How to Find an Unknown Telephone Number

by Joanna Davidson
BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Unknown numbers make us curious. Who was it? Was the call important? Researching the source of the phone number can offer information about the nature of the call. The Internet offers free and fee-based search options to locate the phone number's owner and other related information. Even cell phone providers offer new ways to track unknown callers and glean information about them.

Free Resources

Step 1

Type the full number, including spaces, into a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or MSN. Often this will lead you to the website or advertisement of the phone number owner, especially if it's a business number.

Step 2

Visit the website White Pages and enter the number into the "reverse phone lookup" field. This will tell you if it's a cell phone or land line, where the service may be located, and sometimes will reveal the owner of the phone number. On that page, PeopleSmart also offers an option to look up the owner's name and address for a fee.

Step 3

On the Yellow Pages home page, click on the "by phone number" link at the top of the page. Enter the area code and phone number in the search field.

Use free services such as 800notes to see if other people have received a call from the same number. Type the number into the search field and the site will bring up all other posts referring to that number, including any call information and what users have discovered about the number.

Fee-Based Resources

Step 1

Search for number search services in a search engine. Services like US Search offer a profile and detailed information, such as the name, income and address of the number owner, for a fee.

Step 2

Search the number by texting it from your cell phone to 566587 (for a charge of $1.99, or $2.99 per month for unlimited searches, as of 2010).

Perform a background check using the phone number as a starting point. Websites like Intelius offer these background searches with a reverse phone number look-up option. Reports include information on the phone number owner, phone carrier and carrier location.


  • If the number starts with 900 or another fee-based number, do not return the call. It may be a scam, looking to collect phone numbers for advertisement calls, and it may cost you money to return the call.
  • Research the search service so you are aware of possible service charges or other data/service charges through your cell phone service.


  • Pay attention to the phone number format requested on each website. Some sites require dashes in between the area code and number, some require spaces, and some do not require any characters between number sections.


Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Chicago, Joanna Davidson has been writing professionally since 2004. She has worked as a medical writer for companies such as Abbott Labs, Reputation and HH Financial, and her freelance articles have appeared in "Scripture Press," "Trinity Magazine" and other periodicals. Davidson holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Trinity International University.

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