You just got a phone call, email, text or letter from someone that you don’t know……what do you do? In order to discovery the identity of the contactor, you can take five easy (and free) steps to sleuth this identity mystery.
But beware: most of the “people finder” services online should be avoided. They will take up a lot of your time in the hopes that after having invested effort to get some personal data, you’ll be willing to pay a few bucks. And if you do fall for their ploy, you’ll be hounded by them via email. Anytime a “personal finder” website goes into some routine about how you need to stand by while they check innumerable databases, just leave that page. They’ll not be providing any free information to you. Instead, try the following services:
- Type the phone number or address into a search engine. Try putting your search string in quotes.
- Remember something called the “White Pages”? It provides some (although increasingly less) information about callers at its White Pages Reverse Phone directory . You need only type in the name, phone number of address of your mystery contactor. It may give you the name of the person associated with a landline phone. If you have a street address, try the White Pages Reverse Address Lookup where you’ll be able to discover the identities of people or businesses associated with an address.
- If these sources don’t pan out, then your mystery contactor may have called from a cell phone. To find the owner of a cell (or landline) phone, try Spy Dialer. It calls the number you enter, but it doesn’t let the owner know you called. It then records their voice mail message and plays it back for you.
- If you get a mystery email, try Facebook’s directory search page. Hint: you don’t even have to be a Facebook member to conduct this search.
- If call you have is an address, then try out MelissaData, which is a company that specializes in address verification software and services. They offer a number of paid services, but also include a free Address Verify Lookup page. It will tell you whether it’s residential or business, the associated telephone area code, time zone, congressional district, and school district.
And if all you have is a picture and nothing else, there are some search-engine and image recognition technologies that might be useful. Google Image Search and Tineye may help you find web pages with the image of a person you are seeking.