Top 5 Sites to Identify the Owner of a Phone Number
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Phone numbers are a little like fingerprints; they can reveal a lot about a person, for example, their name or where they live. If you received a call from a number you don’t recognize, the following resources can help you identify the caller before you ring them back.

The Limits of an Online Phone Number Search

Several online tools let you reverse lookup and possibly identify who a phone number is registered to.

Unfortunately, you will run into several limitations with any phone number identification:

  1. If someone added their number to the National Do Not Call Registry How to Get on the "Do Not Call List" in Your Country How to Get on the "Do Not Call List" in Your Country Tired of telemarketers, robocalls, scams, and all other kinds of phone-related nuisances? You need to get on your country's Do Not Call list, pronto! Read More or had it removed from a site like WhitePages, it will be difficult to trace that phone number.
  2. It’s almost impossible to find out the identity of the person behind a mobile phone number for free. Though with North American numbers, you can at least find where the number was registered.
  3. Moreover, many “free” services will try to sell you their service, even if it is possible to find the information for free elsewhere.
  4. Some countries, including the UK and Australia, have restricted the reverse lookup of phone numbers. So if you’re trying to find a number from these countries, you’re out of luck.
  5. Phone numbers can go out of service or change owners. Since it can take some time for a service to catch up on these changes, you can never fully rely on the information you find online.

With those restrictions in mind, let’s look at the best strategies to check for the origin or owner of a phone number.

Top Sites to Find a Phone Number

1. Google

This is the brute force method of identifying a phone number, but it’s quick, easy, and completely free. If the call is from an official or otherwise public source, a search engine like Google or DuckDuckGo might come up with every last detail about the location and owner of the phone number.

The screenshot below, for example, shows the Google result when searching for the number of the National Do Not Call Registry.

Searching for a phone number on Google.

Your Google search did not amount to much, so what next?

Bonus: Find Out Where the Phone Number Is From

Before you can choose the best service to identify the owner of a phone number, let’s narrow it down to a specific location first. You can skip this step if you recognize the country and area code. For automatic location lookup, you can also skip ahead and try the first online tool listed below.

Generally, a North American phone number consists of 10 digits. The first three digits represent the area code, meaning you can use these numbers to narrow down the location of the number. An easy way to do this is to type the three digits followed by the phrase “area code” into a Google search.

Searching for the area code of a phone number on Google.

It’s a little more complicated if you’ve received a call from an international number. You should see a much longer number, including a country code, which can be anywhere from one (e.g. +1 for USA and Canada) to three (e.g. +506 for Costa Rica) digits long. Just as outlined above, head over to Google, type in the number with the phrase “country code”, and you’ll get an instant answer.

To find out more about the number’s location within a country, you’ll need to learn more about how their phone numbers work. For example, area codes in Germany generally start with a zero and can be three to five digits long, such as 030 for Berlin or 0711 for Stuttgart. In a long distance call from Germany (country code +49), however, the number should show up as +49-711-xxxxxx, i.e. omitting the zero from the area code.

Now that you have a better idea of where the phone number is from, choose a service that covers this location.

2. Whitepages

Location: North America

Whitepages reverse phone lookup service.

Whitepages is one of the most established online services to find people and phone numbers in the US. Use this website to do a reverse lookup for North American landline and mobile numbers. Just enter the number in the Phone search field and hit Enter.

If Whitepages does not have an entry, it will give you some basic details about the number, such as its location and spam or fraud risk.

Note: Whitepages offers monthly subscription packages for users located in the United States. Premium users will gain access to additional information, like mobile phone numbers and full address history. This is one of the more trustworthy services you’ll encounter when trying to look up a phone number online.

3. WhoCallsMe

Location: International, but primarily North America

Reverse phone number lookup database for telemarketers and public numbers.

Do you suspect that you’re receiving unsolicited calls from a scammer, telemarketer, or a pollster? Then this is the service you should try. Enter the number in the search field and hit Search.

WhoCallsMe will tell you everything it knows about this number, including its location and any reports it has collected from other users. Once you’ve entered a number, you can contribute to the service’s database by leaving your own notes about the caller.

A similar page is Who Called Us.

4. Searchbug

Location: North America

Reverse phone number lookup using Searchbug.

This tool can quickly help you look up the location of North American phone numbers. Just type in the phone number, hit Search, and wait for Searchbug’s data on this number.

If they can’t find a public record for this number, you’ll at least learn whether this is a toll-free, landline, or mobile number and possibly where the caller is located.

Note: Searchbug will try to charge you for additional information, like the full name of the owner of the phone number, though you might be able to find it for free online.

5. NumberVille

Location: International

Search international phone numbers and find the owner and location.

