How to Trace a VoIP Call? Can we Lookup Caller ID?

trace a voip call and lookup caller id

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Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology enables voice communication and multimedia sessions over the Internet rather than traditional telephone networks by converting voice signals into digital data packets. This method offers significant advantages over traditional phone systems, including lower costs and increased mobility.

Have you ever received a suspicious or spam VoIP call and wondered where it came from? Or perhaps you’ve been concerned about the authenticity of the caller ID information? 

Well, receiving suspicious or spam calls can be a frustrating experience, and it’s natural to be curious about where they originate from and whether the caller ID information is authentic. With digitalisation in communication, identifying suspicious VoIP calls can feel like playing detective. You can uncover the true origins of VoIP calls by utilising different techniques, from packet analysis to reverse phone lookup services.

Read further to get insights into the different techniques and resources for tracking VoIP calls and confirming caller ID details. Comprehending these methods is essential to ensuring VoIP communication’s security and reliability.

Is it possible to track VoIP calls?

The answer depends on the type of VoIP number being used. As mentioned earlier, VoIP calls themselves can be intercepted and traced to some extent due to the data packets they travel on. However, the level of detail you can obtain depends on whether the number is fixed or non-fixed.

Tracing fixed VoIP numbers, which are associated with physical locations, is generally easier than tracing non-fixed VoIP numbers, which can be used from anywhere with an internet connection. In the next section, we’ll explore how to trace Fixed and Non-Fixed VoIP Numbers.

Tracing Fixed vs. Non-Fixed VoIP Numbers

Tracing fixed versus non-fixed VoIP numbers requires knowledge of these number nature as well as the application of particular techniques to locate their sources. Here’s a breakdown of the process and methods used for each:

Fixed VoIP Numbers

Fixed VoIP numbers are associated with specific physical addresses, similar to traditional landline numbers. They are typically assigned to a specific address or location and registered with a VoIP service provider. Tracing fixed VoIP numbers involves accessing call detail records (CDRs) maintained by VoIP providers. These records include information that can be used to determine the call’s origin, including the caller’s IP address, timestamps, and call duration.

Non-Fixed VoIP Numbers

Non-fixed VoIP numbers, also known as virtual or nomadic VoIP numbers, are not associated with a specific physical location. They can be used anywhere with an internet connection and are often linked to mobile apps or web-based VoIP services. Tracking down non-fixed VoIP phone numbers can be challenging due to their mobile nature and the lack of fixed addresses. Yet, similar methods, like call packet analysis, CDR access, and using IP geolocation services to associate the caller’s IP address with a specific location, can be applied.

Different Techniques to Trace VoIP Calls

VoIP calls tracing typically involves a mix of legal procedures and technical techniques. The following methods are often used to track VoIP calls:

  1. Packet Analysis: VoIP calls are transmitted over the Internet as separate data packets. These packets can be recorded and examined using programs like Wireshark. The IP addresses of the caller and the recipient can be found by tracking the call’s path via the Internet and analysing packet headers and content. However, access to network infrastructure and technical know-how are prerequisites for this approach.
  2. Cooperation with Service Providers: VoIP service providers log call data, including IP addresses, timestamps, and user account details. These providers can collaborate with law enforcement to obtain the necessary details through lawful means. Subpoenas and warrants may be issued to obtain call logs and other VoIP call-related metadata.
  3. Legal Measure: Law enforcement agencies have the legal right to demand that VoIP service providers reveal information about certain calls by obtaining warrants or court orders. Call logs, IP addresses, user account information, and other metadata may be included in these legal requests. Subject to relevant laws and regulations, service providers must abide by these legal requests.
  4. Forensic Analysis: Forensic specialists can examine VoIP call-related digital data in cases involving criminal conduct. Determining the call’s origin might involve poring through system logs, call logs, network traffic, and other digital artefacts. To effectively evaluate and analyse digital evidence, forensic analysis needs certain knowledge and equipment.
  5. Social Engineering: In some cases, investigators may use social engineering methods to learn where a VoIP call originated. Obtaining information from the caller or their service provider could involve assuming the identity of an authorised user or service provider. Since social engineering techniques rely on coercing people into disclosing private information, they can be employed as a component of a more comprehensive investigative plan.

