The skepticism around unknown calls has been around since the dawn of the smartphone and those, especially introverts are reluctant to answer the phone in general, let alone when the person who’s calling has decided to hide their caller Id.

Just like clicking links in spam emails may get your computer hacked, you may think that the same situation applies to unknown calls with the action of clicking the link being you answering the call. Just so you’re in the loop, when someone sets their caller id not to show, it’s no different from when someone calls you and their number is showing. There isn’t some kind of trap your phone will be put in your press answer when it comes to unknown callers – it’s just the same as a normal call, but you can’t identify the person from their number.

Will My Phone Be Hacked If I Answer An Unknown Call?

Your phone won’t be hacked if you answer an unknown call. It’s physically impossible for the person on the other end to hack your phone just by you answering the call. Rather than hacking, if you do answer the unknown call, there’s a tiny chance that you could be scammed, this chance is just as big as if you answered a call with the caller id showing.

No one can gain sensitive information from your device just from your answering the call, if that was the case, the world would be doomed. They can only gain sensitive information if you give it to them – it’s impossible for anything to happen to your phone in terms of data compromisation just by you answering.

As a general rule, it’s best not to answer a call from an unknown number rather let it go to voicemail. If you don’t have voicemail set up, this is an even better situation for you and it means that they won’t even have to chance to leave you a voicemail. The downside to not answering unknown calls and ignoring them is that it could be someone trying to tell you important information and they may have forgotten that their phone is on no caller id whilst they’re trying to reach you – but if they actually wanted to share important information with you, they’d just message you.

What Hacking You Through An Unknown Calling Might Look Like

One common way that an unknown caller could try and hack you is by them asking questions that could aim to hack into your phone carrier and this would most commonly be related to your payment plan. Many carriers use security measures like 2-factor authentication, where along with using a password, the carrier would send you an automated temporary pin (via text message) to plug into their site prior to logging in to make account changes.

If an unknown caller wanted to hack into your phone carrier account for example, since most carriers have things set up such as 2-factor authentication, if they already know your password, they now need the temporary pin which would be a text message that’s sent to your phone, for them to obtain this, they would have to do it meticulously on the phone. The most common way they’d do this is by acting like a representative from your phone carrier and get you to read out the text message that was sent to your phone so that they can bypass the two-factor authentication.

Once you pick up the unknown call, it’d go something like “good afternoon James, this is David from AT&T, we are doing tower work in your area and you might be experiencing some loss of service. Due to this inconvenience, we are offering you a $20 discount on your next bill.. you just need to read me the PIN code off of your phone to confirm your identity.” And gone, gone is your data. They’re in and they’re about to buy a ton of stuff and sent it to their address on your plan – once they’ve retrieved those, they’ll sell it on to make a profit.

What To Do

The first step to take to avoid this is to stop receiving unknown calls altogether. If you have an Android, on your phone app, tap More > Call Settings > Call Rejection. Next, tap ‘Auto reject list’ and then toggle the ‘Unknown’ option to the on position and all calls from unknown numbers will be blocked. If you have an iPhone > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers > Toggle it on and no one will be able to call you.