Reverse phone search is a way of identifying an unknown caller by their phone number. Also referred to as reverse phone lookup, this service pulls subscriber information from multiple sources, including carrier databases. It can find the name, address, and other details provided by a subscriber when registering their phone number. These pieces of information are useful for determining whether an unknown caller is a genuine contact or a scammer, spammer, or stalker.
What is a Phone Number Search?
Phone number search refers to the use of a phone number search service to conduct a phone number lookup. Phone number search services are online services that enable users to gain access to detailed information associated with specific phone numbers that are provided during a search. Some of the information provided are the caller’s full name, address, financial records, criminal records, email ID, etc.
Typically, most phone number searches are conducted with reverse phone lookup services that allow users to identify the owner of a phone number and other relevant information within seconds. These phone number search services have search engines where users can enter the phone numbers they intend to lookup. After entering a specific phone number on the search engine, click on the search button or icon. The system will scan all the pages and carrier databases to bring out the necessary information, after which related search results will be shown.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- Washington D.C.
What are Phone Numbers?
A phone number is a unique sequence of numbers allocated to a specific telephone user station linked to a telephone line or a wireless electronic telephony gadget, such as a mobile telephone, radiotelephone, or other devices for data transmission through the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or other public and private networks. Telephone service operators assign phone numbers to subscribers in accordance with the structure of a national or regional telephone numbering plan, which may be state-controlled administrations, business entities, or other telecommunication industry corporations.
A phone number works as an address for converting telephone calls with a system of destination code routing. With a telephone device, a caller can enter or dial a phone number, and the device will transmit the sequence of numbers over a specific network from the originating station to the final destination, which is the recipient’s cell phone.
Based on a survey by the CDC’s biannual National Health Interview Survey (NCHS) of over 15,000 households in the United States, landline phones are speedily losing relevance as most residents are switching from landline phones to mobile phones. In 2004, over 90 percent of US adults lived in households with a functioning landline phone, but as of 2019, that percentage fell below average to about 40 percent. This indicates that while the use of mobile phones rose by about 60 percent, the use of landline phones dropped by 55 percent.
Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are the major cellular carriers in the US, however, there are no official statistics showing which of them is predominantly used in the US. The growth rate of the use of VoIP business lines in the US massively increased in the United States from 6.2 million to 41.6 million, adding over 35 million VoIP lines between 2010 and 2018. Also, residential VoIP lines increased from about 28 million to 76.6 million during the same period, according to reports by the Federal Communications Commission.
Can I Search a Phone Number and Find Out Who it is?
Yes, it is possible to search a phone number and identify who the caller is by conducting a phone number search. A phone number search answers the following basic questions:
- Who called me?
- Who is this number registered to?
- Where is this number calling from?
- Where an area code is from?
People search phone numbers for varying reasons. Some reasons may be to unveil a likely spoofed number or robocall. They are also useful for combating phone scams. In such a case, a reverse lookup search can get the true identity of a caller if a fraudulent call is received, where the caller requests certain confidential financial information and attempts to scam the recipient or claims to be who they are not. An individual can easily use a reverse phone lookup service to search by entering the caller’s phone number and waiting for the search results to reveal who the caller is.
Is there a Free Way to Search Someone’s Phone Number?
There are many options to look up a person’s phone number for free without paying a dime; a free reverse phone search service is a good example. Reverse phone search services exist for looking up and uncovering the identities of unknown callers, but free phone number lookup services will only return limited information.
Free phone number search services enable users to look up details of cell phone numbers, landline numbers and may even work with non-published numbers. Some really good free reverse phone lookup services may even allow users to view publicly available records; thereby, the user may be able to deduce the true identity of the person who called and decide whether to communicate or not. In addition, free reverse phone lookup services may allow users to check the complaints and comments posted online about a phone number and block calls from spammers and unknown numbers.
These services use publicly available information to get the details of callers whose phone numbers are entered into the search engines. Typically, phone number lookup services search all the relevant databases to provide users with the information they desire. Some of the relevant databases searched are social media, public records, and user-contributed address books, enabling them to get more precise details and sometimes photos of the callers. Some free phone search services offer phone number lookup by name and phone number lookup by address.
How to Find Free Reverse Phone Number Lookup?
A person interested in doing a free reverse lookup can type “free reverse cell phone lookup” into the search field of Google or a related search engine and click the search button. The search results will show a list of websites that provide this service. You can select from any of the top options by clicking on the link to the website.
After accessing the website, type in the phone number and click the search icon or button. Some reverse phone number lookup websites render their services for free, while others only grant a free-trial period that will elapse after 7 days. Free reverse phone lookup apps are also available on smartphones and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store (for Android phones) and Apple Store (for iPhones).
What is a Phone Number Area Code?
A phone number area code is the first three-digit number at the beginning of a 10-digit US telephone number, in the format +1 XXX... Area codes are uniquely structured by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) to differentiate between the Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs) in a state. The NANP assigns each area a three-digit area code, which is prefixed to each telephone number issued in its service area. However, some geographic numbering plan areas are assigned more than one area code in an overlay plan to prevent the exhaustion of telephone numbers and central office codes in growing areas.
The two major types of area codes in the United States are local and toll-free. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the toll-free area codes are 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833. All other codes are the local area codes. Just like other area codes, toll-free codes are not interchangeable. For instance, dialing a number with a 1-844 prefix instead of a 1-833 prefix will reach a different recipient. This also applies to other toll-free numbers as well. Hence, it is important to dial a number using the actual toll-free number assigned by the FCC. Calls to individual toll-free numbers are routed to specific local telephone numbers.
