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How to Find a Phone Number Online: Nine Different Ways

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When was the last time you tried to track down a phone number? If you're still using one of those huge phone books, you're wasting valuable time and energy! Use the Web's myriad resources to find a phone number or verify one you already have, quickly and efficiently.

1. Free Reverse Lookup with Google

Man in office on laptop while holding mobile phone
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Google makes it easy to look up a phone number, and you can even track down a name, address, email address, and recent personal updates, all in the same place. All you need to do is enter the entire phone number (yes, area code as well) into Google's search field, and see what comes back. In most cases, the number will be identified within the first five search results. Click on one of these results, and you'll see business information, addresses, relevant contacts, and more.

2. Toll Free Phone Numbers

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Toll-free phone numbers are free to call and can be your instant gateway into a company's inner workings. There are quite a few toll-free number directories on the Web that give extensive 1-800 number listings; however, you can also use your favorite search engine to track down nearly any toll-free phone number. There are a couple of different ways you can accomplish this:
  • 800 number for company: Simple yet effective. Type "800 number for company", substituting the name of the business you're looking for for the word "company", and sometimes you'll get lucky.
  • contact us: This is a very effective way to find contact information. Type "contact us" (yes, in quotes) plus the name of the company, i.e., "contact us" microsoft.

3. Cell Phone Numbers

Millions of people all over the world use cell phones on a daily basis to communicate with each other. However, most of these numbers are not found in phone directories, which makes them difficult to track down online; that is, unless you know a few Web tricks that can potentially uncover anyone's private mobile phone number.

4. Niche Search Engines

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Search engines abound on the Web, but there are niche search engines out there that focus only on finding people-related information. These can be very useful resources for when you are looking for a phone number. These search engines look at only information that could be tied to individuals, such as a phone number, an address, social networking updates, and business contact resources. Since every search engine returns different information than the next, it's definitely worth a try to type your person's name and/or phone number into these search engines to see what comes back.

5. Zabasearch

If you've ever placed personal information anywhere on the Web, whether that be a phone number, birth date, or physical address, Zabasearch is sure to have it. Controversial yet completely legal, Zabasearch collects information from all over the Web and places it in one convenient place for public access, including (some) phone numbers. Don't use their "search for a phone number" search tool since it gives you information they want you to pay for; instead, search by name and see what comes back.

6. Facebook

Using just a name, an email address, or a common connection (like a workplace, college, or organization), you can uncover a surprising amount of information at Facebook, the world's largest social networking website with hundreds of millions of users. There are many ways to find people on Facebook, and depending on how public people have made their personal information, you can actually be quite successful finding a phone number here as well.

7. Yahoo People Search

Yahoo's people search tool is about as bare bones as you can get, but it gets the job done. You can use this simple search tool to find names, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses. There's not a lot of advanced search capabilities here, but it does provide a way to find phone numbers quickly.

8. Bing

Bing makes finding business, government, and other organizations (non-profits, schools, etc.) very easy. Simply type in the name of what you're looking for and hit "search"; local listings will appear with addresses, phone numbers, websites, and directions. Not sure of the exact name? No problem - just type in what you know, for example, if you're looking for your local Department of Motor Vehicles, type "dmv", and Bing will return relevant local results.

9. Use a specialized directory

There are a wide variety of specialized phone directories on the Web, however, not all of these are reliable, trustworthy, or even safe to use. Three that I can recommend are:
  • Who Called Us?: Ever get a phone call from a number you don't recognize? This is the place to find out who it is, where it originated, even comments from other people who have dealt with the same number.
  • Get Human: Trying to find a company phone number, especially one that's deep within the organizational hierarchy, can be a chore to say the least. Get Human aims to make this process as painless as possible.

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