How to Do a Reverse Phone Lookup - Searchbug

How to Do a Reverse Phone Lookup: The Beginner’s Guide

Caller ID is an amazing tool. However, caller ID often doesn’t tell you who the number belongs to. If you see a phone number, and want to know who owns it, you can do a reverse phone lookup to find out who’s phone number it is.

But, a missed call or an unknown number on your caller ID isn’t the only situation where reverse phone lookup is super handy.

Here are a few examples:

  • You find a phone number without a name in an old contact list or your paper files, you can do a reverse phone lookup to find out who’s telephone number it is.
  • Your caller ID shows a missed call from Roger Smith with a phone number like 584-555-3194. You can do a reverse phone lookup to find out more about Roger Smith, and determine whether or not you should call him back.
  • You notice calls to phone numbers that you don’t recognize on your phone bill. A reverse phone lookup will help you find out if you made the calls and just forgot about them, or if there’s a mistake or fraud on your phone bill.
  • You’re referred to a specialist like a chiropractor, contractor, or orthopedic surgeon. You get a name and a phone number, but no address or directions. A reverse phone lookup can help you find out where to go.
  • You know the name and phone number of a client or potential client, and you’d like to send them a mailer. You can use reverse phone lookup to get the address without inconveniencing your client.

So, you can see why it’s useful to understand how to do a reverse phone lookup, and have a go-to tool for getting hard-to-find information.

This is a beginner’s guide. So, before we get into the nuts and bolts of reverse phone lookup, let’s cover the basics.

What is Reverse Phone Lookup?

Reverse phone number lookup is a type of people search that uses a phone number to find information about who owns the phone number. Often, reverse phone number lookups use other pieces of information to help make the people search results more accurate.

For example, you can do a reverse number lookup with a phone number and a name to find other information associated with that name and phone number—like a mailing address.

There are two ways to do a reverse phone number lookup:

  1. Do a free reverse phone number lookup on Google or another search engine.
  2. Use a paid reverse phone lookup tool.

A free reverse phone lookup can get you information. But, not all phone numbers have been indexed on Google. So, there’s no guarantee that your free reverse phone lookup will be successful. There’s also no guarantee that any information you find is current or correct.

On the other hand, a paid reverse phone lookup tool will more consistently get correct information. Also, paid people search tools are more convenient than trying to find information yourself.

Which reverse number lookup method you use depends on what you need the information for.

Let’s get into the details of doing a free reverse phone lookup first.

How to Do a Reverse Phone Lookup on Google

If you’ve got some numbers that repeatedly pop up on your caller ID, or you need to get some information about a few phone numbers, you can do a free reverse phone lookup to find out “who’s calling me?”

You can use Google to do a free reverse cell phone number lookup, or to find landline phone numbers.

Landlines are usually easier to find than cell phone numbers. Landline phone numbers are organized better and have a centralized database.

Cell phone numbers, on the other hand, are assigned by different companies and can be transferred from company to company. So, there’s no central source of cell phone data.

However, you can still get both landlines and cell phone numbers from Google.

How to Do a Reverse Phone Lookup on Google

  1. Type the phone number—with the area code—into the Google search box. Like this: 760-454-7301
  2. If this doesn’t turn up anything useful, search for the phone number along with any other information you know, like the name or the city associated with the area code. Like this: “Roger Smith” 760-454-7301 Carlsbad

Those are the bones of the process. A free reverse phone lookup on Google is essentially just doing a Google search for the phone number, using all the information you have.

However, there are a few tricks you can use to improve your Google search, and hopefully get results if the standard search didn’t find anything.

First, you can add other information about the person if you have it. For example, the college they graduated from or their occupation can help find out who really owns the phone number. You can add these to your searches like this:

“Roger Smith” 760-454-7301 “MiraCosta College”

Reverse Phone Lookup on Google with College


“Roger Smith” 760-454-7301 chief executive officer

Reverse address lookup on Google with occupation

Still nothing? One last thing you can try is using the “site” parameter in your search to narrow things down to a specific site where you think the information is most likely to be. Your search with the site parameter will look like this: “Roger Smith” 760-454-7301 “MiraCosta College”

Reverse phone lookup on Google from Facebook

This would narrow the search to Facebook. Social media is a great source of information. You can search all the social media networks, or other sites, using the “site” parameter.

When you search using only the phone number, you’ll likely get a lot of results. So many results that it may be unmanageable. Adding these additional parameters to your search can help narrow the results, so that you can sift through them in a reasonable amount of time.

If Google doesn’t do the trick, you can also try Bing, and use the search function in the social media apps themselves. Each platform searches and curates results a bit differently. So, you may get better results in places besides Google.

Use social media searches for skip tracing.

Using Free People Search Tools

Free people search tools are also available. However, most free people search sites don’t have access to any more information than you do. You’re welcome to try these people search sites. However, if you want more information than you can find on Google, you’ll usually have to pay.

The good news is that the price is usually very low.

How to Do a Reverse Phone Lookup

One great thing about the paid reverse telephone number phone lookup tools is that they’re much more convenient than doing a free people search. You do a single search, and you get the most relevant results. It’s much easier than doing several different searches on Google and combing through all the results.

Searchbug Reverse Phone Lookup tool

Another benefit of paid people search tools is that they have mechanisms to ensure that their data is current. So, you get the most recent information, usually for just a couple dollars or less.

And, most paid phone lookup tools find cell phone numbers just as easily as they find landlines. That alone makes a paid reverse phone lookup much easier than finding phone numbers on Google.

Bulk Reverse Phone Lookup

One other advantage that paid reverse phone lookup services have over a free reverse phone lookup is that they can offer their services in batches. This is sometimes called a batch skip trace.

It’s pretty much impossible to find information in bulk on Google. But, doing a bulk reverse phone lookup is almost just as easy as doing an individual paid reverse number lookup.

To do a bulk reverse phone lookup, you’ll need to put all your phone numbers into a .csv, .txt, or Excel file. Just put each phone number on it’s own line, and separate any other information into separate columns.

Reverse Phone Lookup Sample Upload

You can see how each piece of personal information is given its own column here. You can add that information, if you have it. Giving more information increases the chances of finding a match.

Note: only use numbers in your phone number entries. Letters make the phone numbers invalid. The letters in this picture are just to show the format.

Then, just upload the file to do a bulk reverse phone lookup on the entire list of numbers. As you may have guessed, you’ll need to pay for each phone number you find. But, since you’re searching in bulk, it usually costs less, per number, than an individual search.

Batch skip tracing for 4th of July Events.

Bulk reverse phone lookups are usually the best option for businesses, since they can rack up a lot of names and phone numbers. Adding mailing addresses and email addresses to these phone contacts makes them much more valuable for marketing and reduces shipping errors.

What to do now

If you need to find one or two people, try finding them on Google. If you need more reliable information, or your Google search comes up empty, try a quick paid search. They’re inexpensive, and will usually return results you can count on.

Searchbug offers both individual reverse phone lookup and bulk reverse phone lookup services. Each search costs less than a cup of coffee, and the information is always the most recent information available.