Cell phone Caller ID Problems

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Cell phone Caller ID Problems

Post by rogerwimmer » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:17 am

Hi Doc: When I receive a call on my Verizon iPhone, I also see a location on the Caller ID. Sometimes it displays a city/state, and sometimes it only shows the state. Why the difference? Who supplies the info? Verizon? Apple? A third party? I gots to know! - Anonymous

Anon: You gots ta know, eh? You must have been reading the column for a while. For anyone who doesn’t know what the writer is referring to, it’s a line I use a lot and picked up from Dirty Harry. On to your question . . .

First, you asked who supplies Caller ID information. The information comes from service providers, but there may be more to this situation.

I looked around on the Internet, and there is apparently a bug with iPhone Caller ID. You can read some of the articles in this search. I’m not sure if the problem relates only to iPhones, or if this is a global problem, because I noticed recently that the Caller ID information on my phone (an Android) varies from one call to another. The information can also be different when I receive a call from the same person - one time it will show the person’s name and only a phone number will show on the next call. It’s goofy.

However, I read a few more articles in the search I included above and found other things. One item is that it’s possible to change the Caller ID information a cell phone sends out. You can read a few articles in this search. It may be possible that the people who call you have changed the information their phones send. I don’t know.

A second thing I found in several articles is that some people have called their service provider and explained the situation with varying Caller ID information and the company was able to correct it. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it’s worth a try.

A third thing I found, and I think this may be the primary reason for the problem, is a conflict between the information on your cell phone and the information provided by the service provider. From my experience, the displayed Caller ID information tends to be the information I have in my contact list. If a person calls me who isn’t in my contact list, the Caller ID information tends to change from one call to another.

A fourth thing I found is that the problem may be caused by downloading contact information from an old phone, or maybe a problem with the SIM card because the old information stored in your contact list or SIM card may conflict with the information provided by the service company. In other words, different information may show up for different calls because there is a conflict in your phone.

Finally, it appears that there may be several reasons for the differences in Caller ID information and I think the best thing for you to do is contact Verizon. That’s the best I can do right now, but I will continue to investigate. In the meantime, if another reader knows the answer, please send it to me so I can post it here on the column.

Update I just went to a local AT&T store and the people said the Caller ID problem is related to a switch, or a place where phone calls are transferred from one area to another. They said that some areas of the country have switches that are probably out of date. However, they are going to pursue an answer and get back to me if they find anything new.

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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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