There are a lot of ways to find out more information about unknown phone numbers, but what is the best reverse phone lookup option when a number you don’t recognize pops up on your caller ID?
Unfortunately, far too many of the numbers that call our cell phones these days are from unknown callers, but finding out who is on the other end of the line doesn’t need to involve an awkward conversation with a pushy cold caller. A reverse phone lookup service can make it possible to identify an unknown caller.
So how do you know which ones are the best reverse phone lookup sites?
Well, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. We’ve found the four best reverse phone lookup sites, according to our strict criteria (more on that below).
Whether you want an informed recommendation on which reverse phone lookups to use, or you just want to read about each site and make your own decision, you’ve come to the right place.
What is Reverse Phone Lookup?
Reverse phone lookups do exactly what the name suggests. By simply entering an unknown number into the search bar of a reverse phone lookup website, you can find out a lot about the caller.
The amount of information available will depend on a number of factors. For example, there will often be a far more detailed report on a publicly traded business than on an individual. But if the information is out there, reverse phone lookup services can find it.
You’ll often have to pay for these services, though free reverse phone lookup services are available. In fact, two of our picks for the best reverse phone lookup site offer this service for free.
Reverse phone number lookup sites may sometimes be overkill. If a call is coming from an established business with an online presence, simply plugging the phone numbers into a search engine will often be enough to find out who they are. For everything else, however, a reverse phone number search is necessary.
4 Best Services For Looking Up Who Called You
- Best For Social Media Results: InstantCheckMate
- Best Free Reverse Phone Lookup Service: Intelius
- Best For Information Accuracy: PeopleFinders
- Most User-Friendly: Spokeo
Best Reverse Phone Lookup Sites: Top 4 Services Reviewed
1. InstantCheckMate — Best For Social Media Results
Most sites provide information from a variety of sources, and InstantCheckMate is the best reverse phone lookup site when it comes to finding a caller’s social media accounts.
Your reports could include information about social media profiles linked to the phone number you searched, like Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts, and more.
InstantCheckMate also includes a number of other tools in addition to reverse phone lookup services, like criminal records searches, inmate searches, and even people searches (in case you want to find out more about your neighbors).
But it’s important to note this isn’t a free reverse phone lookup site — these services are provided as part of a membership. That means InstantCheckMate can provide some incredibly detailed reports that are worth the money, but it is not possible to just pay for a single report.
This reverse phone lookup site is praised by members for its well-designed and easy-to-use interface. InstantCheckMate also has a mobile phone app that users love, which provides the functionality of the website on the go.
Since InstantCheckMate does not allow users to purchase individual reports, you will need to take out at least one month’s subscription in order to take advantage of the reverse phone lookup services offered.
So, it might not be the best option if you only need to use a reverse phone number lookup service once, or who may need the service occasionally. But for people who find themselves having to deal with regular unknown phone numbers, an InstantCheckMate subscription can be a cost-effective way to have access to quality phone number lookup services.
- Provides detailed reports on the search subject
- Has an app available for mobile devices
- Both the app and the site are very user-friendly
- Boasts a high level of accuracy in the information it delivers
- No option to pay for individual reports
Why We Like InstantCheckMate
InstantCheckMate has a lot to like, but one of the things that drew our attention when compared to other reverse phone lookup sites is the impressive detail the service delivers regarding social media accounts.
Reverse phone lookup services aim to use as much information as possible from as many sources as they can, of course, but when it comes to checking social media accounts, InstantCheckMate can link an unknown number to profiles from all sorts of platforms.
Another thing we like about InstantCheckMate is the customer service. Support is available from 8 am to 1 am Eastern Time (ET), and can be contacted through both phone calls and email.
Learn more about InstantCheckMate
2. Intelius — Best Free Reverse Phone Lookup Service
Intelius made our best reverse phone lookup list thanks to the in-depth results that it delivers. Like InstantCheckMate, Intelius draws information from social media in its search results, but it really stands out because it delivers a high level of detail in other areas, like email address lookups and public records.
One of Intelius’ big highlights is that it’s a free reverse phone lookup site. While some phone lookup sites require memberships, this one has a free option that will still give you a ton of accurate information.
Intelius also received an A from the Better Business Bureau, so it’s nice to know its phone lookup features are ones you can trust.
Since it offers a free reverse phone lookup service, this site’s perfect if you’re really only dealing with one or two unknown callers every once in a while. (Intelius also offers a paid reverse phone lookup service if you want to find out more than just basic information.)
