We may earn a commission for purchases through links on our site. Learn more
There are lots of ways to find out who a particular telephone number belongs to.
If an unknown phone number calls you and you’d like to know who the number is registered to, there are different tools online that can help you place a name on a number. Many of these tools are free to use, while others may charge.
Some of these tools include reverse phone number lookups. You can also use social media sites and search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Always consider that caller ID information can be forged, so if you decide to use a paid service to look up a phone number, make sure it’s a reputable one.
Reverse phone lookup
The easiest way to find out who a phone number belongs to is to use a reverse phone number service, especially for numbers listed in the phonebook.
Websites such as Whitepages, Anywho, and 411, offer free reverse phone number searches. All you need to do is enter the telephone number and area code and press “Search” to see a list of results. If it’s a number listed in the phonebook, the result will return a name and address.
Keep in mind that reverse phone number searches will not work if the cell phone numbers or landlines are unregistered.
Use Google or Bing
If you can’t find out who a phone number is registered to using a reverse phone number search, a simple option you can try is to type the telephone number into a search engine such as Bing or Google.
If the phone number is published on any website or social media page, it’s possible to see the name that the number belongs to just by using a search engine.
When searching for the name behind a number on Google or Bing, try typing the number in different formats, such as entering the area code in parenthesis and using hyphens to separate the area code from the remaining digits.
If you received an unwanted SMS message, a strange call from a number you don’t recognize and want more information, or you think the number is spam, an 800 number, or telemarketers, you can find out what people are saying about the number on sites such as 800notes.com and whocallsme.com.
Call the number
If you’re still unsuccessful in finding the number through reverse, Bing, or Google search, another option you can try is to call the number back and ask about the caller. If the number has a voicemail, you may be able to find out who’s number it is without speaking to anyone by using free services like Spy Dialer to call the phone number’s voice mail directly, allowing you to hear the voice mail or look up the name. This will help you remain anonymous and also bypass the need to speak to the caller.
If, after using all the free services listed above, and you are still unable to find the owner of a telephone number, you can use paid services like Instant Checkmate and Intelius. Although they do charge, there is more likelihood of finding better results.
Additionally, try to search for the name behind the number using social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and even possibly Twitter, as anyone may have published information about who owns the number.
Harassment and Scams
Suppose you tried all the options above and you’re still unable to find who a telephone number belongs to, and the calls are unwanted of a harassing nature. In that case, you can speak with your service provider to block that number or configure your phone to automatically block calls from the number.
If it’s a call or text from anyone trying to sell something to you or scam you, you can report to the Federal Trade Commission. To avoid getting more phone calls, don’t communicate with the person or machine calling you.
If the calls become more persistent with a more harassing or threatening nature and you think it’s a crime, consider speaking with your local authorities or the police.
Also, Keep in mind that the number that shows up on your phone screen can easily be forged and not be the actual caller’s ID information.
Be cautious of calling back unknown telephone numbers, as they may be part of a massive scam ring resulting in you having to pay expensive long-distance charges if the call is returned.