Reverse Phone Lookup Services - Clearing Up the Confusion

By: Jake & Kristina

Just 10 years ago, caller ID was the most reliable way to find out the owner of most phone numbers. Today, that's no longer the case. As droves of people adopt cell phones and VOIP services, Caller ID has lost its status as the best solution for finding caller information.

The growing void left by caller ID is quickly being filled by . These online services use just a phone number to locate the name, address, and other details of even cell phones and unlisted numbers.

Although various online services such as provide free reverse phone lookup services, what many people don't realize is that free services use the same data as Caller ID; they only work with land-line numbers, not with cell phones or unlisted numbers.

Unlike land-line numbers, cell phone numbers and unlisted numbers are not published in centralized, open databases. In fact, each cellular service carrier guards its own phone number list, and these are not syndicated to the databases that Caller ID or free reverse phone lookup services use.

For people needing to run a reverse phone lookup on cell phones or unlisted numbers, services such as as are available. These services aggregate databases of cell phones and unlisted numbers and make reverse phone searches available for a one-time or annual fee.

These services are often referred to as cell phone directories, cell phone white pages, reverse cell phone lookups, or simply cell phone tracing services.

There has been some controversy regarding privacy issues relating to cell phone numbers, with some legislators attempting to make cell phone numbers available in standard white pages. However, privacy groups have been able to block such legislation. The result is that the only reverse cell phone services available are those which buy these databases and then make them available to the public for a fee.

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