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How to track down a cellphone number for free
March 10, 2009 6:34 AM   Subscribe

Is there a free service online that will tell you to whom a cell phone number belongs?

Here's my story. Some jerk left me a rude, drunken voicemail message on my work phone in the middle of the night. Based on what they said, it is apparent that they know both my spouse and I. The systems people at my place of employment were able to find the number that this person called from, but, when I tried to look it up using Google, the owner's information wasn't available,other than it is a cellphone number. I know that there are services out there that will tell you this information for a price, but, frankly, I am not comfortable giving them my credit card information as I don't know how legitimate these companies are! We did try calling the number, but all we got was an automated voicemail service and it didn't indicate a person's name or anything. I do not want to keep trying to call this number unless I know who I'm calling. I want to confront this person, whoever they are, but I want to know who I'm confronting when I do! At this point I don't want to involve the police as it has been only one call and they didn't make any threats. Can anyone help me with this?
posted by Hanuman1960 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
 
No. There aren't any free services that will give you this information.
posted by kimdog at 6:46 AM on March 10, 2009


Trap them

"Alright Pete! I'll leave the stuff in an envelope in the boot of the car so you can pick it up anytime on Thursday afternoon."

Then sit and watch.
posted by BadMiker at 7:00 AM on March 10, 2009


Whitepages Reverse Lookup. If it's unlisted/cell phone, you can also social-engineer your way to an answer.
posted by Mach5 at 7:00 AM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Whitepages Reverse Lookup. If it's unlisted/cell phone, you can also social-engineer your way to an answer."

Can you elaborate on the "social-engineer" part of your answer? I don't understand what you mean. Thanks.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 7:20 AM on March 10, 2009


You have the number. You could block it through your cell phone company (for a monthly fee, most likely). Or you could call it and figure out who it is (the person might not even remember making the call, if they were that drunk).

Why do you care who it is? Do you want to confront them? You can do that without knowing who it is when you call back. Do you want to file a harassment complaint? Take the message to the cops and let THEM figure out who it is.

I don't entirely understand why you feel that knowing who it is is important, but unfortunately, no, there is no service, free or otherwise, that will provide this information.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:28 AM on March 10, 2009


I have at least one credit card that will issue me a "disposable" card number with whatever limit I want - see if your credit card offers that. Or go buy a prepaid Visa gift card. The you have a no-risk way to give them a card number.

You're just going to get yourself more worked up over this if you spend a bunch of time trying to find some workaround for this for free.

That said, I would love it if someone came in here with an easy and free answer.
posted by KAS at 8:36 AM on March 10, 2009


I know that there are services out there that will tell you this information for a price, but, frankly, I am not comfortable giving them my credit card information as I don't know how legitimate these companies are!

I think that you should get over this, if it's really the reason you don't want to pay these services. There are vendors who can do what you want, for at least some numbers, and the prices are pretty reasonable. (The ones I have used are like $10 per number or similar, and don't charge you if they can't deliver the information.) There are ways to protect yourself from nefarious use of your credit cards (#1: review your bills). Even if you don't use a disposable number, the use of a credit card with a merchant you're not familiar with is an exceedingly minor risk.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 8:57 AM on March 10, 2009


There are no free services; you will have to pay (barring a friend at the fbi or something).

Disposable card number, paypal card number, prepaid card; any of these would let you pay without risking your real credit card. That said I'd find a decent looking one and go ahead a pay either way - there should be plenty of recommendations around here and as long as you are a little careful who you give the card number to you reduce the risk to almost nothing.
posted by rmathew1 at 10:04 AM on March 10, 2009


On the flip side, you can easily and freely spoof your caller id so that when you call him, it doesn't appear to be coming from your phone.
posted by disillusioned at 11:02 AM on March 10, 2009


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