Reverse phone lookup sites -- like WhitePages.com, AnyWho.com and Addresses.com -- are plentiful and free for landline phone numbers. But reverse phone lookup doesn't come free for cell phone numbers. In fact, the whole concept of reverse phone number lookup changes when phones go mobile.
Cell phone numbers are issued by individual mobile phone companies rather than by an interlocking system of regional phone companies, as landline numbers are. That makes phone numbers and user information harder to access and turn into a searchable online database. At the same time, many cell phone users treasure their privacy and don't want just anyone to be able to reach them on their cell phones.
While some cell phone users just want to be left alone, others -- particularly those who've abandoned landline phones -- would like to find friends and contacts through reverse phone number lookup or an online directory. That's also true of other cell phone users who simply want to know who's calling when they see an unfamiliar number on their phone.
Fortunately, reverse cell phone number lookup is easy, although not free. To do a reverse lookup, just type "reverse cell phone lookup" into the search area of Google or another search engine. You'll see listings of Web sites that provide this service. Go to a site, and type in the phone number. To get the phone user's name and address, you'll be asked to pay a one-time fee, often about $15, or a yearly fee of $40 or more to cover unlimited reverse phone searches. If the fees seem too high, check another Web site. Reputable sites will not charge for searches that yield no information.
The largest provider for reverse cell phone number lookup is Intelius Inc. Intelius calls its service "Cell Phone Caller ID" and provides available information for each number that may include name and address, as well as unlisted, VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) and business numbers for the phone user.
Making cell phone numbers more accessible in the future may seem logical to some, but it's viewed as an invasion of privacy by others. In early 2008, Intelius announced it had created an online directory of 90 million mobile phone numbers, approximately half of those in the United States. However, faced with cell phone users' privacy complaints and a potential lawsuit by a wireless phone company, Intelius quickly discontinued the service. A company official noted that the market isn't ready for an online cell phone directory [source: MSNBC.com].
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