This site is similar to Searchbug, but it works with international numbers, too. It appears to offer more information for free, including current and past addresses associated with a phone number; I suspect it pulls this data from Whitepages. I also had the impression it was more up-to-date than its competitors, such as ReversePhoneLookup or SpyDialer.

Note: NumberVille will log and publicly display your IP address, so you better use a VPN if you want to stay anonymous 11 Reasons Why You Need a VPN and What It Is 11 Reasons Why You Need a VPN and What It Is Virtual private networks can protect your privacy. We explain what exactly they do and why you should use a VPN. Read More .

Did You Manage to Identify the Phone Number?

It’s not easy to find the owner of a phone number, including their name and location. But hopefully, you have a better idea of who’s given you an unsolicited call.

Have you been on the receiving end of spam calls? Learn how to block those unwanted calls How to Stop Annoying Telemarketers & Robocalls From Calling You How to Stop Annoying Telemarketers & Robocalls From Calling You Are you tired of being called by prerecorded messages and robots? Here's why that happens and what you can do to stop them. Read More once and for all.

Explore more about: Location Data, Phone Numbers, Web Search.

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  1. Alphadog
    June 6, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Really? A 10 year old article?? Tip: nothing works anymore!!

  2. Madhu
    November 29, 2018 at 9:33 am

    One of the waste article author don't have common sense among sixth sense

    please don't follow him.
    waste article totally my time is waste for his article and data also
    not working above phone number owner info but still she is blaming us his article..
    waste fellow

  3. Tanmay
    February 16, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    fake wesite.......

    • Tina Sieber
      February 21, 2018 at 2:01 am

      What is fake?

  4. Rick
    February 12, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Well, this article needs a little refreshing. Google Phonebook does not exist anymore it only existed for a short period of time and then Google pulled the plug because it got too many complaints from users whose information was exposed. Also this list should include a few names like Cellrevealer.us that works great for U.S. based cell numbers. I would also include some Apps that use crowd sourcing to locate phone numbers. But the top two services for locating spammy calls are a great shot.

    • Tina Sieber
      February 13, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Thank you for the heads-up, Rick. During the past 8 years, things have certainly changed. We're in the progress of updating old articles and this one is on the list.

  5. Ai
    January 17, 2017 at 3:26 am

    It's not free

    • Tina Sieber
      January 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      What isn't, Ai?

  6. Joe
    July 9, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Try Phone-Trace.com
    It gives a lot of info for free. You can get more details if you pay a fee, but you will probably find what you need for free.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 11, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Thank you for the resource, Joe.

  7. Allan Parker
    April 23, 2015 at 2:01 am

    The whole post sucks...........

    • coolboy
      May 20, 2016 at 5:32 am

      haha correct

  8. Anonymous
    February 2, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Get me the owner of this number in south africa 0824248243

    • Anonymous
      October 6, 2015 at 3:42 am

      Mxo Xulu

  9. Searchbug
    January 25, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Here is an eHow article on this topic:
    http://www.ehow.com/how_5902691_identify-phone-number.html

    And a youtube Instructional Video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amReiGC-Ky0

  10. Aditya
    January 8, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Can any one tell me about the services for Indian phone numbers.

  11. VIRAJ
    January 8, 2010 at 1:47 am

    howdy :)
    above info pretty good,but penultimately useless stuff for Indians ..

    need to work on it..

  12. Laura
    November 7, 2009 at 10:28 pm
  13. Sheldon Swartz
    November 4, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I wish Google Phonebook were real. The article's link simply takes you to Google itself; that page looks nothing like that shown in the article.

    • Tina
      November 4, 2009 at 1:55 pm

      Sheldon,

      as described in the article, the option only comes up when a number is found using the link I provided. There is no direct link to the phone book, at least I could not find one.

      • Sheldon Swartz
        November 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm

        Well, I have read articles elsewhere and their info is just as incorrect. Yet the article posted here shows an actual Google page that, in the graphic, says "Google Phonebook."

        • Tina
          November 4, 2009 at 6:58 pm

          Yes it does, because that what comes up when there is an entry.

          Let me explain it again...
          You use the link I posted, yes the one you think is wrong, just use it. Search for a person or phone number in the US. If Google finds an entry, you will see the PhoneBook results as shown in the screenshot.

          As far as I know, that is the only way to it. If you know of another, e.g. a direct link, please share! I could not find one. Period. :)

  14. Robby
    November 4, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Useful! Thank you for the information and for that added by various commentors.

  15. mishkinj
    October 28, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Another good one for looking up land lines is AnyWho: anywho.com/rl.html

    • mike
      October 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

      I've been using the anywho.com/rl for year and it's worked best for trying to figure out who was calling.

  16. Prepaid Tarife
    October 25, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Thank you, also we have in germany an other service klicktel.de and also rueckwaertssuche.

