With over 2 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is among the most widely used messaging services.
While it has revolutionized our communication, scammers, and fraudsters have turned to it as one of their main targets.
Scammers frequently create fake WhatsApp numbers and use them to trick unwary users, which is one of their most popular methods.
Even though it can be challenging, finding a fake WhatsApp number is not impossible.
You can improve your chances of finding out who is messaging you from that number and preventing harm by taking specific actions.
This article will show you the various methods you can use to trace a fake WhatsApp number and keep you safe from scams and harm.
Can Police Trace Fake WhatsApp Numbers and How They Do It?
Yes, they can if they want to.
Law enforcement government agencies with investigative powers can;
- Request users’ information (e.g., the IP address used) from WhatsApp
- Check the fake number from the telecommunication company for the user’s information.
- Check the IP addresses from the internet service provider (ISP) for the user’s information.
All the provided evidence can be used against the user if the person is involved with criminal offenses.
Most of us do not have the power and means to perform such law enforcement methods.
However, we can still use other means to narrow down and hopefully identify the WhatsApp user.
How to Trace Fake WhatsApp Numbers
Here are the five (5) steps to identify a WhatsApp number.
Step 1. Save The Number in Your Contact
When you receive a WhatsApp message from someone not on your contact list, you may not be able to see their status and profile picture.
You can check on the user by manually adding the number to your contacts list and analyzing the WhatsApp profile.
To find out more about the number;
- Add the number to your contact list
- Quit and re-open WhatsApp
- Refresh your contacts by choosing the <Select Contact> icon on the bottom-right and <Refresh> on the top-right menu.
You can now analyze the status message and profile picture used.
Step 2. Matching the Profile Picture
Save the profile picture of the WhatsApp number and perform a reverse image search to see if it was also posted somewhere on the web.
If you have a unique profile picture and it appears somewhere on the web, the user may also be participating in that website.
Upload the profile picture on the following sites;
- Google Images (drag & drop the image into the search bar)
- TinEye Reverse Image Search
Step 3. Search the Number on Google
Search the mobile number on Google to see if it appears anywhere on the web.
Sometimes you will be surprised to see if it was mentioned in forums or even on classified ad posts.
When you get a hit on the number online, further analyze what you have on hand. For example, if it is tied to a unique username, do a further search on that username.
It could narrow down to the user’s social media profile if you are lucky.
The search process on Google can feel like going down a rabbit hole, especially when you discover more clues.
Don’t forget to use Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines if you need to.
Step 4. Search using Number Lookup Sites
Several sites offer free ways to look up a mobile number to find identifying information on the user.
You can use the following;
- TrueCaller Phone Lookup
- Spokeo (search using mobile number, username, and email address)
Step 5. Report to WhatsApp and Local Authorities
WhatsApp values users’ privacy and security, and reporting suspicious and fake numbers is essential to keep the communication platform safe and secure.
Why You Should Report to WhatsApp
- Stop spam messages from yourself and to others
- Prevent fraudulent activities
- Protect your privacy
How to Report A Number to WhatsApp
- Open the chat with the suspicious number and tap on the menu on the top right (3-dots)
- Select <More> and <Report>
- Confirm by selecting <Report> again.
Why You Should Report to Your Local Authorities
If you believe that you have been scammed or the number is used for criminal activities, such as committing fraud, harassment, threats, or any offense, you should make a formal report to your local authorities.
As a rule of thumb, do not engage anyone with giving out your personal information online, especially for unknown mobile numbers on WhatsApp.
It would be best if you consider blocking and reporting the number.