After getting several harassing phone calls from the same number, you may be motivated to find out how to trace that phone number and determine exactly who is calling you. Even if a mobile phone number is unlisted, there are ways to track down the owner, though the process may not be quite as easy as you might hope.
No Central Directory
When it comes to most (listed) landlines, it is usually possible to do a free reverse phone lookup using a variety of different websites and 411 services. By providing a number, they'll tell you the same information you would find in a regular directory or phone book. Unfortunately, this same information isn't as readily available for mobile phones.
In fact, there is no official cell phone directory that is freely available to the public. Individual service providers may have a full directory of their subscribers, but these numbers are not publicly listed the way landlines are. Without a central directory, it can be a little challenging to get accurate phone number searches.
Basic Option: Phone Detective
There are a number of websites that will provide you with some basic information when you enter a cell phone number. One such example is Phone Detective. Using the site is very simple, though there is a fee to get a report with detailed information.
- Go to PhoneDetective.com.
- Enter the target phone number in the provided field, using the format 555-555-5555.
- Click on the Search Now button.
- Review the basic search results, which will show the registered location of the phone number.
- If the full results are available, the "Available" text will be clickable. You can alternatively click on the "Continue" button.
- Choose to purchase the individual phone report ($14.95) or the one-year premium membership ($39.95).
While the city associated with the phone number is available for free, any further information comes at a cost. If you intend on doing at least three searches in one year, then the annual membership may be worth your while.
The typical full report will include the owner's name and mailing address, as well as the possibility of household members, people search results, and other related information.
Comprehensive Option: Nationwide Search
Whereas Phone Detective focuses primarily on getting you the name and address of the owner, Nationwide Search can go much further. However, this more comprehensive search is considerably more expensive at $189.99 and can take a while to compile.
Additional information that may be available from a Nationwide Search full report includes:
- Social security number
- Past telephone number
- Address history for past 15 years
- Drivers license number
- Date of birth
- Other known aliases with same social security number
- Other addresses associated with same social security number
To use Nationwide Search:
- Go to Nationwidesearch.com and review the site's information.
- Go to the Trace a Cell Phone Number page from the navigation sidebar.
- Review the information about the results, requirements, and FAQs.
- Click on the order by credit card or order by checking account link.
- Fill out the resulting order form as best you can. All highlighted fields are required.
- Submit for processing.
Typical searches for US-based numbers can be done in just a few days with the full report becoming available in 3 to 10 days, but individual cases can vary widely. International searches can take over 60 days to complete.
Proceed with Caution
The legitimacy and cost of these types of services can vary greatly - and you cannot expect to be able to trace a mobile phone number without paying a fee. If you come across a site that seems to promise free phone number tracing, be very, very careful. Chances are that either there really is a fee for information or that the site is a front for a phishing operation or some other type of scam.