How to Find an Unpublished Telephone Number

by Colleen Collins

It can be frustrating to need a telephone number, only to learn it's unpublished. Fortunately, there are ways to research unpublished phone numbers, including running free and fee-based reverse name searches and other online searches. You can also retain a private investigator to find an unpublished phone number.

Conduct a reverse name search. Google is the most comprehensive, public search engine available, whose searches include listings from Google Phonebook. Go to Google.com, enter the person's name, city and state (for example, "Sally Jones SmallTown Nebraska"), press the "Google Search" button, and review the results. If Google Phonebook finds a listing (because it pulls data from various public resources, it's possible an unpublished number might display), that name, number and address will appear at the top of the screen under "Phonebook results for Sally Jones SmallTown Nebraska." If not, check the other results for a phone number (for example, one of the results might be a link to an online resume--click the link to open the resume, and review its contents for a phone number).

Use a people search engine. There are various free people search engines, such as Whoozy, where you can look up a name and review the results for a possible number. Go to Whoozy.com, enter the person's first and last name, and press the "Search" button. On the results web page, click the "Open all results" button at the top left of the page to see all the search results in social networking sites; search engines; photo, video, audio sites; as well as personal facts, tags and more. Click on a link to review its content for a possible phone number (for example, click on a MySpace page link and check if the person listed his phone number there). You can also narrow the results by selecting a keyword in the "Filter with a keyword" box on the right side of the results web page.

Pay for a reverse name search. There are various online reverse name searches that, for a fee, provide information associated with that name, which might include an unpublished phone number. One such search is A1PeopleSearch, which lets you start with a free search, then offers fee-based searches to supplement the information. Go to A1peoplesearch.com, enter the person's first and last name in the "Free People Search By Name" box in the middle of the page, press the "Search" button and follow the instructions.

Hire a private investigator. Investigators have the skill, background and additional resources to help you find an unpublished number. To find a qualified private investigator, contact your state professional private investigator association (PI Magazine lists all state PI associations--go to Pimagazine.com, press the "PI Links" button in the top blue bar, and select "State Associations - USA"). Request an investigator who has expertise finding phone numbers.

About the Author

In 1997 Harlequin published Colleen Collins' first novel, followed by many more by Harlequin and Dorchester. Her articles and writing have appeared in "P.I. Magazine," "Pursuit Magazine" and "Cosmopolitan." She earned a B.A. in theater arts from University of California, Santa Barbara and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America.

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