It seems like everyone has a mobile phone these days, so why is it so hard to find someone if all you have is their phone number? One issue is that phone companies still list landline phones in the phone book, but cell phone numbers aren’t in these listings automatically.
It’s hard to track someone down with just a phone number; but it’s not impossible. There are ways to find out who that person is on the other side of their number.
Why backtrack a phone number?
Everybody gets mystery calls frequently. Some people just answer them, but others don’t want to give away information about themselves — not without knowing something about the person on the other end of the line. You’re left with the dilemma of whether to call back or answer the next time that number rings.
That caller could be a scammer, or it could be your bank. It could be a childhood friend trying to find you after all these years, or if could be the power company letting you know about a change in rates or a problem with your bill. A quick phone number search will arm you with the information you need to decide what to do next.
The DIY method
Backtracking a phone number can be a significant time investment, although sometimes you get lucky and it happens quickly. Here’s how you can go about it:
Start with a reverse lookup: All this takes is plugging the phone number into a search engine. If you’re using Google, be sure to use all the advanced search tricks at your disposal.
For example, put the phone number in quotation marks. This ensures that Google only returns results that include the whole number in that format, and not just any random arrangement of those numbers.
If Google fails you, don’t be afraid to try other search engines. While Google is normally the best resource for these types of informational searches, there are others like Bing or Yahoo which are worth checking.
Will you succeed using this method? Sometimes, although there is luck involved. But there’s a chance it won’t work, so now you need to move on to searching social media.
The social media hunt: This won’t work if the caller is a scammer, but a legitimate business or government organization might have a Facebook or Twitter account with their phone number listed. Some private individuals put their phone numbers up on these pages as well.
LinkedIn is another good place to look. If the person who called is an old friend or colleague, their phone number might be on their LinkedIn profile. Some businesses have a LinkedIn presence as well, and will list their phone number.
Will you succeed looking through social media? Again, maybe. But if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you might not be able to find out much, even if you do find the number. And a lot of people don’t put private numbers on their social media accounts.
Use a phone number search service
Using a service for your phone number search is the best way to get some results. A phone number search service has access to all kinds of public records that it would take you hours (or sometimes days) to hunt through — if you could even locate all the records at your disposal.
Best of all, these services also offer other services bundled with access to the phone number search records. These services include things like background checks and arrest records, so you can make sure the person on the other end of the line is really who they say they are.