How To Do a Free Cell Phone Number Lookup
A reverse phone lookup tool will work for cell phones as well as landlines. It is possible to find information about other people using only their phone numbers. Phone lookup services function by gathering all publicly available data associated with a phone number and presenting it to the inquirer.
In the past, people used phone directories to obtain information about the owners of unidentified phone numbers, such as name and address. A phone lookup now offers the same service as a phone directory search with the ease of online access. Despite the connection between phone directories and online phone lookup services, reverse phone searches are not only applicable to landlines but cell numbers too. Anyone can use cell phone numbers to acquire information about unknown callers.
With the advent of technology, there are now many ways to do a free cell phone number lookup. There are websites that allow you to do this, as well as apps that you can download to your smartphone. Several common methods include:
A Google Search
Search engines are the best place to start any reverse phone lookup. Google has bots that crawl the entire internet, searching for any publicly accessible data attached to the unidentified phone number. Websites, whether business or personal, and public comments on social media pages are reliable sources.
Most social media platforms require users to register using phone numbers or emails. Many users also include their phone numbers on their public profiles on social media platforms. As a result, searching for a phone number may help inquirers discover the attached profiles.
Reverse Phone Lookup Websites
Third-party websites offering free cell number lookup services exist. Interested people only have to log on to the websites and input the questionable phone number. Following the completion of a search, the websites offer the results. The results presented are generally drawn from their own internal databases and other publicly available records. Many free reverse phone lookup websites only provide limited information to users. In contrast, users who subscribe to these websites' premium services receive comprehensive details about callers with an unknown phone number.
Information Found in a Cell Number Lookup
The extent of personal details divulged in a phone search depends on the publicly accessible records attached to that phone number. Conducting phone number lookups on landlines may not provide as much personal information as those performed on cell phone numbers. In contrast to landlines, it is possible to link cell phones to specific users. This enables the gathering of more personalized details, unlike landlines which the entire household shares.
Names are usually the most vulnerable personal information that any phone number lookup reveals. Providing names and phone numbers is frequently required to gain access to many features, especially when registering new cell phone numbers. Cell phone number search websites gain access to some of these records and use them to satisfy pending inquiries.
Address or Previous Addresses
Cell phone lookup websites also readily provide addresses linked to phone numbers as that information is likely on one or two public records. Names, phone numbers, and addresses are typically the most basic requirement of any form. Addresses are usually on every public record. Hence, cell phone lookup websites can search every publicly accessible record and find all the addresses linked to any phone number.
Social Media Accounts
Social media platforms require users to register using their phone numbers. Some users also include their phone numbers on their public profiles so that new friends can easily reach them. However, social media networks save such information, which is sometimes shared with third parties.
Criminal and Court Records
Criminal records and court records that are not sealed remain publicly accessible. This allows phone lookup websites to access these records.
Information on Property Owned
Land ownership and other property records are public records. Inquirers are typically given a way to look up property owners through local authorities. Phone number lookup service providers can also access these records.
Family and Relatives
Cell number lookup websites may use similar names, places, and regions to acquire information about close relatives. Other times, this information can come from publicly accessible sources like marriage and birth records. It is also usual for social media users to tag close relatives on public profiles or public postings.
Contrarily, a phone lookup on landlines may only reveal minimal information, such as names and contact information.
Where Does Cell Phone Data Come from?
Websites offering reverse phone lookup services obtain their data from various sources. These service providers rely heavily on publicly available records such as court records, criminal records, marriage records, divorce records, and property records. Reverse phone lookup websites can harvest all the data attached to an individual’s phone number from these publicly available records.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers a guide to assist in safeguarding phone records and personal information. Parties can also use the FCC’s complaint center to report any case of a privacy breach.
Cell Phone Carriers
Additionally, cellular network providers typically maintain a database containing all the subscribers on their cell network. Phone number lookup websites gain access to these databases by paying the companies or obtaining the records through other means.
Another source of cell phone data is purchasing records from data brokers. Data brokers collect personal information through users’ interactions with various websites, search engines, and social media platforms. Other times, they buy from other companies. Cell number lookup businesses buy these records in bulk from data brokers and consult the database when the need arises.
On the other hand, telephone carriers are the main source of information for companies providing number lookups on landlines. The network providers release this information to phone number lookup companies.
Cell Number Lookup and Data Privacy
Preventing companies that offer cell phone number lookup services from getting private information can be challenging. Those who are concerned will frequently have to provide some personal information to the search engines, websites, and most-used mobile apps, and this information is frequently shared with third-parties.
Existing laws allow for the sharing and sale of personal data to some extent. Currently, collecting and selling personal information from publicly accessible records is legal for data brokers. Many data brokerage firms exploit this loophole. There are steps that phone users can take to limit the sharing of their personal information.
Cell Phone Carriers
Cell phone companies use their customers’ data to understand their consumers’ interests and deliver relevant adverts. Sometimes, data brokers and other companies receive some of the collected data.
Network providers usually provide an option for consumers who want to control how the companies share their personal information. Parties can contact their cell phone carrier to inquire about their opt-out option and activate the service.
Visiting Individual Websites
Parties can also choose not to have personal information revealed by going to the websites of companies that offer free reverse phone lookup services. Concerned persons can visit their websites and use the opt-out option available to remove their information from the database.
Use Third Party Websites
It is possible to request companies offering free reverse phone lookup services to remove your cell phone number from their database. It is also an option to hire private organizations to assist in reviewing the databases of large data brokers and subsequently erasing information.
How to Safeguard Your Data
While it’s possible to remove personal information from search tools, there are also ways to lessen one's data footprint online. These measures can minimize the amount of personal information that is publicly available:
- Deactivate any obsolete social media account.
- Review the contents of any personal blog or social media to ensure no personal information is revealed.
- Use Google’s activity controls to reduce or remove personal information from search results.
- Delete any app not in use.
- Only permit location sharing on very necessary apps.
- When surfing the internet, use incognito mode to drastically reduce how a website or search engine gathers information.
- Decline phone calls from unidentified callers.
If you do receive calls from unknown numbers, do not share any personal information over the phone.