts your voice into a digital signal that gets transferred over the internet through a router. This signal is then translated into a regular phone signal before it reaches whoever you’re calling.
Who Uses VoIP Technology?
VoIP technology is used in both personal and business settings. If you’ve ever called anyone through your computer with Skype, Google Voice or Facebook Messenger, you’ve used VoIP technology.
Businesses use VoIP technology to conduct their day-to-day tasks. About 35% of businesses currently use VoIP, and the VoIP industry is expected to grow 15% year over year from now until 2027. VoIP services also typically come with attractive, cost-effective features like call forwarding, auto-attendant and call encryption that may make them a more suitable option than a traditional phone line.
Reasons to Use VoIP
VoIP is growing in popularity because there are several key advantages to using it over a traditional phone system. With VoIP numbers, businesses can:
- Save on costs. Companies can reap big savings when they switch to VoIP because it doesn’t require as much specialized hardware as regular phones do. You can use your existing computers, internet provider and phones—you just need to download the app for your VoIP service of choice.
- Make calls from anywhere. Most modern VoIP providers offer cloud-based services, meaning you can make calls from anywhere, so long as you have a softphone app installed on your device. You don’t need to be in a physical office to make and take calls.
- Enjoy complete portability. VoIP numbers are portable. If your business moves offices, you can still keep the same numbers.
- Increase security. VoIP is hosted over an internet connection, so it typically uses IP technology to encrypt calls and identify potential security threats.
- Scale their operations faster. Since VoIP doesn’t require much specialized hardware, it’s much easier and cheaper to add more lines if needed. In contrast, scaling a traditional phone service would require buying additional telephones and lines, which can get costly.
How do I Identify a VoIP Caller?
If you don’t know who’s calling or need to know how to tell if a call is from a VoIP number, there are several methods you can use to identify a VoIP caller. You can try:
- Activating your caller ID. Make sure your caller ID features are turned on.
- Using a reverse phone lookup service. There are many free and paid phone lookup services that can help you identify a caller.
- CNAM (Caller ID Name) lookup. The CNAM is the name that may be tied to the VoIP number or caller. If the CNAM shows up on your device when you receive calls, you can look it up to find out more about where it’s coming from.
- Using a softphone or hardphone. If you’re using a softphone or hardphone to receive calls, you can install what’s known as a packet analyzer to help you log the traffic that comes over your network. If you received a VoIP call, you can use the packet analyzer to show the IP details of the call, and then look up the IP address.
- Checking the domain. Some VoIP calls will show a domain associated with them, similar to an email address. Look up the domain that appears to find out more about the caller.
How do I Block VoIP Calls?
If you’re receiving unwanted VoIP calls, there are a few methods you can try to make them stop, such as:
- Blocking the number using your device’s built-in blocking features.
- Entering your phone number into the national Do Not Call registry. This is a database maintained by the federal government for those who don’t wish to be contacted by telemarketers or salespeople.
Another option is to block calls through your router, which is more technical. To do this, you will need to find out which VoIP application the caller is using and which ports are being used. Once you have this information, you can enter it into your router’s control panel to successfully block incoming calls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does “VoIP caller” mean it’s a scam?
Not necessarily. VoIP phone services are very popular amongst small, medium and enterprise-level businesses, so your call could be coming from a legitimate source. You can identify a VoIP phone number by searching and verifying the IP address, domain or provider that it came from, or by doing a reverse phone lookup.
Can a VoIP call be traced?
It depends. If the VoIP number is fixed, that means it’s tied to a physical address, like an office building, and you can successfully trace it. If it’s non-fixed, that means it’s not tied to any specific geolocation, so it would be very difficult or nearly impossible to trace without law enforcement.
Can you call back a VoIP number?
Yes. You can call back any VoIP number, whether it’s fixed or non-fixed.