Phone numbers can be compared to fingerprints. They can reveal much about a person’s identity, such as their name and whereabouts. The following resources will help you identify a caller if you receive a call from someone you don’t know.
Searching for an online phone number is not free.
Many online tools allow you to reverse lookup and identify the owner of a registered phone number. However, any identification of a phone number will likely have limitations.
- It will be very difficult to trace a phone number that has been added to the National Do Not Call Registry by someone.
- It is almost impossible to determine the identity of the person behind a mobile number. However, North American numbers can be traced back to the place where it was registered.
- Many “free” services will also try to sell their services, even though it is possible to find the information elsewhere.
- Some countries, such as Australia and the UK, restrict reverse lookups of phone numbers. If you are trying to locate a number in these countries, your chances of success are slim.
- Numbers can be removed from service or changed owners. It can take time for services to catch up with these changes so you cannot rely completely on information found online.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to verify the owner or origin of a number.
This brute force method is used to identify a phone number. It’s fast, simple, and totally free. A search engine such as Google or DuckDuckGo may be able to provide all the details about the owner and the location of the number if it is an official call.
Below is an example of the Google result for the National Do Not Call Registry number.
Your Google search didn’t yield much. What next?
Bonus: Find out where the phone number is from
Let’s first narrow down the search to find the right service to identify the owner. If you know the area code and country, this step can be skipped. You can skip this step and use the first online tool below to perform an automatic location search.
A North American phone number generally has 10 digits. The area code is the first three digits of a North American phone number. You can use these numbers for locating the number. This is done by entering the three digits, followed by the phrase “areacode” into a Google Search.
If you receive a call from an overseas number, it will make things a bit more difficult. A longer number should be displayed, with a country code. This can range from one (e.g. +1 for the USA or Canada) to three (e.g. +506 for Costa Rica) digits.
You can find the answer to your question by simply going to Google and entering the number along with the phrase “country codes”. You can learn more about their phone numbers to find out where the number is located in a country.
German area codes, for example, start with a zero. They can have three to five digits in length, such as 0711 for Stuttgart or 030 for Berlin. For long-distance calls from Germany (country code +49), the number should appear as +49-711xxxxxx. You should omit the zero from your area code.
Once you know where the number came from, select a service that covers that area.
Whitepages is an established online service that allows you to locate people and numbers in the United States. This website allows you to reverse lookup North American mobile and landline numbers. Simply enter the number into the Phone search box and hit Enter.
Whitepages will provide basic information about the number, including its location, spam, and fraud risk if it does not have one.
Note: Whitepages offers a monthly subscription package for users who are located in the United States. Premium users have access to more information such as full address history and mobile numbers. This is the most reliable service you will find when looking up a phone number online.
Location: International but primarily North America
Are you receiving unsolicited calls from scammers, telemarketers, or pollsters? This is the service to try. You can enter the number into the search box and hit Search.
WhoCallsMe can tell you all it knows about the number, including where it is located and any reports it has received from other users. After you have entered the number, you can add your notes to the database.
This tool will quickly allow you to locate North American phone numbers. Simply type the number and hit Search. Wait for Searchbug to provide data about this number.
If they are unable to locate a public record, you will at least find out if this is a mobile, landline or toll-free number and where the caller is located.
Note: Searchbug may charge extra information such as the full name and address of the owner of the number. However, you might be able to find the information online for free.
Similar to Searchbug but also compatible with international numbers. It seems to provide more information, including past and current addresses that are associated with a number. We suspect it pulls this information from Whitepages.
It also gave us the impression that it was more up-to-date than other competitors like SpyDialer or ReversePhoneLookup.
Note: NumberVille logs and displays your IP address publicly. If you want to remain anonymous, you should use a VPN.
NumLookup is built on partnerships with telecom companies all over the globe, including AT&T and Verizon. To identify the owner of a number, NumLookup makes a real-time API call every time someone enters it. This didn’t work for us with numbers from Canada, USA or Germany but it correctly identified the number’s geographic location.
Note NumLookup shows a list of all recent phone number searches. Although our numbers weren’t included in the list, they may.
SpyDialer can actually call the number that you enter to record voicemails or verify that the line is still active. This is the only service that was able to identify the owner for the number we tested.
SpyDialer had the correct name in the records, even though other services claimed it wasn’t possible to access the information.
Are you able to identify the phone number?
It can be difficult to locate the owner of a telephone number. You should now have a better idea who called you unannounced. You can still look for results by using one of the reverse phone lookup websites.
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