The Truth About Acquiring Cell Phone User Records Legally

By: Chris Rempel

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to find out more details about someone, but all you have is their phone number? Worse, it seems to be unlisted, which means that it's either a cell phone number or a land-line that isn't registered in the phone book. How do you go about finding information about a phone number that isn't listed in any book and won't be on the internet white pages?

In reality, there are a few free methods that are occasionally successful, but the most reliable ways usually cost a little bit. And even then, there's no real guarantee that you'll find accurate results, as wireless users are transient and new numbers in North America are created every few seconds...

Cell phone records usually are not legally obtainable by anyone other than the client for whom they are intended. Certain companies and reporting agencies may at times be able to access cell phone user records depending upon the wireless provider's terms of service, their privacy policy and the nature of the request (for example, a law enforcement agency can access them with a warrant). However, a private citizen is generally not authorized to gather that sort of information.

No cell phone company is going to release phone records to you, nor answer your questions if you call them. To do so makes them and you liable for the invasion of the cell phone user's privacy in nearly every state.

Pretending to be the cell phone client likewise is not a good idea. Not only is it illegal for you to misrepresent yourself to gain information you have no right to, but it is also considered to be fraud in most areas as well.

So How Can I Find Information Legally?

Method One: Google

Yes. Not just Google, but try several of the more upscale search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Jeeves etc. If that fails, research the more popular discussion boards or blog arenas using their search feature and look for a member profile. Many sites will permit, even encourage you to search their member ranks and some people really do put up phone numbers there.

Hint: Use quotation marks around the latter two segments of the number to search for exact matches, such as 555 "123-4567"

Websites like MySpace, Live Journal and CraigsList will once in a while cough up you the information that you're looking for after it has been posted on the internet in a classified ad or a journal entry. Not often granted, but occasionally someone does want the entire world to have access to their phone number, and will display it with their profile.

Method Two: Purchase a premium reverse lookup service

Today, the cost to purchase a premium reverse lookup service is nominal in comparison to what you get and it will take a lot less time compared to the first method. This is probably your best bet if you don't have tons of time to kill and want the number while you're still young enough to dial it.

Paying for access to a premium reverse phone lookup database will usually range from $40 to $60, but the good ones have "no hit, no fee" guarantees, so go with one of those.

These companies operate in such a way that your searches are 100% discreet and are both completely legal and legitimate, so you needn't be concerned about the methods they use and the service will frankly take far less time than it would take you to extract the information any other way.

Conclusion:

It is possible to gain access to information about practically any phone number; although this will likely never originate from an actual user profile from a wireless communications company due to obvious privacy concerns and regulations.

Details about the phone number may often be gleaned by either your own online searches, or more likely, the use of a premium paid service so long as you choose one which guarantees their service. The cost is reasonable; the time you save and the potential problems you avoid make the use of this service worthwhile.

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