What is Reverse Phone Look Up
How To Find Who Called Through A Reverse Phone Lookup
If you're getting a lot of marketing calls or just want to know who called you, reverse phone search can help. They provide the phone number that was called on a website or directory page, and they can often tell who called you and if it was a legitimate company or a telemarketer.
Reverse phone checks work primarily on landline numbers, but can also work on cell numbers. That would be more useful if you're wondering if a friend got a new phone, or if it's that cute guy or cute girl you ran into at the mall that you gave your number to. Cell numbers are not on the public record as often as landline phones. Hence, finding them and correctly identifying them can be a little more difficult than on a landline.
How reverse lookup works
As you can imagine, a reverse phone lookup looks for a caller's name and / or address by providing their number. It's the other way around because we looked up someone's number from their name and / or address beforehand. Wherever we did these searches through phone books, it went online.
To understand how a reverse phone lookup works, it is first helpful to know how a landline number is structured. A typical telephone number is 10 digits long and consists of the so-called "3-3-4 scheme".
- The first three digits are the area code and are regulated by the FCC.
- The second three digits are the carrier prefix. This used to be the closest phone counter to where the line was, but thanks to number portability (the ability to take your number with you) and the digitization of networks, this is no longer the case.
- The last four digits are the number of the actual line connecting the property.
So when identifying a phone number, the first three digits narrow the city, the second three narrow the neighborhood or area, and the last four narrow the line itself.
Take the number 323-555-1234 for example. From the information above, we know that 323 is the city, in this case Los Angeles. The 555 is the carrier prefix, in this case the fictional prefix used in all TV shows and movies. The 1234 part is the actual line identifier of the person or business.
In the days of telephone directories, you would look for a name or address to identify its number. You could also call 411, Directory Assistance for help. Directory Assistance would look up the name or address using telephone directories provided by the various telephone companies to give you the information.
These directories have now been digitized and can be referenced by web applications. This is how you can do a reverse phone search. Instead of calling the attendant and asking the bot, you put the phone number in a website and as a website to query another bot with access to the same information.
As long as the phone number is not private, it should be available online. Some websites also take information from users in order to provide a reputation score based on the feedback.
Some of the websites listed below also show similar numbers as well as exact matches. This is because some companies will buy a range of numbers and will make outbound calls with some of them instead of one. For example, a company might purchase the 323-555-1234 through 323-555-9876 range. You can make outbound calls from some of these numbers instead of others. By returning similar numbers, you might be able to tell whether or not the caller was part of a range of numbers.
Do a reverse phone search
Now you know how a telephone number is structured and where the various services get their information from. Let's see how to do a reverse phone search.
We can use the world's largest search engine to look for us, and it can often return useful information. You have two main options, you can enter the phone number and do a search and see what comes up. You can also search for "Reverse Phone Lookup", find a specific website, and do it that way.
The first method that adds the number that is called is probably the simplest. You can either enter it as a single string or separate it with hyphens. I think the second method is the best because Google better identifies it as a phone number. You will likely see a selection of websites that purport to have the information you need.
Some of these websites actually have the information you need. Some won't and seem to have no other purpose than wasting your time.
Here are some websites that don't waste your time.
WhitePages.com is probably the largest data provider on the internet. Certainly for US data anyway. One of the free services is a reverse lookup. Navigate to the page, select Reverse Phone Lookup from the center, paste the number and hit Search.
WhitePages apparently covers 85% of the US population and millions of phone numbers, so chances are good they can identify who called you. The search takes a while and should return a page indicating the number's potential for spam or fraud, how many people looked for it, and whether it was a landline or cell phone number.
Select More Facts and you might get a Google Map with the general area of the operator prefix and a list of people with the same or a very similar number. It's a pretty comprehensive return considering it's free.
Zabasearch is another huge data store to reconsider. It contains its own white pages, lots of search criteria and a comprehensive reverse lookup function. Add the phone number to the search box in the middle and select Search.
The search may take a while, but it should return a page showing where the number is and who has the same or similar numbers. Basic search is free and should identify any caller who is on the public telephone directory. If the number is not listed or is wrong, Zabasearch will tell you.
More advanced searches are possible, but they cost money. I haven't tried a paid search using Zabasearch so can't comment on whether or not it's worth the investment.
YP.com is part of AT & T's Yellow Pages brand, instantly recognizable as soon as you land on the website. The website offers a basic reverse cell phone lookup service for free and an advanced one for a price. Basic search works fine. Enter the number in the search field and press Search. If the website finds details about the number, they'll be posted on the page.
As with the other sites on this list, the search may take a while depending on how busy the site is. Once you are done, you will be able to see all the relevant data about this number. Unlike other sites on this list, YP.com doesn't offer any similar numbers, just an exact match.
Spokeo is a nice little site that works very quickly for finding your number. This is a bait page that provides the basic information about a number but charges you for access to the data. Apparently, if you're determined to find out who called you, Spokeo is also one of the most accurate websites out there, which is why it's featured here.
Type your number in the center and select Search. The website will quickly generate a return of the same or similar numbers for you to browse. Pick the correct number, select View Details and pay € 1.95 on the next page. You will then be given the name, address, location, family members, address history, provider and all sorts of information.
While you have to pay for the information, the quality and quantity of the data here surpasses what is free. Well worth it if you really need to find who called.
SpyDialer.com has a strange name but a powerful search function. Out of all the websites I've tried, only Spokeo has worked faster. The website is very simple but does the job. Enter the number in the middle and press Search. After a few seconds you will be directed to the results page, which lists the name, address and any comments from previous searchers.
This page can also tell you if the number is cell or landline. Not something that is obvious on any of the other sites here. While not as comprehensive as Spokeo, searches are free and you can do as many as you want. You can provide additional reference names, addresses, and emails within the site.
There are dozen of reasons you might want to do a reverse phone search. Now you know how the system works and how to find out who called. What you do with this information is up to you!
Do You Know Other Reliable Reverse Phone Lookup Resources? Do you have any stories or anecdotes about using these services? Tell us about it when you do!
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