This guide is split into two types of services – Reverse Lookup and People Search. Reverse Lookup allows you to locate a person's address based on a known telephone number, while People Search lets you find a person based on just their name.
There are a number of great services available - which are very affordable - but before we list these, here is some further information to help you understand each service.
A Reverse Lookup is simply the process of taking a phone number and using it to find the callers name and address. Sometimes you may want to go a little further and find out the person's background, criminal history, tenancy history or public record information.
There are many reasons why you might have a phone number and need to identify a person, or company - but most of the reasons fall under the following categories:
- Nuisance calls, including heavy breathers or stalkers
- Repeated or annoying sales, survey or charity callers
- Finding a lost friend, family member or loved one
- Premium pricing scams where if you call the number back, you will be charge a large fee - sometimes you may want to know the person or company's address to file a complaint or take action
To jump straight to the relevant Reverse Lookup section, choose your country below:
People Search is similar to Reverse Lookup, except that you only have a person's name rather than their phone number to start your search. Using this service you can either purchase a report containing simple address information or go further and acquire information such as background checks, criminal history checks, tenancy checks and public record checks.
There are a number of reasons why you might need to use a People Search, including:
- Wanting to get in touch with a long-lost friend, relative or work colleague
- Businesses requiring additional information about a potential employee
- Landlords needing to check the tenancy history of a potential tenant
- Someone simply curious where an old friend is now living
To go directly to the relevant People Search section, choose your country below:
Do Not Call List are useful if you are being called regularly by annoying sales people. Before you take futher action, you can try and add your phone number to an official Do Not Call List. Many governments provide such a service, which comprises of a list that you add your phone number to. Then, by law, companies or charities that make outbound sales calls must check this database and remove your number from their call list.
This will not stop calls from call-centers outside your home country however. To find out more, visit the relevant section below:
In the US there are a number of companies providing Reverse Lookup. They all use the same set of databases and not surprisingly, their prices don't vary much. If you do see services that charge more than the ones below, you are probably paying too much.
The main differences between the services are the quality of support and the extras that the company might provide for free.
A Reverse Lookup report will usually contain the postal address of the phone number and the type of phone (cellular or landline), but will usually include extra information such as the name of the phone company that provides the phone line. Reports might also be checked against a utility company to confirm the number.
As with our other guides, we have spent hours doing the research for you and chosen the top three players in the market in terms of reputation, price and support.
The first company, Cell Phone Registry, is part of a larger group of online services that provide background checks, public record information, person reports and birth/marriage reports. They have been around for a while, so their website does look a bit dated, but they provide a good service.
They offer a 'no record, no charge' guarantee and their website contains a comprehensive FAQ section explaining any questions you're likely to have.
One lookup costs $14.95
One year, unlimited phone lookups costs $39.95
They also provide an additional service for $4.95 which provides people searches, business searches, neighbourhood checks, relative search and reverse IP.
Reverse Phone Check provide a similar service, but with a slicker website. After searching for your phone number, the approximate location of the number is displayed on a Google map. Again they provide an FAQ section; albeit a brief one.
One lookup costs $14.95
One lookup + one year of people searches (including relative searches) costs $19.95
One year, unlimited phone lookups costs $39.95
US Search have been around since 1994 and have been featured on CBS News, The Wall Street Journal and 60 Minutes while helping people find missing persons. They use a 'Smart Search' technology which partners with multiple data providers to get the most up-to-date information from their databases. Support is available Monday to Friday, during normal office hours.
To find simple information like address, phone, age and relative information, their price is £1.95. They do offer a 50% offer, however if you read the small print this price comes with an ongoing membership of $19.99 which you probably won't need.
For a full background report their price is $39.95 although they are currently offering 15% of which equates to $33.95
Reverse lookup: Their website claims to provide reverse lookup for $0.95, however when looking at the small print, this does require an ongoing membership of $19.95 per month
The alternative is one simple lookup costing $4.95. There is a fee to email the information and confirm with the utility company, so the price can increase quickly. Having said that, they represent quite good value compared to the services above.
People Finders use an exclusive DataTsunami technology to provide people search, background checks, criminal record checks, public records checks, social profiles and business ownership checks. They offer a very professional service and support is available 7 days a week during business hours.
To find simple information on one person, such as like address, phone, age and relatives, their price is $1.95. They do offer 50% of this price, but as with US Search above, this will tie you into a monthly bill of $14.95 which you may not need.
For a full background report their price is $49.95, but currently offer 20% off, which represents good value at $39.95
Reverse lookup: People Finders also offer a reverse lookup service, but they require you to sign up for at least a monthly service at $6.99 per month. A 3-month membership costs $5.99 and the price decreases to $3.99 for a year worth of lookups.
For these prices however, they will verify the phone numbers against public utility companies and they also offer free Email lookups and Social Profile lookups.
Our recommended service , however is Intelius. Ranked as one of the top 100 ecommerce sites on the internet, Intelius are a powerhouse providing not only people search, but HR background checks, criminal checks, public record checks and tenant screening.
They have won awards for good corporate citizenship and contribute to many local and national charities. They serve 8 million customers, their website receives 1 million visits daily and their system contains 22 billion records making them the best in the industry.
Their standard people search is $19.95 and they offer an enhanced Background check which costs $49.95
They also offer a Reverse Lookup service which costs $4.99. To check that the address is current, however, they charge an additional $4.95.
Under the UK's data protection act, reverse phone number lookups are against the law. There are however a couple of options, depending on your situation.
If you are receiving nuisance calls, then you should contact your phone provider and lodge a complaint. Should the problem persist, then contacting the police is an option.
There is also a free crowd-sourced option in the form of a website called Reverse Number . Their database is fed by its users, so it isn't complete, but if you are being plagued by a nuisance call then the caller's number could be on their database.
Users can also leave comments regarding the nuisance call to help other users investigate the problem.
In the UK, 192.com is by far the best method for People Search. To search you simply enter a person's First Name (or initials), Last Name and City (if known).
The site will then list the person's age and other occupants of their previous addresses, so you can determine if you have the right person.
192.com works on a credit system. The minimum purchase is 6 credits which costs £9.95 + VAT however you will also need to purchase their Extended Archive Access at $4.95 + VAT making the whole cost £17.88 incl VAT.
Once you have purchased some credits, the various reports are as follows:
Electrol Roll information: 1 credit
Company report: 5 credits
Director report: 5 credits
One image of any birth, marriage or death record from 1837 - 198: 1 credit
Birth, marriage or death records from 1984 to 1983: 1 credit
Do Not Call Lists
As expained above, governmemts will often provide a Do Not Call Services. These are lists which should prevent sales companies or charities from calling your number.
Here are the links to Do Not Call Lists for the US, Canada and the UK:
The Telephone Preference Service is the official opt-out services whereby you choose to not receive unsolicited sales calls (including charities, political and voluntary organisations). The service does still allow genuine market research and any companies you currently have a relationship with however. Visit their website to register your number.