Call tracing: How to trace a phone number

Telephone harassment is a crime. If you're receiving threatening or obscene calls, you can trace the source and get help from local law enforcement, even for calls coming from private and blocked phone numbers. Call Trace is already installed with your CenturyLink Home Phone Service. Here's how it works. 

How to trace a phone number

If you receive a harassing call: 

  1. Answer the phone or check the caller ID to see if it's a call you want to trace. Then, hang up on the caller. If caller ID shows a number that you know is malicious, you do not need to pick up the phone at all.
  2. After you have hung up, or after the call has stopped ringing, pick up the phone again and listen for a dial tone.
  3. Dial *57
  4. You will receive a recorded message with additional instructions for you to follow.
  5. After this, you will hear a message confirming whether the trace was successful along with any charges for the trace. 
  6. There may be a charge on your next bill. Keep in mind that you will not be given any information about the caller.

What's included in a successful trace

A successful trace captures the calling party's phone number and — if the phone number is serviced by CenturyLink — the name and address as well. The phone number, name and address (if available) are turned over to the CenturyLink Call Identification Center. 

For legal and privacy reasons, we aren't able to share the caller's personal details with you. We can only release this information if we receive a subpoena, court order, or a request from a law enforcement agency. 

Note: We are not authorized to answer questions about subpoenas or provide legal advice to our customers.

What you can do next

Normally, three successful traces of harassing calls originating from the same number are required before CenturyLink or local law enforcement can take action. Once you've traced a number three times, you can request to take action against the calling party. 

Contact us to discuss your next steps. Be prepared to share any relevant information with them, such as the dates and times you've received and traced harassing calls. 

You can also contact your local law enforcement and tell them that you've been receiving harassing calls and that you've traced those calls. Be sure to get the name and contact information of the officer who records your complaint. If an officer opens a case for you, make a note of the case number as well.

If your law enforcement agency has questions, have them contact the CenturyLink Law Enforcement Support Team at 1-877-451-1980. 

Common questions about Call Trace

Do I need to order Call Trace for an extra fee?
What happens if I successfully trace a call?
What happens if my trace is unsuccessful?
Where is Call Trace available?
What can I do about solicitation calls?
Can I trace unknown, blocked, or private numbers?
Is there a minimum time on the line to trace a call?

More information about Call Trace

You can download the user guide. If you have more questions about this calling feature, contact us.

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