Using Google to complete a reverse phone lookup

A lot of you have probably heard the term reverse phone lookup at one point or another in your life. Simply put a reverse phone lookup is a way to investigate who just called you from an unknown number. Although you probably didn’t know this, there is a way to find out where the number originated from.


How does one perform a reverse phone lookup?

The simplest and by far the easiest way to perform a reverse phone lookup is to type in the phone number into a search engine or even a directory and to see what pops up. You’d be surprised to see the amount of information you can get with such a simple search.

Now, of course, there are multiple ways to carry out a reverse phone lookup on the Web. This article discusses Google as it’s the most popular search engine and probably the easiest to understand. Google is also the most widespread search engine so it’s got a lot more information compared to other engines such as Yahoo. This makes it an unreplaceable source of information for investigators.

How to use Google for a reverse phone lookup

Did you know that Google actually had a phonebook search operator specifically designed to carry out reverse phone lookups? The operator worked flawlessly, perhaps too flawlessly. A lot of people were able to use it to track themselves down and subsequently file complaints to Google and requests to be removed from the system. The number of requests was so overwhelming Google had to shut the entire system down. Although this made the process of tracking a number more challenging and less intuitive, Google can still be used to find the source of an unknown number, you just have to put in a little bit more effort. Here’s how.

  1. Type in the number

Start by simply typing in the phone number you want to reverse lookup. Because Google changed the way the system operates, you’ll see the same number listed in multiple phone directories. If the phone number belongs to a business the website of that business will pop up first along with the number. If it, however, belongs to a household, you probably won’t get an address. What’s interesting is that a social media account of the owner might emerge.

  1. Type in the name and the zip code

If you know a person’s name and their zip code, you can type that information in the search bar and see whether anything shows up. If successful, you might see their phone number, address, and even workplace. If the person associated with the number hasn’t made their address public on any social media, you won’t find out where they live.



Performing a reverse phone lookup isn’t as difficult as you think it is. Unfortunately, due to stricter privacy policies sites like Google had to shut down phone directories and we now have to resort to more skillful ways of tracking a phone number down.