The free reverse phone lookups provided by Intelius are certainly a highlight, but there is more to this company. If you’re looking for more detailed results, you can take advantage of the membership options it offers.
Memberships for reverse phone lookups, people searches, and address lookups cost monthly fees, but the results contain information drawn from more sources, including Intelius’ own database.
Some of Intelius’ paid reverse phone lookup services offer low-cost trials so you can see how you feel before committing to the more expensive monthly costs. And if you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel your subscription.
And in addition to monthly fees for the phone lookup service, you can also opt for additional features that require one-time payments, like the ability to download your reports or utilize Intelius’ identity protection services.
- There are multiple subscription plans to choose from
- Apps are available for both Android and iOS devices
- Boasts an extensive database in addition to public records
- Both the app and the website have a user-friendly interface
- Not the most responsive customer support
Why We Like Intelius
Intelius made our list of best reverse phone lookup services for a reason.
The free reverse phone lookup services are a major plus for us. It is very common for people who are looking for a phone lookup service to only need to use it occasionally, and only require basic information when they do.
And their social media search functionality is a particular highlight, as social media is a huge part of our lives.
Having the ability to use a phone lookup service without having to sign up for a monthly subscription is amazing, but it’s also nice to have the option to pay for more detailed results if you want them.
3. Peoplefinders — Best For Information Accuracy
Peoplefinders’ results are super accurate, which is why it earned its spot on our best reverse phone lookup list. The site achieves this level of accuracy by keeping its internal directory up-to-date.
It offers a number of reverse phone lookup tools, including online background checks. And you can get results with only a name, address, or phone number.
Peoplefinders provides its users with a couple different pricing options, as well as a free trial. None of its services are free, unfortunately, but the trial at least enables you to test out its reverse phone lookup services before you buy. The features offered with these plans include single background checks, people searches, and detailed background reports.
Like many reverse phone number lookup sites, Peoplefinders allows users to opt out of their service. That won’t guarantee that you won’t turn up in any phone lookup services, but with privacy concerns being higher than ever, it’s nice that it gives you the option.
Peoplefinders offers two different reverse phone lookup subscriptions: standard and premium.
The standard membership will allow users to get background reports based on an address, contact detail, or phone number.
The premium membership plan allows users to find contact information, property records, public records, asset bankruptcies, criminal records, misdemeanor records, and a lot of other data.
- Draws information from billions of public documents
- Very accurate information
- Has an easy-to-use website
- Multiple subscription options for different levels of service
- Cannot cancel service online, must contact customer service
Why We Like Peoplefinders
Peoplefinders is a reverse phone lookup site that provides options to prevent you from paying for services you don’t need, which is always a good thing in our eyes. They also offer a free trial, so you can make sure the service delivers what you need before you pay for it.
Pricing aside, Peoplefinders also provides excellent accuracy when compared to many other reverse phone lookup sites. That accuracy is due to Peoplefinders’ extensive and up-to-date databases.
Peoplefinders gets our seal of approval for all of the services they offer beyond reverse phone lookup. Whether it’s background checks, criminal record checks, or any number of other checks supported by Peoplefinders, having a large portfolio of services is better than not having enough.
Learn more about Peoplefinders
4. Spokeo — Most User-Friendly
Spokeo is incredibly easy to use, so we knew it belonged on our list of best reverse phone lookup sites. It gives you the option to look up people by their name, email, phone number, or address.
It even allows you to search for certain area codes so you can learn all about the place an unknown call came from. This service provides a ton of information about the area, like the cities and towns included, the time zone it’s in, and more.
Like Intelius, Spokeo offers some of its features free of charge. Granted, the free features are more limited in terms of the results they return than ones you’d pay for. If you just need to perform a reverse phone lookup search, you can do that with Spokeo without having to sign up for a monthly plan.
But if you want to take advantage of Spokeo’s paid reverse phone lookup service, it can provide detailed reports that include more than just a name and number. With a membership, you can find all sorts of things linked to your unknown caller, like public records, court records, contact details, and more.
When you sign up for a Spokeo subscription, you have the option to pay monthly or once every three months.
Many subscription plans offered by reverse phone lookup sites are a better deal for people who need to use reverse phone search features often. But Spokeo’s service is ideal if you are looking for more sporadic use.
This is in part because of the free reverse phone lookup searches that the site offers, but it’s also because Spokeo provides a smartphone app for Android and iOS devices. That makes it more accessible than many reverse phone lookup sites.
