Some cool tools, one of them Indian, help mobile phone users trace unknown callers.
By Anand Parthasarathy
November 24 2014: Ever wished you knew who was calling? It happens to us all the time: we get calls from unrecognized numbers at inconvenient times. But a nagging fear that the caller might be a friend makes us respond -- only to find it was a nuisance call of some kind... they get through even if we have registered for "Do Not Disturb" or DND.
Now clever people have come up with some solutions which might help. The best known is a free app from Sweden called TrueCaller.com . Once installed, the app available for all major mobile operating systems, claims to tell you the registered name of the caller before you pickup -- no matter whether the call is from another mobile or a landline. It gives you access to a list of top spammers, allowing you to quickly block their calls. How does TrueCaller do it? By trawling the social media sites, crowd-sourcing information available somewhere in Cyber space, which puts a name to a number.
I have installed and tried out True Caller and it seems to come up right about half the time. The other half , it is unable to provide a name and its location information is in any case, too wide. It says the caller is based in India: Big deal!
Indian app from Site2SMS
A few days ago, an India-based site, Site2SMS which says it is India's largest free messaging web portal, provided a free service: a link, where one could enter any mobile and track the subscriber name, his or her location ( state) and service provider, as well as the type of service ( GSM/CDMA) and whether DND was in operation. The site is http://site2sms.com/mobile-number-tracker.
I tried out a dozen numbers -- my own as well as family members'-- and in some 3 out of 5 tries, I got the full details. It fails to get the name sometimes but has a better success rate with Indian numbers than TrueCaller. I have a feeling it crawls the Web just like TrueCaller but because it looks at more Indian editions of sites like Facebook and LinkedIn where people tend to share their contacts, it has a better record.
Site2SMJS has also launched a similar service to track an IP address. It provides City, Location, Country & Internet Service Provider information. Do you want to find out someone's IP address ? Or to find out what country an email is from? The free service can be accessed here: www.site2sms.com/ip-address-tracker
It is fine to make use of such services which help us filter out spammers and nuisance callers. But there is an alarming message in the very fact that services can so easily let anyone know our own name and location. I found that while all my mobile numbers were instantly recognized, those of my aged relatives could not produce their names. That is because, they don't indulge in social media or rarely use email. Mobile number tracking is a useful service. It is also an amber signal of how easily we are giving up our privacy, when we use free tools like email, Facebook, Twitter....