How to Link a Cell Phone Number to a Person

By Colleen Collins

Sometimes all you have is a cell phone number with no idea whose it is. Maybe it showed up on your phone caller ID, was listed in your cell phone statement as a number that called you or was jotted down on a piece of paper. It might seem difficult finding the name associated with that number, but actually it's not. By checking the number in some databases and search engines and conducting a little investigative work, it's possible to link that cell phone number to a person.

Call the cell phone number. The person's name might be on the voice message, or a live person might answer the phone. In the latter case, introduce yourself, explain how you came by the cell phone number and ask the person's name. If you receive an automated message that has no one's name on it and you're comfortable leaving a message, briefly explain how you got their number, that you'd like to know the person's name and leave your return number for a callback.

Run a reverse phone number search in Google. The most comprehensive, free public search engine available is Google. To run a reverse search, enter the number in the Google browser (in the format "555-666-7777" without the quotation marks), press Enter and view the results. The cell phone number might display in such places as blogs, online resumes, websites, social networking sites and more. Check for any names associated with the number in those listings.

Run a reverse phone number check in Pipl (see "Pipl phone lookup" in References, below). Pipl is a deep web search engine (meaning its search capabilities find online content missed by traditional search engines). Enter the phone number, press the Search button and view the results. Look for a person's name associated with the number.

Hire a private investigator. This option costs money, but a private investigator who specializes in skip tracing (finding people) has the experience and resources to find the name associated with a cell phone number. To find a qualified private investigator, contact your state professional private investigator association or ask an attorney who he uses for skip tracing.