Perhaps you have just received a phone call, but you don’t recognize the number. If you’d like to investigate further who just called you, there’s a specific search technique you can use to lookup where this number might have originated from, and that’s called a reverse phone lookup.
What is a reverse phone lookup?
A reverse phone lookup is a simple way to track a phone number by typing in the phone number to a search engine or directory and seeing which listing comes back associated with that particular number.
There are several ways to look up a phone number on the Web; in this article, we’ll use Google. The popular search engine tracks so much information on people that it’s a gold mine for investigators.
How to Use Google to search phone number
It used to be possible to use Google’s phonebook search operator to do a reverse phone lookup. However, in November 2010, Google officially shut down the phonebook operator, due to the large numbers of people finding themselves in Google’s index and sending in requests to be removed.
While this has made tracking a phone number a little bit less intuitive, however, you can still use Google to do a reverse phone lookup:
Type the full phone number (including area code) into Google’s search box; i.e., 555-555-1212. You’ll see the number listed at dozens of different phone directories. Unfortunately, since Google changed the way they list phone numbers, this is what we have to work with.
If the number is attached to a business, that business (usually) will show up in the first five search results.
If the number is attached to a private household, the address most likely will not show up attached to the number. However, if that person has placed their number anywhere else on the Web, perhaps at a social networking site, then that listing will show up. You can also track down phone numbers using the tricks found in this resource: Five Ways to Find a Cell Phone Number Online.
You can also use Google to find addresses and phone numbers. Simply type the person’s full name plus their zip code, for example, “john smith 97204”.
This can potentially bring back a name, phone number, address, and a Google Map with directions to the residence; “potentially” because if the person you’re looking for has not had their address made publicly available, it most likely will not show up in search associated with any other information.
How to remove yourself from the Google phone directory
While Google doesn’t seem to have a public phone book listing anymore, it is still possible for you to remove your information (if it’s listed) from its directory.
Visit the Google Legal Removal Requests page to review Google’s policies on information and if necessary to have your information removed. However, do keep in mind that this will not remove your personal information anywhere else it might be stored on the Web .
Can you always find a phone number using Google?
While many people have great success using the methods outlined in this article to find a phone number, it should be noted that finding a phone number on Google using this method isn’t foolproof. If the phone number is unlisted or originates from a cell phone, the number most likely will not be found online.
DO NOT pay for this information if prompted – the sites asking you to do this have access to the same information that you do. If you can’t find it, the likelihood of these sites having different information is very slim.
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