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Wife's caller ID shows someone else's name

Wife's caller ID shows someone else's name

I'm curious about my and my wife's new cell phone. When she calls me at work, it comes up with a name that is not hers. I know cell numbers are recycled much more quickly than they used to be and I'm assuming this is the name of the previous owner of her phone number. I guess my question is, when and how does this get changed? I'm not certain that I'd like her name to always be sent out to caller ID like that but, if it is, I guess I'd prefer that the name be correct and not the name of some local felon (a little quick Googling told me that)

Anyone have any idea?


Message 1 of 4

Re: Wife's caller ID shows someone else's name

Hello bfollowell,

The name change process should take a few hours after it's been updated. If it has not been updated, verify the name change using the steps found here

If it has been changed, but has not updated within 24 hours, you should contact AT&T.

Message 2 of 4

Re: Wife's caller ID shows someone else's name

I will follow these steps and hope for the best but, honestly, I'm confused as to why we should need to do anything. Am I wrong to assume that the previous carrier should remove whatever data is associated with an old number once a customer leaves? It just seems strange to me that it should be the new owner's responsibility to remove/change a previous owner's data from their phone number.


Either way, I will follow the link you attached. Thank you very much for the information.


Message 3 of 4

Re: Wife's caller ID shows someone else's name

For most cases, no. In terms of Caller ID, possibly. 

Caller ID is transferred right after the first ring. (Caller ID designates the phone number only.)

The name that is displayed is called the CNAM. CNAM works by querying a third party CNAM database or a CNAM database maintained by the telecom provider. 


When name changes occur, a request is sent to CNAM providers to make an update. Some providers take longer to update than others. The CNAM is resolved by the receiver's telecom provider and is forwarded to the handset.  As such, calling a Comcast VoIP (outsourced) customer may display John Smith, while calling an AT&T VoIP (insourced) customer may display John Doe. Faster updates to CNAM databases require more resources and thus are more costly, slower updates require less resources so they are less costly, but they can have plenty of inaccurate entires.


If the telecom provider doesn't query a database for CNAM, then only the caller ID is shown (the phone number). AT&T appears to have an automated system that will change the name after it's been changed on the profile, however as with many automated processes, it may experience failures or downtime. 

Message 4 of 4
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