How to Look Up the Location of a Phone Number

By Maya Austen

Updated August 23, 2017

Curious about a phone number that appears on a caller ID?
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There are several reasons why you might want to look up the location of a phone number. For example, perhaps you want to know more about a number that appears on your phone’s caller ID. Or perhaps the only contact information you have for someone is a phone number and you want to look up her address. Whatever your reasons for wanting to know where a phone number originates from, the most direct way to obtain this information is to call the phone number and ask. If you want to anonymously obtain this information, there are ways to do this too.

Reverse Number Tools

Use a free online reverse phone number lookup tool, such as the reverse phone search tools offered on the or websites. Enter the phone number you want to look up in the designated box on the reverse phone tool Web page. Click "Enter" to see the search results. If the phone number is listed in the general public directory, the results returned will show who the phone number is registered to and his location. To look up toll-free phone numbers (phone numbers with an 800, 866, 877, 888, 881, 883, 886, or 887 area code), the phone number search tool on the or websites could prove more useful. To look up the general location where a cell phone number was activated, the phone search tools on the or websites could prove more useful still.

Search Engines

Conduct a general Web search for the phone number using a general search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo! In the search engine “Search” box, type the phone number you want to look up encased in quotation marks. Try using various phone number formats. For example: “555-290-1234,” “555.290.1234” or “5552901234.” Click “Enter” and see what comes up in the search results. Information about the phone number may be published somewhere online.

Background Checks

Use a commercial online background check service such as to look up phone numbers that are unlisted in the general public directory and for which a general Web search proves fruitless. Beyond simply checking the general public phone directory, these background check services check all kinds of other public documents for matches to your query. Be prepared to pay a moderate fee for the use of this service.

Area Code Locations

Determine the general location of any landline or cell phone number by looking up the telephone number’s area code and prefix number – the first six numbers of a 10-digit phone number – using a tool such as the White Pages' “Phone Number Browsing” online tool. This will tell you the state, county and city location of the phone number; the phone company carrier and whether the number is a landline or wireless phone number.