How to tell if a phone number is a VoIP number

Diane Balogh profile image June 17, 2022 | 5 min read

The technology that powers phone calls has evolved a lot in recent years. These days, fewer and fewer people are relying on traditional copper-wire landline phone systems, instead using cell phones or VoIP phone systems.

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a technology that converts phone calls into digital signals and transmits them over the internet.

It’s likely you’ve already received a call from a VoIP number without even realizing it. Nearly one-third of all businesses use VoIP phone numbers. And it’s not just business users: many people are now using VoIP phone numbers in place of their home landlines. In 2018, there were 76.8 million residential VoIP phone lines in the U.S., and that number is likely much higher now.

VoIP numbers are hugely popular and with good reason. But what are they, and how can you tell if one is calling you?

What are VoIP phone numbers?

VoIP phone numbers are simply phone numbers that use Voice over Internet Protocol to place calls instead of traditional telephone systems. This essentially means that the phone call is facilitated by the internet, rather than the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

When you sign up for a VoIP phone service, you’re given a VoIP phone number. You use this number like any other phone number. You can make and receive calls, leave voicemails, and with some systems, even use texting features.

VoIP phone numbers can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. You can purchase a VoIP phone, use an existing handset with an analog telephone adapter or system like Ooma Telo, or access your VoIP number through a desktop or mobile app. That’s a sharp contrast to copper-based landline systems which can only be used in one location. This flexibility is one of the key reasons many people are switching to VoIP phone numbers.

Learn More: VoIP callers: Who and what are they and how do they work?

Who uses VoIP numbers?

VoIP numbers are becoming increasingly popular with many different groups. Businesses with remote workers are increasingly turning to VoIP systems. This makes it easier for customers to get in contact with the business and also strengthens internal communication.

But VoIP numbers are also becoming very popular with individual users. Homes across the country are replacing their landline telephones with VoIP numbers. Popular reasons include superior call quality, a broad range of features and lower costs.

If you’re considering switching to a VoIP phone but don’t want to lose your existing phone number, there’s no need to worry. It’s easy to transfer your phone number to a VoIP system. Setup is fast and easy, and there’s a good chance you can keep your number with minimal interruption.

Unfortunately, VoIP numbers are sometimes used by scammers. This is because VoIP numbers aren’t tied to a specific location, allowing spam callers to hide their identities. It’s possible to minimize the number of telemarketing calls you receive by using a home VoIP phone service like Ooma Premier, which blocks more than 1 million unsolicited marketing calls every month.

How to look up a VoIP phone number

If you’re receiving calls on your phone and want to know if they’re coming from a legitimate caller, here are a few tips to avoid the fraudsters.

The easiest way is to ensure that caller ID features are activated on your phone. Businesses will often show their business name instead of their phone number. If you receive a call and see a name like “Jones Plumbing Company” on caller ID, it’s easy to understand where the call is coming from.

Another way is to use a reverse phone lookup service. You can find these services online. Some are free to use, while others charge a fee. A reverse lookup service will tell you if the caller is a VoIP number, who owns the number, and their address.

Alternatively, if you have a VoIP phone, you can ask your provider to do a CNAM lookup to learn more about the caller. Most providers will only do this if you have evidence that the caller was malicious in nature. If that’s the case, your provider will often help you block the number.

Why do people use VoIP phone numbers?

There are many reasons both people and businesses use VoIP phone numbers. Some of the most common include cost, flexibility, call quality and the variety of features available.

Cost of VoIP phone numbers

VoIP phone numbers use your existing internet connection. With some home VoIP phone services, including Ooma Basic, you’ll only pay monthly taxes and fees. That means you can knock hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars off your annual phone bill.

Even if you want more premium features, it’s still possible to save a lot of money. Our Ooma Premier plan costs just $9.99/mo.

The flexibility of VoIP phone numbers

Many VoIP phones are accessible from anywhere in the world, meaning you don’t have to be at home to make and receive calls. This is all made possible by a smartphone app that allows you to access your phone number no matter where you are.

VoIP phone call quality

Because VoIP phone numbers use the internet to transmit data, you’ll experience much higher call quality. The best VoIP providers use powerful technology that means that your calls sound crystal clear, with minimal disruption, higher levels of security and no dropped calls.

Additional VoIP phone features

VoIP phone numbers often come with a range of advanced features that landlines may charge extra for or may not offer. These include integrations with Amazon Alexa, anonymous call blocking and three-way conference calling. To access some of the more advanced features, you might have to pay extra for a premium VoIP service plan.

Get your own VoIP phone number

VoIP phone numbers are the future of communications. If you’re ready to upgrade from your landline phone, you’re in the right place. At Ooma, we offer free home phone service through our Ooma Basic plan. You’ll only have to pay monthly applicable taxes and fees.

To get started, all you need is an Ooma Telo device to connect your internet service with your existing corded or cordless handsets. You can keep your own phone number, get crystal-clear nationwide calling for free, and access your calls from anywhere.