How reverse phone lookup works

Imagine you had your phone on silent, missed a call and the number on your display doesn’t mean anything to you or you’re looking through your pockets and find a piece of paper with a name scribbled onto it but there is not name with it. How do you find out who these people are? Is it safe to call back or is it a scam? The answer is easy, just do a reverse phone lookup and you will most definitely get answers to your questions. But how exactly do I do it and how does that work?

How to do a reverse phone search

Back in the days, before the internet, people simply checked the printed phone directories, provided by the phone companies which only included landline numbers. Nowadays, the internet made this a lot easier and broader. The two most common ways of looking up the name behind a number are:

  • Using Google or another search engine: simply type in the number into the search field (the numbers must be separated by hyphens ***-***-****) and click search. Google will offer phone book results, these include the phone owner’s name, their address, and sometimes even a map on which their exact location is marked. However, not all numbers are listed in Google and this only works for landline numbers.
  • Using a Reverse Phone Lookup Site: It is also possible to use a site that has been specifically designed to do reverse searches of landlines as well as cell phones and find out the owner’s name, address, city and their carrier. Information on landline numbers is for free, in order to find information on cellular though, you will have to pay. Why’s that? Cellular networks have a strict control of access to their phone numbers and only share information if you pay for it. So if you have a missed call from a cell phone you want to look for the “advanced search” or “for more information” functions. Here you usually get to the paid functions that can provide you with unlisted landlines and mobile numbers for a persons, as well as further personal information.