Also read:

How to Lookup Caller ID of VoIP Calls?

Verifying Caller ID information of VoIP calls can be more challenging compared to traditional telephone systems due to the ease of spoofing caller ID data. However, there are still methods and techniques available to attempt to identify the true origin of a VoIP call:

  1. Reverse Phone Lookup Services: Some online services claim to offer Caller ID lookup of VoIP calls by allowing users to search for information associated with a phone number, such as the owner’s name and location. However, the accuracy and reliability of these services can vary, and they may not always yield accurate results for VoIP numbers.
  2. Call Authentication Protocols: Implementing protocols like Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP) and Secure Telephony Identity Revisited (STIR) can enhance caller ID authentication and help prevent spoofing. These protocols aim to verify the authenticity of caller ID information by validating it against cryptographic keys and certificates. When a call is made, it is accompanied by a digital signature that confirms the caller’s authenticity.
  3. Carrier Cooperation: Collaboration between VoIP service providers and telecommunications carriers can help validate caller ID information and detect fraudulent activity. By sharing information and implementing measures to verify the legitimacy of calls, providers can enhance the reliability of Caller ID information on VoIP calls.

Tools and Software for Tracing VoIP Calls

VoIP call tracing involves using specialised tools and programmes to locate the call’s origin, analyse call flow, and collect relevant data for security and administrative needs. The following are a few of the best tools and software for tracking VoIP calls:

  1. Wireshark: A popular network protocol analyser that enables thorough call packet inspection by capturing and analysing VoIP traffic.  It enables thorough examination of call setup, teardown, and in-call media streams by capturing SIP and RTP packets. In order to diagnose problems or track down call sources, users can decode different VoIP protocols, visualise call flows, and apply filters to isolate VoIP data.
  2. VoIP Monitor: VoIP Monitor is specialised software with features including call recording, real-time monitoring, and in-depth traffic analysis that is intended for the monitoring and analysis of VoIP traffic. It records RTP streams and SIP signalling, allowing administrators to provide detailed reports, track call pathways, and evaluate call quality. Its real-time data, which include MOS scores and packet loss, facilitate the efficient identification and troubleshooting of VoIP problems.
  3. SIPVicious: A collection of security tools, such as scanning, enumeration, and fingerprinting tools, for auditing and testing SIP-based VoIP systems. It helps in tracing VoIP calls through the identification of specific SIP implementations, the detection of active SIP devices, and the collection of SIP account and extension data. This is a critical tool for tracking down the source of calls as well as locating possible security holes in the VoIP system.
  4. Elastix: Elastix is open-source Unified Communications Server software that includes IP PBX, email, IM, faxing, and collaboration functions. It facilitates the tracking of VoIP calls and offers information on the start, duration, and end of calls with the use of thorough PBX logs and Call Detail Records (CDRs). Real-time monitoring and reporting features improve its capacity to track and evaluate call performance and problems.
  5. Ostel: Ostel is a project that uses free software and open standards to provide secure VoIP communication. It can be used for Secure SIP communication, encrypted voice calls, and privacy-focused VoIP services. Ostel ensures that VoIP calls remain private and secure, making it essential to trace calls in environments where security and privacy are paramount.

Conclusion

Understanding and tracking suspicious VoIP conversations is essential in today’s digital communications environment. While VoIP technology provides advantages such as cost savings and mobility, it also poses problems with determining call origins due to caller ID spoofing and the usage of non-fixed numbers. Techniques such as packet analysis, legal procedures, and collaboration with VoIP service providers can aid in the tracking of these calls. Implementing call authentication standards and encouraging collaboration among service providers improves caller ID reliability, ensuring the trustworthiness of VoIP conversations.

If you have further questions or need assistance in securing your VoIP infrastructure, don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s work together to maximise VoIP technology’s potential while maintaining the privacy and integrity of our interactions.

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