Tracing calls to the originator OR finding the "owner" of a number
For any given phone call that is made, for which we are concerned, we
in mind: How do I prove it occurred? The telephone system is a complex
network, but for our purposes we can first divide calls into local and long
Local calls are switched between phones, but remain in the local phone
company switches. Historically, these calls have not been billed, and more
recently when billed are at a flat rate per call. Granted, "metered" local
calls are a coming trend. The point of this is, however, that since the
call stayed in the local company switch(s), only the LOC (Local Operating
Company) has, or might have, records of the call. They well might NOT have them if
they do not charge for the calls or do not charge for the duration/distance
of such calls. So you have to inquire at the LOC and/or subpoena your
Long distance calls are switched between, typically, LOC's. ALL
between LOC's are carried and "metered" by a LOC or a LDC (Long Distance
Carrier). Who meters them is complex, and not germane to our issues. The
point is that once a long distance call is put into the inter LOC network it
is metered because, at the time of the call, it is not known who the
customer is, who they buy their long distance services from, and what their billing
arrangement is. It is frequently the case that the LOC or LDC that meters
the call is not the organization that bills the call. They all meter calls,
queue up files, and pass the calls back to the appropriate organization to
be billed. From our point of interest, keep in mind that when a long distance
call arrives at YOUR LOC to ring YOUR phone, the LOC might only know that at
time xx:yy they "terminated" a call to your phone from a particular incoming
circuit (called a "trunk"). From where that call originated and who was
metering it is probably unknown to your LOC. However: because the call
might need to be paid for, calling records, are kept by the metering switch
and those records are passed back to the "responsible organization" as
Case 1. You HAVE a number that called you and want to know
For any given phone number there is ONE "Responsible Organization" which
bills the "owner" directly or through subordinate "rebillers". "Resp
Orgs". are TRUE Long Distance Carriers (LDC's). Rebillers are small to large
companies who use LDC equipment, market to customers, and present the face
of being a "full service" LDC to the public when they are not.
So the strategy is to call "Big" LDC's (ATT, Sprint, MCI, Qwest_.) to
one of them will tell you who the Resp. Org. is. Richard's research
"AT&T Multi Quest # 800 642 2708 be prepared to hold on for about
MCI 900 division. # 800 842 0403 they will answer right away or will
I first called AT&T who checked and said that they were not AT&T
They do not offer you help as to who the numbers belong to unless you
expressly ask. I asked and was told they are MCI numbers.
When I called MCI the woman was not cooperative in that they don't give
customers names out that freely. I said that the FCC told me that these
numbers belong to you and that you should give me the name of the party
using the numbers. She immediately offered the information."
From Lawerence Tucker
If anyone needs to identify the identity of a 900 number you should use the
following reference. These numbers are controlled by the 'North American
Numbering Plan Administration' which is part of the Lockheed Martin
Corporation. The following link is to a page on their web site that allows
you to download a file of all assigned 900 numbers, along with the company
that they are assigned to and the company contact name and phone number. I
hope that this helps anyone that needs to identify a 900 number in the
Each could be subpoenaed, especially if they have a local business presence
in your state which they would like to keep in operation. If not, you might
get it from your LOCAL phone company by subpoena. Or: We could try to
track down where "BellCor" (SP?) is, the company which is the clearing house
of this information for the LDC's.
There is more to be found out and documented here__
Once you have the Resp Org. for the number either they have the callers name
and address or their rebiller does. They have it or they have the
So you follow the trial from LDC to rebiller to caller. USUALLY it wont
be more than one rebiller, i.e. middleman.
Case 2. You DON'T have the number which called you
This is more difficult, and genuinely more costly for the LDC's to get
In Case 1., you know the number that made the call or otherwise "owns" the
number, and the network MUST know who the responsible organization is.
In Case 2., you know you were called from some number and your caller ID, or
* 5 7 trace didn't work. Here, the LOCAL telephone company "knows" which
LDC "terminated" the call to your phone. That's, possibly, ALL they know.
So, you must ask or subpoena the local phone company to tell you which LDC
"terminated" the call at your residence. Rob has done this, PJC has not yet
done so. Terminology varies, they might be called "call detail records" or
"termination records" or "?".
Let's presume you were successful. Why not? If you weren't you already
NOW you have the LDC who terminated the call, e.g. Sprint.
Your instinct is to ask/subpoena Sprint to tell you what NUMBER called yours
so that you can go down the path of Case 1. THAT is not so easy. 'Lil
'ole LCI (now Qwest) processes 500,000,000 calls per month. They have 1-2%
market share. ATT, Sprint, MCI, etc. process 30 times as much traffic.
Each call is monitored ("metered") by the first LDC switch that "sees" the
call, whether or not that switch belongs to the "Responsible Party". All
LDC's queue up all the "metered events" (calls) for all the calls on their
networks and then ship each other the calls the other LDC's are "responsible
for", based on the "BellCore" information. Then each call proceeds down the
billing trail from LDC to rebiller and ultimately to the caller who pays the
But, back to YOUR call. Where is it??? Ans: Somewhere in lots of files
of millions of records each. Often tens of millions. Unsorted in any way.
There are LOTS of transfer delays too! Some calls drift into the Resp.
Org. even MONTHS after being metered (LCI has a corp policy to NOT bill "stale"
calls over 6 months old. Sorry! No way for you to make them stale!).
So to find your particular call requires searching many very large files
serially until it is located. Subpoena rules state that you must not put
an undue burden upon a non-party. This is a genuine burden, and therefor why
it is important to get a "target" (i.e. Defendant) confirmed who made at
least one of the calls. Once that target is identified, THEN you can get to
that target's current and past billing files to see if you have other calls
from him via the process in Case 1.
All and all, having been a plaintiff and a billing employee at LCI who DID
those searches, I would say that absent physical or emotional threat, a
search without a target should be considered carefully before being asked
for. They ARE done. In one question of a local telephone company made to
"feel out" such a scenario, the telephone company response was that they
would not do the search unless there were at least three such calls.
> Here is some useful info.
> If you get subpoenaed phone records, it often will only
> identify the carrier
> by their 3-digit carrier ID - the web site abive has a good
> table of Carrier
> ID codes.
Carrier IDs are now 4 digits, in the form 101-XXXX. The definitive source
is http://www.nanpa.com. Try this link:
and download the "Feature Group D CIC assignments" zipfile. It includes
contact info, but those are technical contacts, probably not people who
you should be subpoenaing. Carriers are sometimes identified by the ACNA
code, which I believe is 3 letters. The zipfile has those too.
Every toll-free number has a "Responsible Organization" or RESPORG.
is an administrative designation who may or may not be the party that
actually provides the long-distance service. Large companies, such as the
Big 3, act as their own RespOrgs. Smaller carriers may designate a third
party to perform RespOrg functions. This might come in handy if you know
their toll-free number and for some reason you want to subpoena their
incoming toll-free records.
Ameritech has an automated RespOrg ID service. Call 800-337-4194 and
select option 1. You punch in a toll-free number, and it reads you the
name of the RespOrg company. If it doesn't know the name of the company,
it reads you the three-letter RespOrg code. Since the RespOrg database is
administered by SMS not the NANPA, this three-letter code may sometimes be
different than the three-letter ACNA code. I might be wrong though...