The Definitive Guide on How to Find Someone's Phone Number

Should you be looking for a cell phone or landline?

Yes, it's possible to find out someone's telephone number – here's how you do it.

Are you looking to find out someone's telephone number? It's a common problem these days; due to our modern busy lives, it's so easy to lose touch with people we were once close to. There are tons of people that we meet over the years that we should really make time to reconnect with – a work contact you met at a conference but whose number you misplaced, or a childhood buddy who lived in your neighborhood when you were a teen – these people deserve you taking the time to get in touch and talk over the phone.

Or perhaps you've lost the cell phone which had your contacts listed, and now you need to call a colleague or client. While looking for their email or social media presence is all well and good, sometimes it's just not appropriate to make contact with someone that way, especially if it's not a personal relationship. Waiting for them to see your message and respond can also take precious time. A good reason to rule out contacting them via these channels.

Hearing a voice on the phone is not only better for business, but it's a much more direct and genuine way to rekindle a friendship or contact that distant relative your family lost touch with. We all know it's good to talk, so here's how you can find someone's number…

Which number should I look for?

Your first consideration should be whether you should look for a cell phone or landline number.

According to a 2016 survey by Pew Research, 95% of American adults own a cell phone (77% of which are smartphones). An interesting point to consider is that 46.5% of respondents owned only a cell phone and no landline. Unsurprisingly, this is the highest rate of cell phone-only use so far, and the rates of cell-only use are steadily increasing. It's pretty evident that landlines are on their way out.

One man who spoke to CBS Minnesota stated: “The landline was redundant with my cell phone, I don't miss it at all.”

Taking into account age should also be a primary factor when deciding whether you should look for a landline or cell phone number. For people aged 22 to 39, the rates of cell-only use were much higher, with 71% of this age group having no landline.

Recent data has shown people are also less likely to answer their landline when it rings, for fear of it being a sales or telemarketing call. In fact, Pew Research has reported that only 9% of people answer their landline, compared to nearly 40% in the late 1990s.

If you want to get in touch with someone, using their cell phone is clearly the best way to do it.

Get the area code right

Do you have any clues which will help you find out their phone number?

Maybe you already have a few details to go on without realizing. If you know the location of the person whose number you're looking for, this can be a little clue. Perhaps you had one great date but then lost this person's details? There are ways you can find them again! Do you remember where they are from, or where they grew up?

Knowing that person's location may give you an insight into their area code. Until recently, area codes for cell phones were assigned to a specific geographical area, so you may already know those vital first three digits. Megan Garber, writing in The Atlantic reflects on the significance of area codes with regards to identity:

“I am an 831, wherever I may be in body, and will remain an 831 until they pry those three otherwise totally meaningless digits out of my cold, dead iPhone...”

So knowing where they live or where they are from may help you, as people tend to stick with the same area code even if they change their cell phone number. However, since cell phone use has grown rapidly over the past few years, new area codes have been brought in which may not correlate to location. While it's a good starting point, area codes and location are not guaranteed to match up.

Keep Your Numbers Up-To-Date

I do have a cell phone number for them… but it's pretty old

Furthermore, if you have a cell phone number for the person you want to contact, but it's more than a couple of years old, chances are it's no longer correct. Americans upgrade their cell phones on average every 29 months.

Keeping an old cell phone number when you upgrade handsets or change network provider, can be a complicated process, and take longer to get your service set up. Not to mention the fact that it may limit your service area coverage and available technology. This all means that people may be less likely to go through the trouble of porting their cell phone number. If you want to get in touch with someone, don't rely on an old number from years ago.

Now you should have a better idea of what kind of number you're looking for!

Start the Search!  What's the Best Tool?

A few tips to find that cell phone number

Google & other search engines

Googling the person you are looking for, along with keywords such as their location or profession, may bring up a cell phone number. This will only work if that person's job entails being contacted directly by the public and their work information is listed online. If you have the person's email address, you might get lucky and find a personal cell phone number from Google (or other search engines).

Social Media

Some people do list their cell phone number on their social media profiles, so this can be an effective way to find it if you are already friends online. However, if you are not already connected, you may not be able to see this information. According to Pew Research, 20% of teenagers share their cell phone number on their profile. That said, people in older age groups are usually more wary of adding personal information to their social media profiles, and thus it's less probable that you'll hit the jackpot using this search method.

Telephone Directories

Remember those? While physical copies of white pages appear on many people's doorsteps annually, more and more states are operating an opt-in policy to receive one. These books contain landline numbers only, which are not the best way to contact someone anymore. The directories are therefore “becoming less and less valuable” explains Brent Christensen, president and CEO of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance. Online versions of these books such as may be useful, but more often than not they charge a fee to access their database.

Online directories, like the National Cellular Directory

A people search website will allow you to find out someone's phone number quickly and discreetly. Choose a site with comprehensive data like the National Cellular Directory. As well as a people search by name, the site offers a reverse address lookup and a reverse phone number lookup. This is probably the simplest and easiest method for your search because you're accessing data that is already there, rather than having to actively search for it yourself.

So there you have it – if you're looking for someone's telephone number, use the information you have about them to find out a few things first:

  1. whether you should look for their landline or cell number (age dependent),
  2. whether you might already have a hint at what their number is due to their location, and
  3. whether their age and/or profession can clue you in on the most likely method of finding their number; whether it's social media, Google or an online directory like the National Cellular Directory.


Best Tool to Find Someone's Cell Phone Number

If you'd like to read the full infographic, follow this link: Full Infographic on How to Find Someone's Phone Number