- Provides basic reverse phone search functionality for free
- Makes use of a large database of over 12 billion records
- User-friendly interface on both website and mobile apps
- The opt out feature allows users to remove their data from the service
- No subscription option that provides unlimited searches
Why We Like Spokeo
The main reason we like Spokeo is that it allows users to perform simple searches for free. Most people just use reverse phone lookup sites to find out who is behind the unknown cell phone numbers calling them, and don’t need the services offered by a full monthly subscription.
Spokeo is also fast, with the average waiting time for a report being less than a minute. It’s a small thing to highlight, but there’s something satisfying about having the results from your reverse phone lookup search come back quickly.
How We Picked The Best Reverse Phone Lookup Sites
When we put together our list of the best reverse phone lookup sites, we took great care to ensure that the services we chose were worthy of these top spots. We did a good deal of research into features offered by competitors, and feedback from customers. Here is a breakdown of the things we focused on during our selection process:
- Pricing: While it would be nice if every service we chose provided free reverse phone lookup services, there were other things to consider about the cost. We wanted to make sure our picks are priced fairly when compared to the rest of the market. Of course, free services certainly help.
- Customer Reviews: Customer reviews played a huge role in selecting the best reverse phone lookup service. Using review sites and social media posts, we built as complete a picture as possible of what you’ll get out of these services, according to customers who have actually used them.
- Services: While we focused primarily on the best reverse phone lookup services, the companies we loved offer more than that one feature. We took into account the full suite of tools these services provide beyond just reverse phone searches, like tracing family members, public records searches, and criminal record checks.
- Testing: In-house testing was a key part of selecting the best reverse phone lookup service. This step allowed us to see for ourselves whether a service delivers on what it promises. That way, we can confidently tell you what to expect.
How to Choose the Best Reverse Phone Lookup Service for You
Finding the best reverse phone lookup service to meet your needs really depends on the kind of information you’re looking for. The best option for you may be different from the best reverse phone lookup service for someone else.
Consider Types of Services
The most important question to ask yourself when comparing reverse phone lookup sites is: What services do I need? If you just want to know the name of an unknown caller, then a free service like those offered by Intelius and Spokeo may be all you need.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a reverse phone lookup tool that can provide more detailed reports, or that can provide less common features — like international phone number search, for example — you will almost certainly need a paid service.
You may also want to consider a subscription service if you’re hoping to find out things like personal details, criminal records, or other information that might be available in public records.
In some cases, it may even be possible to get the information you need from a standard search engine. Granted, the search results provided by sites like Google will only return information that is on publicly accessible websites.
But if you are being called from a business, there is a good chance these search results will have what you need. And you get free unlimited searches with a search engine.
When Should I Use a Reverse Phone Lookup Service?
Using a reverse phone lookup service is entirely at your discretion. If you are getting called by an unknown caller and you want to know who it was, the only thing stopping you from using a reverse lookup site is whether or not you are prepared to pay any associated fees.
We would recommend at the very least using a regular search engine to perform a basic reverse phone number search. This should at least tell you if the call came from a business with an online presence.
Looking Up a Cell Phone Number
If you are receiving calls from cell phone numbers, or you want to know more personal details about the caller, you will need to use reverse phone number lookup services that deliver that information, and that will typically cost money.
Performing a Background Check
With a paid phone lookup service, you can find out so much information about a person, including things like criminal records. So if you wanted to, you could pretty much run a background check on someone by using a reverse phone lookup site.
But there may be ethical concerns over using reverse phone lookups to essentially perform background checks on people. After all, you would just need a subscription and a person’s cell phone number.
Removing Yourself from a Database
If this is something that worries you, consider using one of the reverse phone number lookup services that provide the ability to opt out of their service. This at least means you’ll have the opportunity to take themselves off of the reverse phone number lookup company’s database.
It should be noted that things like public records and criminal records will still be out there and accessible. Opting out of a reverse cell phone lookup service only takes information out of that company’s database.
What Kind of Information is Provided by Reverse Phone Lookup Sites?
The information provided by reverse phone number lookup sites will vary depending on what specific service you are using. All phone number lookup sites will tell you who a phone number belongs to, but different tools can provide more information.
A reverse phone lookup service can provide a thorough report on an unknown caller by searching through public records, criminal records, the company’s own database, social media accounts, and more.
