There could be several scenarios where you wish to know the details of an unknown number. Historically we are accustomed to searching phone numbers with reference to name and address. But searching details with reference to a cell phone number or a landline number, commonly known as reverse phone lookup, is a challenging task. There are a plethora of free applications and services out there in the market such as Spy Dialer, AnyWho, TrueCaller, Hiya, Call Control, etc., which can help you in revealing details of any phone number.
Unfortunately, no service can give you guaranteed results and even if it does then there is always a question of its accurateness. There is also an inherent risk involved in dealing with any free application providing free reverse lookup functionality. On the other side, in some cases, Google could also help you in the backward tracing of any phone number.
Competition and requirement, both are massive, and that’s why so many paid services have cropped up in a short span of time. But are they reliable? We will try to answer this question later in this article.
Typical scenarios where you want to know the phone number details
- Somebody is giving you a lot of miss call to annoy you,
- Missed a call from an unknown number and wondering who called you,
- You wrote a phone number on a piece of paper and later forgot the details around it,
- You got a call from a company representative and now wants to verify the legitimacy of the phone call.
Is it a landline or mobile number?
It is essential to know what are you searching for. Landline number is relatively easier to search than a mobile number. The very purpose of a mobile number is privacy. You take a mobile number to talk privately with your convenience. Also, everyone is not comfortable with sharing cell number details online. AT&T, Sprint, etc. are the most prominent mobile operators who cannot afford to give away their customer’s database just like that.
Whereas, landline numbers are provided by phone service providers who also maintains this in their directory. That’s why it is easier to perform a reverse lookup on landline number than a cellphone or mobile number.
How reverse phone number lookup works?
First of all, it is essential to understand that every free or paid service, providing the reverse lookup service, behaves like a search engine. These services look for data either in the public directories available across the internet or search inside their local database built over a span of time. The data mainly comprises of a phone number, name, address or location and sometimes even pictures.
For example, you must have heard of TrueCaller or might have even installed it on your smartphone. You must have gotten impressed when TrueCaller revealed details around an unknown number. At least, I was impressed when first time saw its functionality. As if now, there are many similar apps.
All these apps feed their database with your contact list. So, whenever you install it on your mobile phone, it asks you to allow it to access your contact list. Later, they store your complete contact list in their database. Once, when I searched for my mobile number on TrueCaller then it provided a bizarre name output as “Rupesh Houston Temp Num”. This name must have come from someone’s contact list who might have saved my contact with this name.
If a number is available in the public space on the internet then any popular search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. can help you with reverse phone lookup service. Sometimes, people provide their number on a website which is publicly accessible. Search engines crawl every part of the internet and stores every possible information which they come across, including your private information.
Now, let us see some free services for reverse phone lookup:
The National Cellular Directory claims to provide reverse phone lookup services on cell phone numbers including landline numbers. Additionally, you can also search phone number based on a name. It runs daily 1-hour free premium search based on name and number. But happy hours timings are not constant, and you have to follow below steps to keep a track on it:
- Create an account on its website.
- Then follow its social media page on Facebook and Twitter. Here you will get regular updates on happy hours timings.
- You can carry out two free searches during this time.
I was able to get details on a couple of landline numbers which were mostly business oriented. You can try it out for sure since neither you have to provide your details nor any money. So, there is nothing to lose.
Whitepages is one of the most popular platforms in North America region for tracing details on any phone number. Here, you can also find number related to name and address. Whitepages boasts of having 5 billion global identity records. It does serve paid services, but you do not have to pay for reverse phone number lookup.
Also, Whitepages are good with landline numbers only.
Spy dialer is worth a mention on this list since it is a free directory and has a neat and clean interface. You do not have to sign up for searching any details. It allows you to perform the search based on phone number, people, address and even email, which is kind of uncommon on other similar websites.
As per the website, they provide 100% legal and free service since they collect all information from public directories, social media and user-contributed address books. Although, you can do three free phone lookups per day. If you want to do more, then you have to provide your address book and become its member.
AnyWho is yet another online directory. Here you get options to search for any business on its Yellow Pages tab. You can also search for people based on name, number and address and the last option is reverse phone lookup.
I would suggest you reverse lookup on landline numbers only. It is not that good with cellphone numbers.
Third-party applications which work as reverse telephone directory
Lastly, there is a range of third-party applications such as TrueCaller, Hiya, Call Control, Mr Number, etc. are some excellent contender for reverse phone number search. Please keep in mind that database of these applications feeds on user’s phonebook or contacts. So, once you download these apps on your smartphone, you must allow them to access your whole contacts or phonebook.
I am not cool in revealing my contact details along with my other phonebook numbers to these apps. In the past, even TrueCaller got hacked by Syrian Electronic Army ( a group of hackers), and there was a possible breach in TrueCaller’s database.