Can You Find Unknown Phone Numbers Online?

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Finding a phone number has never been easier. The days of searching through a cumbersome paper volume, peering through tiny typeset for the right name, and then guessing whether this is the person being sought or not are over. Now, a simple web search can find the phone number of nearly any person or business regardless of the situation.

<h3>Simple Number Search</h3>
The easiest way to find a person’s phone number is to use a website that is devoted to storing this type of information. These sites are operated by reputable sources who allow individuals to opt out if they wish. Another way to find the number of a person or business is to visit their website or their social media presence. If the number is not listed, and it is not an emergency, often a quick email or social media message will be returned with the desired information.

<h3>Finding Unlisted Numbers</h3>
If a person does not wish to be contacted by unknown individuals, he or she may choose to have an unlisted number. This is very common with those people who do not have land lines. There are some sources that keep a database of unlisted numbers, but they require payment prior to giving out information. Likewise, that information is sometimes outdated. People who pay for outdated numbers cannot expect to be reimbursed. There are other, less expensive ways to try to track down a person with an unlisted number. Start with a search engine, typing in as much information about the person as possible.

<h3>Conducting a Reverse Search</h3>
A call that reads “unknown phone number” can be suspicious. Sometimes these are innocuous calls from people who are simply not listed in a caller database. More often, these calls are from telemarketers, creditors, scam artists, or even charitable organizations that don’t want people to avoid their calls. To learn who this unknown number is before picking up or returning a call, it is possible to do a reverse search. These easiest way to do so is to simply type the entire number into a search engine. The search engine will sometimes recognize the number immediately. In most cases, the search engine will lead to a forum in which individuals will share the name and reason the number reaches out. This gives the callee the information they need before they decide whether or not to take the call.

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