COOL TIP: Reverse Phone Look-Up and People Search

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:

  1.  Type the phone number or address into a search engine.   Try putting your search string in quotes.
  2. FastPeopleSearch is actually free, actually has updated information and we actually recommend it.
  3. Similarly, 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.
  4. You might also want to try Facebook’s directory search page.  Hint: you don’t even have to be a Facebook member to conduct this search.

Pretty much avoid most other “free” look-up sites.  Remember something called the “White Pages”?   It’s pretty much worthless now.   The same can be said for Spy Dialer. which used to be free and useful.  In fact, most every other website that pops up in the Google Search is likely to be an overpriced and inaccurate datamine.  We don’t recommend them.

Finally, 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.

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