  17. Perditia
    October 25, 2009 at 6:18 am

    For Germany I always use Klicktel klicktel.de/inverssuche/ which is often better than Telefonbuch or Das Örtliche

  18. ben
    October 23, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    any ones for the uk

  19. Jones
    October 19, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    I know everything google ... and missed their phonebook. Thanks for sharing

  20. marvin therobot
    October 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Input my cell number, several of these returned it as a LANDLINE. Why would I pay for more info from these folks?

    • Tina
      October 17, 2009 at 7:30 am

      I take it your own cell number is North American. The number I tested with returned correct information. Thank you for reporting that it may not be 100% reliable!

      On paying...
      I do not recommend paying for further information. You don't have to know everything after all. I compiled links to find out as much as possible for free.

  21. Cru Jones
    October 16, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Thie site is as helpful as the pay site links it provides!

  22. Kevin
    October 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    #7 doesn't work. Typed in my own cell phone number and it told me that it was a landline and that the carrier was something I've never heard of.

    • Tina
      October 17, 2009 at 7:27 am

      That's strange. Is your cell phone number North American? I tested it with a Canadian cell phone number, which worked fine.

  23. Nunuv Yerbiznezz
    October 15, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I use 800notes.com/. It's free, and it's a user-driven database like #1. Although the URL suggests it's for toll-free numbers, it reports on all calls. It even has an entry for 786-000-0000.

  24. neb
    October 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    useful

  25. Vikram
    October 14, 2009 at 8:24 am

    this is cool i have a tips on my site to locate mobile number.

  26. nishant
    October 14, 2009 at 5:50 am

    ne phone book for india???

    • Tina
      October 14, 2009 at 8:59 am

      Nishant,

      apparently Vikram (the following commenter) found a website that can locate mobile phone numbers in India. It doesn't seem to reveal the owner's name, though.

      Here is the link to Bharatiya Mobile:
      trace.bharatiyamobile.com/

      • ram
        November 8, 2009 at 6:34 am

        but it will not trace the mobile owner and address.
        pls let me know if u find any online traker to find the owner and the address of the number.

  27. John Green
    October 14, 2009 at 10:31 am

    A good US reverse look-up resource is the Verizon affiliate @
    whitepages.com/10866/reverse-lookup
    on commercial land lines it provides the business name/location plus the manager/CEO information

    • Tina
      October 15, 2009 at 1:58 am

      John,
      thank you for pointing this out! I missed the extra information for commercial numbers.

  28. deecee
    October 14, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I've had good luck for years using SearchBug: searchbug.com

  29. MJ
    October 14, 2009 at 3:13 am

    The Swiss Phonebook http://tel.search.ch/

    • grappler
      October 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm

      Yea it is good because it tels you also how many people there are with that name. great site!
      what about mobile fones this was for landlines.

    • grappler
      October 14, 2009 at 12:32 pm

      Great site, use it alot! 1 great feature tells you how many people there are in switzerland with the same name.

    • Tina
      October 14, 2009 at 12:50 pm

      Thank you for sharing MJ!

    • CSquared
      October 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm

      This will come in handy thanks! To bad you have to pay for the cell phones :( But when ever I need a number from Switzerland!

  30. Pleased as Pumpkin Pie
    October 13, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    I found this article to be surprisingly useful and super convenient. Thank you for your thoughtfulness in compiling this list.

    • Tina
      October 14, 2009 at 2:37 am

      Thank you very much for the positive feedback!

  31. Sheldon Swartz
    October 13, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Too bad you have to pay for this information. I thought makeuseof was not about pay-for sites? Even the URL in the article was wrong.

    • Tina
      October 14, 2009 at 2:37 am

      Sheldon,

      MakeUseOf is all about free tools! We do not promote using pay options, but if there is no other option, we will point it out. People would come and ask for it anyhow.

      So in this case (cell phone numbers) only part information is available for free and I explained how to access it. I merely mentioned that finding the full information was not free.

      Which URL did you find to be wrong? Google PhoneBook? There is no direct link. As seen in the screenshot, the PhoneBook option comes up when Google finds an entry for a given number.

    • Aibek
      October 14, 2009 at 2:56 am

      Which site are you referring to? I am well familiar with most of the above sites and as far as I am aware they are free.

  32. Ishan@ILoveFreeSoftware
    October 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I was once trying to get this information last year, and wasn't able to find any free service which provides that. I wish I knew about Google providing this service for free at that time.

  33. Kevin
    October 13, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    this was a very useful page for me as i was gettin calls from this other number in Greece ta 4 helping me track it down Kev,Zimbabwe

  34. Elia Kernell
    October 13, 2009 at 9:48 am

    This Stinksand such a bore!