With the rise of area code spoofing, where fraudsters dubiously disguise their caller ID information, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices. The FTC provides information to help consumers identify, stop, avoid, and report scams and fraud. The FTC maintains the National Do Not Call Registry, where individuals can register multiple numbers to reduce unsolicited calls. The Do Not Call Registry only stops calls from legitimate telemarketers. Phone scams and dubious telemarketers do not obey the FTC rules governing the Registry.
What is a Prefix Code?
Prefix codes are the first three numbers that appear after the area code. Typically prefix codes provide a more defined location of a telephone number, such as a town or a city. An area code does not need to be dialed when dialing a phone number with the same prefix code. Phone numbers having the same prefix codes indicate that they were registered in the same geographic region.
What are Phone Search Services?
Phone search services are services that enable users to search for information about unfamiliar phone numbers. These services are useful in the following ways:
- To identify a fraudster impersonating a reputable entity that calls to request financial or confidential information
- To lookup an area code that the recipient of a call is unfamiliar with
- To track the actual location of a caller
- To get basic information on an identified caller
- To get business-related information on a potential business partner
- To identify the close relatives of a caller, including their phone numbers
What is a VoIP Number?
VoIP numbers are numbers assigned to individual subscribers, which means they can be used simultaneously on multiple devices, unlike telephone numbers that are assigned to specific phone lines. VoIP numbers facilitate the conveyance of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol networks, such as the internet, where subscribers can use broadband internet connections instead of regular phone lines to make voice calls. Below are the benefits of using a VoIP number:
- VoIP numbers are not limited by geographical location. They enable calls from anywhere around the world, provided there is a stable connection to the internet.
- VoIP numbers are scalable and do not require the purchase of expensive hardware or dedicated lines
- VoIP numbers have relatively cheap operational and maintenance costs, hence making them more cost-effective than regular phone services. In addition, with VoIP numbers, users can make cheaper long-distance calls, including international calls.
- VoIP numbers allow premium features, such as multimedia support and other related services, for free or at a very low cost
- VoIP numbers enable multitasking, which implies that users can send documents, images, and videos, while simultaneously engaging in a conversation.
- With VoIP numbers, the voice quality provided during calls is top-notch. Users are guaranteed better voice quality with VoIP calls, particularly when the internet connection is stable, and the bandwidth is high.
- VoIP numbers have a simple setup and maintenance system.
- VoIP numbers can work on multiple devices at the same time, and that allows for flexibility.
- VoIP numbers are well secured as they are protected by the IP technology through its encryption and improved identity management system.
Some vulnerabilities come with using a VoIP phone number. These include:
- VoIP numbers can only function where there is a good internet connection. If the user’s network bandwidth is low, the service will most likely be bad.
- It is almost impossible to track and pinpoint where a VoIP call originates because of VoIP’s portability and accessibility.
- Calls from VoIP numbers are easily spoofed. Call blocking is the best recourse for those receiving calls from spoofed VoIP numbers.
Is There a Way to Lookup a Phone Number for Free?
Yes. There are several free ways to look up a phone number. For starters, you can query search engines with the number and look it up on social media. There are also free reverse phone search apps on the internet. However, there is a catch with each of these free options.
Search engines are not accurate and do not filter results. So, you may have to manually go through tens of pages to find the results you seek. Likewise, there is no guarantee you will find the number with a social media search because social media search engines are primed for name searches rather than number searches. Lastly, there is the issue of privacy and security with free reverse phone search apps. In exchange for access to the free service, many apps request you first grant them access to your contact and location.
Simply put, it is possible to look up a phone number for free, but there are no guarantees you will find the information you seek. Reverse phone search services, on the other hand, are designed to retrieve the information you seek and present it in an easy-to-read format.
Is Reverse Phone Lookup Legal?
In most cases, yes. A phone search is a legal service in the United States, as long as it is done for legitimate purposes. You may incur legal action if you use the phone search results for harassment, cyberstalking, or other illegal activities.
In the United States, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits using phone number search services for specific telemarketing purposes. Additionally, some countries have privacy laws limiting information collected and shared through reverse phone search services. So, before using a phone lookup service, check the laws in your country to ensure that you are using the service legally.
What Information Can I Find from a Phone Number Search
Depending on the source or service used, a phone number lookup can provide the registered name of the person to whom the phone number belongs. It may also indicate the general location where the number was registered, information about the carrier, the type of phone, and phone numbers associated with the same person. A phone lookup may provide insight into other people connected to the individual with the said number and any public records tied to that individual, like addresses, business affiliations, or potentially even criminal records.
Phone number searches are especially relevant to the US criminal justice system, and it has various applications with regard to inmate searches. For instance, prison officials or investigators might use phone number lookups to confirm the legitimacy of an inmate's contact list. They might also want to verify the identity of someone an inmate is in touch with. If authorities aim to identify or track potential associates of a known criminal or inmate, cross-referencing phone numbers can be a helpful option. In some instances, criminal investigators use phone number lookups as part of their broader investigations to determine if an inmate has contact with specific individuals or if they are potentially involved in ongoing criminal activities. For victims, identifying if a specific inmate is trying to contact them can be vital, especially in personal crimes. On the flip side, family and friends of inmates might need to look up the phone numbers of correctional facilities to obtain information about visitation, inmate status, and other related matters.