This is an interesting question that you might have asked yourself but never bothered to find the best solution. You may be receiving lots of calls each day as private and others as unknown calls. What distinguishes the two? 

The first thing you need to beware of is that all calls pass through destination exchange before reaching the targeted person. This is where the magic can happen. You may notify the destination exchange to prevent people from seeing your number when you reach out to them.

A private number means that your caller deliberately decided to hide his number while calling you. There are many ways and reasons someone may choose to do so. It could be that the person dialed 141 before making the call to withhold his or her number. 

Alternatively, some individuals set private as their defaults when making any call. Although, they can release their numbers on some calls when they dial 1470 before the actual number they want to call.
Difference Between Private Number And Unknown Number?
Now there is the 'unknown' number that tends to trouble almost everyone. This means that the destination exchange did not receive the caller number. There are reasons as to why this happens. In most cases, you might see unknown numbers when receiving calls from some centers, calling cards, or international calls. 

You should not be troubled by this situation. It can result from a hitch in the network that made the exchange have issues with passing forward the number. You can also tell the difference between private and unknown calls when you receive a message while using 1471

Private means the caller preferred to withhold his or her number where unknown calls mean the exchange does not have the caller's information.

How Can You Call Back Private Numbers?

The best thing about technology is that you can control almost everything. This means, as much as someone decided to contact you with a private contact, you can as well unmask. Maybe you want to identify the caller to confront or for any other personal reason.

What You Should Know?

Telephone companies provide Last Call Return services. With this, you can use *69 to dial the last contact that reached out to you. However, this can have limits.
  • Be careful while using *69. This is because you may alert scammers of your availability. This can trigger more private calls.
  • There are multiple ways you can call back and decipher private numbers.
  • Let us dig through five ways that you can use to track and call back your private numbers.

Calling Private Numbers Free Using *69

Beware that the FCC directive allows private calling. All in all, you can use the Last CallReturn service offered by telephone companies. With this service, you can contact the last contact that called you. It does not matter whether you received the call from a private number. 

The best thing is that you may access the service for free. Dial *69 (in the United States) or your mobile phone or landline before receiving another call to use the service. After the person answers back, ask who you are speaking to.

The only demerit with this approach is that it depends on your service provider. For instance, some providers will supply you with a computer-generated record telling you the number and an option to make a call. With others, you can call the private contact but you will not access the number. 

However, this service is not available for all phones. Some telephone service providers limit the time you can track the number to 30 minutes from the time you received the call. Keep in mind that the *69 services may worsen the problem. Some private numbers are from people who want to know whether your contact is active. By contacting them you confirm so and they can share your contact information with scammers.

Check Telephone Provider Logs

Phone service providers keep logs for all your outgoing and incoming calls. You can access the list by logging in to your account using your password. In some cases, you will find a private caller's contact in the list. You can tell the number by identifying the log and determine the time you received the blocked call. 

Keep in mind that the amount of time that you will find the call records active varies depending on your phone carrier. Typically, the records will be active from 1 to 7 years. This is because they may be used for criminal investigation purposes.

Use Reverse Phone Lookup

In case you accessed the number, you can use reverse number lookup for more details. You can type the contact in Google and tell whether it came from a landline or a phone. You can also tell the location in which the cellphone is registered. However, you may have to pay an access fee in some conditions for a complete report. You may receive a refund in case the service was unsuccessful.

Using Services

You can use paid services like TrapCall to unmask private numbers. TrapCall reveals all blocked and private callers. With it, you can access the contact and the place where the phone is registered. You can also identify the address of the caller. 

The best thing with TrapCall is that you can use the blacklist option and block any future calls. Download the TrapCall App for iOS or Android and enjoy the service.

Activating Call-Tracing

Call tracing another method you can use to reveal private callers. Some phone providers provide the call-tracing option to help you end uninvited calls that maybe harassing, unlawful, threatening, or obscene. 

You can activate the service by dialing #57 or *57. With some providers, you will have to pay a mall fee while others offer the service with no pay. Keep in mind that you might not access the service on your mobile device.


As much as it is a thin line, there exists a difference between an unknown number and a private number. There are several reasons that you may receive such calls. With private numbers, it means that your caller decided to be anonymous. Unknown calls in most cases are due to network hitches. However, you can still unmask private contact. You have several options to do it. But, mind your safety since not all private calls are genuine.