Free vs. Paid Phone Lookup Sites
The exact collection of information depends on the service you’re using — in most cases a free service won’t give such a detailed breakdown. Results may only include a basic name and phone number if you’re using a free reverse phone lookup site or a search engine.
But a paid membership could provide a full background check, essentially, by including public records, a unique dark web scan, email lookups, and more.
Results Offered by Subscriptions
Always make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting when purchasing a reverse lookup service. If you just need to know the name of the owner of an unknown number, basic phone number lookups will do.
If you need a more detailed report including things like family members, email lookup, people search, and more, make sure those things are included before you pay.
Limitations of Reverse Phone Lookup Sites
It’s worth reiterating that the information contained within a phone report like this will always be limited by what information is available. In many cases, there is plenty of information to go on, but reverse phone number searches can’t provide information that doesn’t exist.
Is My Information Available on Reverse Phone Lookup Sites?
It is quite common for people who, after performing their first reverse phone lookup, find themselves running a reverse search on their own phone number.
It makes sense. Maybe you want to see if the service provides accurate information. Maybe you’re worried about what information will turn up if other people search your cell phone number. Or maybe you’re just curious.
Why Does My Information Show Up on Reverse Phone Lookup Sites?
The reality is that anyone who is an active member of society will have some kind of footprint that reverse phone lookup sites can find. Remember, just because a call shows up as an unknown number on somebody’s phone, it doesn’t mean the caller is anonymous.
If you don’t like the idea of large amounts of your personal information showing up in a phone number search, some services allow you to opt out of having your information stored by reverse phone lookup sites.
But opting out will not completely remove your information from reverse phone lookups. Any information in public records or on social media will still be there. However, opting out can reduce the amount of information a phone number lookup site can provide about you.
The silver lining is that most reputable services will abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, meaning the information they store cannot be used for consumer reporting. Basically, that means your bank shouldn’t be able to deny you a loan based on something a reverse lookup site returned.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there a truly free reverse cell phone lookup?
Technically, the answer is yes.
Many phone number lookup sites offer free searches, but those results will be pretty different from ones provided by paid alternatives. Sites like Spokeo and Intelius will allow you to run a phone search on an unknown number, and that will usually return a name.
If you think the owner of the number might be a business, you could try searching it in your favorite search engine as another free option. Public business numbers will often turn up with a simple Google search.
Free phone lookup services are a good way to find the name of an unknown caller, but not much else. If you find yourself needing more information about a caller, you’ll need to use a premium phone number search.
2. What is the best free reverse call lookup?
In your search for the best reverse phone lookup options free of charge, you will have to accept that your results probably won’t be as detailed as a report you pay for. With this in mind, a lot of free phone number lookups are pretty on par with each other.
However, Spokeo and Intelius are two very good services for running a reverse search on an unknown phone number, and they offer a free version of their service.
Another good option is to try the free trials available through sites like Peoplefinders. These can be a bit restricted compared to the fully-paid service, but trials usually offer more results than free phone number lookup sites.
3. Do reverse phone lookups work?
Many phone number lookup sites work in that they return information about a number — whether it’s a landline or cell phone number — because they pull information from a range of sources.
Some services are less accurate than others, of course. So, to avoid running into problems with inaccurate information, be sure to use reputable phone number lookup sites
It can start to feel like the service is not working if there’s not a ton of information available about a number you look up. But that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the phone lookup service.
Searches on phone numbers that are not linked to a person or business will have much less to show when a search is run. But, many phone numbers can be linked to public records, which in turn can be used to find other things like social media accounts and family members.
4. How can I find the owner of a phone number for free?
The easiest way to find the owner of an unknown phone number for free is to plug it into your search engine of choice. If the number is attached to a business or other public organization, there’s a good chance it will turn up here.
If the number belongs to a cell phone or is not publicly available online, your next course of action is to try a reverse phone lookup site. These searches draw information from a much wider pool, and can find information about a cell phone number even when it’s not public.
5. Is it possible to locate a person with a cell phone number?
It is possible to locate a person from their cell number, but not guaranteed. The information provided by reverse mobile lookups is limited by the service you are using and the information available on that number.
Our picks for the best reverse phone lookup services are by no means the only good phone lookups out there, but they are our favorites, based on the research we’ve done.
Whether you use these services or opt for one that’s not mentioned here, it’s important to remember that no reverse lookup service is infallible. Inaccurate data can happen, and that should be a factor in what you do with the information you gain from these searches.