I have a rule: If writing an email will take longer than a few minutes, I make a phone call instead. It saves me a lot of time. 

What happens when you want to call someone, and you've misplaced their number or never had their number? Tap or click for smart ways to find anyone’s cell phone number

Now that you’re ready to go, uh oh, your cell service is bad. That’s OK, I can help there, too. Tap or click for tricks to get better reception so your call will go through

And what happens when you make the call but no one picks up? You won't get any official notice if someone blocks your calls — but you can make an educated guess by looking for these signs. 

The sound of silence 

When you block a number, you no longer receive calls or text messages from that person. This step helps stop unwanted spam calls, but it’s also great for personal reasons. 

The first indication that something's up is the most obvious: You call and send text messages, but you get no response. There are many reasons this might be happening, of course, but a blocked number is one possibility. 

For most cases, texts you send will appear to go through usually, but the person you're sending them to won't receive them. That silence is your first hint something is wrong. 

What about text messages? Here are the steps to know if someone actually read your text. 

Count the rings before voicemail 

It's a normal call when you call a person and hear the usual number of rings before getting voicemail. But if the person has blocked you, here’s the big indicator. You only hear a single ring before being diverted to voicemail. 

There are a few caveats. An unusual ring pattern doesn’t necessarily mean your number is blocked. It may just mean the person is talking to someone else at the same time you’re calling, has the phone off or sent the call directly to voicemail.  

Try again later. If the one-ring and straight-to-voicemail pattern persists, it likely may be a case of a blocked number. 

Woman using a mobile phone in the city, outdoor portrait of cheerful young woman texting on a smart cell phone in front of a clothing store,  wedding dresses in the background. File photo.

Woman using a mobile phone in the city, outdoor portrait of cheerful young woman texting on a smart cell phone in front of a clothing store,  wedding dresses in the background. File photo.

TECH NEWS YOU CAN USE: The tech world changes by the day. Keep up with The Current, my smart, funny (and ad-free) newsletter. Try it here. It’s totally free! 

Automated responses 

If you make a call and receive an automated message along the lines of "the customer is unavailable," that person’s wireless carrier may have blocked you. The messages can vary, but the result is the same. Your call won’t go through. 

Again, a blocked number isn’t the only reason for a message like this. But it’s a strong indication you’ve been blocked. 

Organize your tech life: Too many cables and cords? Use this simple trick to tell them apart. 

It could be something else 

Don't jump to conclusions even if you suspect your number is blocked. There may be a simple reason why your calls aren't going through. There could be a network problem, the person may have their phone turned off, the battery is dead, or they didn’t pay their bill on time. It happens. 

You could try to disguise your phone number. There are ways to hide your number from caller ID, either by changing your call settings or by downloading an app that will handle it for you. 

Here are five ways to block or hide your number when making calls.  

Don’t be a jerk. Use this power wisely. Respect that person's decision if someone doesn't want to hear from you. 

File photo of a woman using a smart phone.

File photo of a woman using a smart phone. (iStock)

Bonus Tip: 5 things you need to do with your photos before it's too late 

We all have more photos than we know what to do with. Most are on our phones and computers, but then there are all the albums and frames full of old printed photos, too. In this episode, you’ll learn how the pros take care and organize photos before it's too late. 

Check out my podcast "Kim Komando Explains" on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player. 

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, "Komando." 

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim's national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim's free podcasts. 

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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.