The Difference Between an Unknown and a Withheld Number


Whose Worth's unknown
Registered Senior Member
At 3am last night I got woken up by a load of phone calls from a number my phone called 'Unknown'. I would have normally picked up but I was too tired to bother, and in the morning I saw that I had 10 missed calls altogether.

I've read before that 'unknown' as opposed to 'withheld' numbers are usually from dodgy companies and cold-callers. However, somehow I find it hard to believe that a company would ring me at such a strange time of day. What's more, the calls were irregular in the length of time they allowed the phone to ring and even in the pauses between calls.
Therefore, I'm more inclined to think that the calls (seeing as it was a Saturday night after all) were from one of my drunk friends wondering why I wasn't out - or even just prank calling me.

Is this probable or even possible?

My phone is a Sony Ericsson w995, and putting '141' in front of my number before dialling it always comes up as 'withheld'.
Withheld is when the caller withheld their number.
Unavailable/unknown is when the phone company does not have the caller's number.
It means that they dont have it on thier records. Whether abroad or domestic, it doesnt matter its just not on thier database.
Perhaps someone using a disposable cell phone?

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That the phone company doesnt have the phone number on record.

Not exactly. (I'm an old phone company guy.) It really means that the phone company cannot determine the number. The office which received the call and then sent it on to the office serving your phone did not forward the caller-ID. If the number was blocked from the phone, it would have forwarded that information (as you already know).

But since you received *nothing* at all, that meant nothing was sent from the originating office. There are three things that can case that: An equipment malfunction in the office; a database crash or update in progress; the caller is using a spoofed connection to place the call.
The call was probably generated from a rotary number. I work in an office with one listed number, but there are 30 lines. When someone in the office calls a phone with caller ID, their display says, Unknown. Our lines have to be blocked so the internal rotary numbers don't ring.