How to Obtain Phone History (3 Steps)
By Lori Spencer
Sometimes you need to confirm exactly when a particular phone call was made or when a text message was sent. Your phone company or wireless provider keeps a record of every incoming and outgoing call or text as well as the date, time and duration (or the number calling/texting you). You can get copies of your own call history directly from your phone service provider.
Get Your Phone Call History
Getting phone records for your land line or wireless phone generally requires no effort. Your phone company or long-distance provider includes a call detail record on each month's bill.
If you have an online account with your phone service provider, it's easy to look up and print your own call history on their website, even going back a couple of years.
Alternatively, you can also call your phone company and ask them to send you printed copies of your call detail history for a given time period.
If you have a prepaid cell phone, however, getting copies of your phone call history can be a somewhat time-consuming and lengthy process. First, contact your prepaid service provider and find out what that company's requirements are. Some companies will provide customers a courtesy copy of their phone records once a year at the customer's written request; others will only release phone records by court order or subpoena.
For example, TracFone, America's top provider of prepaid wireless phone service, does release call history records to customers at no cost. However, you must produce several documents to prove you are the rightful owner of the phone and have the legal authority to request call detail records for that specific phone number. These are outlined in the next step.
If required, send your prepaid cell phone provider a written request. This can be a form it gives you to fill out or a notarized letter. The request must include your name, address, cellular number, the phone's ESN/IMEI (usually found on the back of the phone's battery compartment), and a statement that you are the legal owner of that phone. Be sure to indicate the specific time period for the call history you are requesting.
Additionally, you may be required to provide a clear, legible photocopy of the back of the phone itself. Fax or mail all this information to your wireless provider. It will process your request within 30 days.
Lori Spencer has written professionally since 1986. She is the author of three nonfiction books, is writing her fourth and provides content for eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM. She also produces and hosts a weekly radio show. Her subjects of expertise include history, media, music, film and the performing arts.