There’s lots and lots of ads out there for free phone look-ups–what they give you is free information that’s available from numerous other sites, then they ask you to “click here” and, for a mere $34.95 (or some price), you can get the full background report on this person.
There’s no magical 100% correct database out there that’ll spit out the latest and greatest information associated with a phone number. We’re not saying you can’t get correct information. You might. But you, the buyer, should know you’re paying for information that could be old, outdated, or input incorrectly into a database (after all, human hands originally typed in the data). Or the phone number might have been correct at one time, but has since been ported to a new carrier.
So, saying all that, we’ll provide some free tips on doing a reverse check on a phone number, with some caveats thrown in for good measure. Last note: Type phone numbers in different formats (123-456-7890, 1234567890, 4567890).
Step 1: Run the phone number in Google. We love Google. It’s comprehensive search engine gives you a great starting point. It might give you more information than you were even looking for (for example, the number may display on someone’s online resume, ad, or social networking site). We once found a missing person by running her cell phone number in Google–although she’d hidden her whereabouts well (hopping from city to city, staying in different people’s homes, had no identifiable vehicle, had discontinued service on her cell phone although the number was still listed on her site), she was taking the time to log into her MySpace account to chat with her friends! She hadn’t made her account private, so it was easy to see what her activities were , who she was staying with, etc. on a daily basis!
Step 2: Run the number in various databases. Although it’s hard to compete with Google’s search engine, doesn’t hurt to follow up and check the number in other databases. For example, run the number in boardtracker.com, a forum search engine, or spokeo.com, a social networking search engine.
Step 3: Double-check if the number is a landline or cell. Helps to know if it’s a landline or cell phone number. If the latter, the person could be living anywhere (for example, their number might start with a Colorado area code, but they’re living in Delaware). There are dozens of sites that offer free checks for type of phone line, name of carrier, and geographical region of the phone number. One of our favorites is Phone Validator: http://www.phonevalidator.com/. (Again, keep in mind that the information returned may be outdated, or the number has ported to a new carrier).
Step 4: Still no leads? Rather than pay an unknown online database service that promises background information such as a person’s name, address, and more, we recommend contacting a qualified private investigator to research the phone number for you. Why? Online database background/reverse check services are automated, and as we’ve already stated, you might be paying for old, outdated, or incorrect data. Also, there’s no “live” person to field your questions, or read the results with an eye on accuracy or legality.
At our investigations agency, we’ve run many reverse phone number checks nationwide. Drop by our website, give us a call or send us an email: Highlands Investigations & Legal Services, Inc: www.highlandsinvestigations.com