Smartphones are powerful gadgets that can carry a wealth of information about their users: name, GPS location, passwords, spending habits and even heart rate! But finding out who is calling you can be surprisingly tricky.
If you’re looking for more information on someone, here’s how to track a phone number safely and legally.
How To Track Who’s Calling You
We all constantly deal with pesky telemarketers and mysterious calls from “unknown numbers.” Thankfully, there’s an easy way to look up who’s calling without even having to pick up the phone—simply enter the phone number into a people search engine, like Spokeo. Using a people search engine is a quick and simple way to search for information fast.
Here’s how it works:
- Using a reverse phone number lookup tool like Spokeo, type in the phone number and hit “Search Now.”
- Select “view report” to uncover the available information associated with that phone number.
This report compiles information tied to that phone number that is available from public records. It may include:
- Full name
- Address/Location history
- Aliases (other names they have used on documents)
- Family info (father, mother, et al.)
- Mobile phone provider and/or carrier details
If the unknown caller turns out to be someone you know, you can call the person back with confidence at your earliest convenience. However, if you still don’t recognize the name, you might consider adding it to a list of blocked callers. In the case that it’s a telemarketer, the number will usually be flagged as such, and you can quickly read comments from other recipients to learn more about what the caller was seeking.
How to Track Phone Numbers with Apps
If you find that you’re getting an unusually high number of calls from unknown numbers, you might want to download a dedicated app like Spokeo’s (Android version available via Google Play) to quickly block them. The app will automatically identify incoming callers and detect known fraudsters and telemarketers. You’ll also be able to update profiles for the people in your contact list.
How To Track a Phone Number With Facebook
If a Facebook or Facebook Messenger user has a phone number associated with his or her accounts, searching these apps by phone number will give you that person’s name. Simply enter the 10-digit phone number with area code in the search function for these apps, hit Enter or Return, and await the results.
This can be very useful; however, it’s an imperfect search tool. For one, many people do not use their full legal names on their Facebook accounts, so searching by phone number can give you inconclusive or confusing results. Further, Facebook users can simply make changes to their Privacy Settings. In the How People Find and Contact You section, users can change the settings for Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?
Additionally, spam calls will most likely not include phone numbers associated with Facebook profiles; however, another benefit of performing a Facebook phone number search is that profiles may not be the only type of search results. Links to articles or public posts about suspected spam calls might also show up, which can be extremely helpful in determining whether a call was indeed suspicious.
How To Track Phone Number Locations
You might want to get a physical location for people you may know. Having a physical location can provide peace of mind, especially for families with children. International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and GPS call trackers can be used to obtain this information. These apps actually track the location of the phone, so they are useful for not only locating a family member or friend, but for also finding a lost cell phone. They essentially give you the GPS coordinates of a phone number which allows you to quietly determine the location of a person’s phone without having to actually call them and ask them. The apps also work when the phone is not connected to the Internet.
How To Track Your Children’s Phone
Gen Z is the first generation raised on smartphones. According to recent studies, 56% of children ages 8 to 12 have a cellphone, while a whopping 88% of teens don’t leave home without it
Many parents worry about what their kids are doing online. That’s why they install parental control apps on their children’s phones so they can better monitor their activity. These apps provide parents with the ability to track usage, browsing history, GPS location (using the technology outlined above) and other data. This helps many parents sleep better at night.
Ready to find out who’s calling you once and for all? Try our reverse phone lookup today!
Jake Wengroff writes about technology and financial services. A former technology reporter for CBS Radio, Jake covers such topics as security, mobility, e-commerce and IoT.