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How to Find the Owner of a Phone Number

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In this hyper-digitalised and connected age, it is unlikely that you will get in touch with someone whose identity you do not know. However, it can happen that you receive a call from an unknown number that is not registered in your phone book, and you wonder how to do a reverse phone lookup to find out who is calling and find out the holder of the number before calling back or answering.

Finding the holder of a landline number is quite simple. Landline numbers are usually registered in public directories which can be found with a quick online search. Finding the holder of an unknown mobile phone number is a different and more complicated matter. However, there are various services available online, some of which are free of charge, which can help you find a mobile phone number and search for the holder of an unknown number (where unknown means not registered in the phone book, and not screened and made anonymous). One can therefore try different ways, proceeding step by step, and try to get an answer: here are some.

Googling the number

The quickest and most straightforward thing to do is to enter the unknown phone number into Google and try to see if it returns any results. This simple step saves time and also allows you to ascertain whether the caller is a call centre (search results often lead to sites listing the most common prefixes used by different companies and corporations) so that you can adjust for future calls.

Record the number on your mobile phone

Another useful thing to do when you receive calls from unknown phones is to record the number and give it a name (e.g. "unknown") so that you can see if it is available on WhatsApp and take a look at the picture you have set up. Similarly, the next time you receive a call, your phone will show the name and once you find out who is calling, it will be easier to record (or block, if necessary) the caller.

How to Find the Owner of a Phone Number using these online tools:

Who's calling me?: There are also a number of sites that provide a free mobile number search service. In this case, Who's calling me works in a cooperative manner: the site contributes to the formation of a database of telephone numbers on the basis of reports from users who have received a call and have already identified the caller, and is useful for immediately understanding whether the number that called you is from a call centre or other telemarketing operators. Simply enter the phone number in the box and start the search to see if anyone has already registered that number.

Truecaller: TrueCaller works in a similar way to the previous two sites, except that the database is made up of phone numbers whose holders have given permission to be included. In order to use it, however, it is necessary to share one's own phone number, a sort of quid pro quo that may also lead to nothing if the unknown number one is looking for is not in the database. It is also available as App, so you can search right away from your phone.

Tellows: Tellows also uses a community that flags phone numbers on a daily basis and matches them to callers. The app lets you know if the call is from call centres, salespeople and other "nuisances" you'd rather avoid, and does not require registration.

White Pages: The White Pages are the 2.0 version of the classic telephone directory, and contain the phone numbers of all citizens who have given permission to be listed. Obviously, the White Pages only contain landline number holders, but by accessing the site and selecting "Telephone number" (you can also search by name or address) you can enter the number and try to find the holder, whose address is also provided.  

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