TrapCall Reveals Blocked Caller ID
I've read about TrapCall, a service that claims to be able to reveal the true caller for calls where the callerID info is blocked or hidden. Does Trapcall really work? Are there any privacy concerns or gotchas?
TrapCall - Free CallerID Unblocking Service
Although it's only been around for about a month, TrapCall is already getting a lot of notice. Let's explore this new service that offers to reveal the calling name and number for incoming calls that have the callerID blocked.
The premise for TrapCall is pretty straightforward. Trapcall reveals the caller info for calling numbers that have been blocked or restricted. So if that nasty guy from the collection agency is after you again, instead of seeing PRIVATE or RESTRICTED on your callerID, Trapcall will show the unblocked calling number.
There is no software or download needed for TrapCall and it works with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless users, but only in the USA. Trapcall says they are working on expanding coverage to Canada and other mobile providers carriers in the near future. You do not have to change numbers, all that's necessary is signing up on the site. Trapcall works in conjunction with the call forwarding feature offered by your carrier, so you might want to check and see if they charge a fee for that feature. If your carrier is T-Mobile with a FlexPay, Prepaid, or Family Plan, they do not allow conditional call forwarding, so you either have to change your plan or move along.
How Does TrapCall Reveal Hidden CallerID Info?
Here's how it works. When someone calls your cell phone, you either press the "Ignore" button or just don't answer. This will trigger the conditional call forwarding feature, and forward the call to TrapCall. TrapCall intercepts the call, unmasks it and forwards it back to your phone. The beauty of it is that the caller does not know that they have been identified.
So how can Trapcall unblock the calling party and reveal the "hidden" callerID info? Here's a little secret... Toll-free numbers are exempted from callerID blocking. So when you forward your call to Trapcall's toll-free number, the callerID data is revealed. You could do pretty much the same thing if you had an 800 number and forwarded your cell phone calls to it. TrapCall isn't doing anything illegal or accessing secret phone company databases. They're just taking advantage of a feature that applies only to toll-free phone lines.
Is TrapCall a Free Service?
The basic Trapcall service is free, but there are some optional features you can request. SpoofCard will protect your privacy by not revealing your number, but then your friends might suspect you are a telemarketer. Call forwarding, call recording, and call blocking are also available. Voicemail Transcription listens to your voicemails and transcribes them to email.
There are several plans from which to choose. The most basic has been dubbed "Fly Trap." You get callerID unmasking and can blacklist unwanted calls. This service is free. For $2.95 a month "Bug Trap" includes a feature to block telemarketing calls. Opt for "Mouse Trap" and also you get 10 voicemail transcriptions a month, unlimited caller ID, toll free support and missed call alerts. This will set you back $9.95 a month in addition to your service provider charges. For $24.95, you get the deluxe "Bear Trap." In addition to all the other services, you can record your incoming calls and receive your own billing name and address.
If you try the service and decide it isn't for you, just turn off the call forwarding feature. TrapCall gives everyone 15 free days of service, but you must cancel within that time frame or you will continue to be charged.
What About Privacy With TrapCall?
The transcription feature is where my first concern comes in. For most people, that's not going to be a concern. But if you are either Bernie Madoff or former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, you might want to pass because these are real humans doing the transcriptions.
Another problem is that certain states do not allow recording phone calls. If you opt for the Auto-record, the caller is informed that there will be a recording and gives the option of hanging up. You can override that but we do not advise it. TrapCall agrees, because that could result in more legal problems than anyone would want.
Trapcall is a great tool for people who are fed up with telemarketers, and gives the upper hand to receipients of prank calls. But some have criticized the service because victims of stalking or domestic violence lose the ability to protect themselves by calling anonymously. I wonder why someone would call their stalker or abusive ex-boyfriend, but maybe there are cases where this concern makes more sense.
Have you tried Trapcall to unblock the hidden callerID for your incoming cell phone calls? Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Mar 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- TrapCall Reveals Blocked Caller ID (Posted: 16 Mar 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved