How to Find out Who Owns a Phone Number

Reverse Phone Lookup

Have you ever received a call from an unknown number and wondered who it was? Maybe you missed the call or wanted to know who it was before you called back. We all have those unknown calls that we just don’t want to answer, but sometimes we’re just curious about who was on the other line.

Most of us have used a site such as Yellowpages or whitepages to search company or residential phone numbers by name, but what about the various reverse phone lookup sites? Do they work? Are they accurate, and what are the costs?

How Can I Find Who Owns a Number?

The popular search term that often comes up in Google instant search when you start typing reverse phone, is known as “reverse phone lookup”. This enables users searching the internet to find a website that can get a phone trace performed.

Generally, results include the owner name, address, phone issuing location, phone carrier, and line type. Sometimes social networks, emails, and more are also added to results. Sites promise accurate, up-to-date information to instantly show after a search. This is what reverse phone lookup sites promise, but do they deliver?

The majority of the time, after a search is done, a reverse phone lookup site will excitedly tell you that they have found information for the phone number you have entered. The “read report” button, when clicked, displays a free trial offer, or full report purchase option. The most a phone number search site will give is the original a phone carrier or location (typically called the “rate center”) which has nothing really to do with where the phone actually is used. More often than not, you’re looking for a name and often, this information falls short. And, even more often, many sites try to sell you information that is available from phone books or free reverse phone lookup sites.

White pages search results display the area code, carrier, phone number, city, state, zip, and time zone of the phone number. You probably already know the area code and full number which you most likely entered in the search bar. The city and state is a given because you most likely have the area code. The helpful information here that can help narrow down your search is the carrier. Sites like anywho.com and Yellow Pages display a note below the search bar saying “cell phone numbers are not available.” This drastically narrows down the search ability.

In this day and age, even some businesses are run from cell phones. So what is the best way to find information on your missed phone call? Sometimes searches on sites like Google, Yahoo, or Bing turn up better results than most reverse phone lookup sites. A quick search for a random cell phone number entered into the search bar can sometimes find information including social media accounts and email addresses. These results all depend on how much information someone has placed online and if they’ve included their phone number. This search tactic can be a hit or miss, but when it works you’ve got the information you’re looking for.

Should I Pay to have a Number Researched?

Maybe you’re thinking about paying the fee, (which can sometimes be as low as $0.99) that some sites ask for, promising they have more information on the number you searched. These fees are often promoted as discounted, unmatched, or special one-time prices. If you’re willing to take the gamble then it may pay off, but if you want to save yourself some frustration, pass up the special offer. Chances are it will not be money well spent and you’ll end up having to cancel future charges from fine print trial offers.

In reality, most numbers these days are unlisted or non-published. These numbers don’t show up in any published phone directory or phone book. It wouldn’t be smart for a business to have an unlisted number so this only pertains to residential numbers. Anyone can request that their number be unlisted and since the rise in popularity of phone solicitors, many people don’t want their number published.

Because of this, standard reverse phone lookup databases can’t offer detailed information on phone numbers. They simply have no way of retrieving that data for themselves, let alone for others.  If you really want to find out who owns a phone number, our recommendation is to pass up the “special offer” sites, do a little digging on the search engines; try a couple of different free reverse phone lookup sites and if your searches don’t turn up anything, remember that the reality is, it’s most likely not available for free.

Keep in mind that some websites, especially SearchBug use a multitude of databases including LNP, CNAM, public records, private data feeds with phone records, plus a variety of “premium phone records” and combine them with algorithms to try and locate the most reliable information possible.  If information is not available via all these online databases, then SearchBug offers advanced assisted searches where private investigators can dig even deeper to get accurate results.

WIPO: Promoting and Protecting your Intellectual Property

Promoting and Protecting your Intellectual Property

The World Intellectual Property Organization, or better known as WIPO, is an agency of the United Nations. The agency was created in 1967 and its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its function is to promote and protect the use of intellectual property (IP), as well as stimulate creativity for countries in the areas of cultural, social and economic development. The agency has 186 member states and administers 25 international treaties.

Intellectual property, or best known as IP, is the inventions, written works, artistic works, names, logos, and designs used in commerce. There are two divisions of IP. The first is industrial property, which is summed up as patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source. The second is copyright, which covers written works, artistic works, musical works, or all things that performing artists develop.

WIPO works with IP offices throughout the world to provide the most up to date IP statistics. The agency releases reports on the statistics of worldwide IP activity and on the use of administered treaties, which protect IP rights internationally. These reports play significance in understanding business and technology trends around the world.

As well as providing these reports, the agency provides many search options that will provide data and statistics. Some of these are as follows and can be searched at http://www.wipo.int/ipstats/en:

  • Statistics Data Center:  The information provided by this search is meant for IP professionals, policymakers, and researchers all over the world. The searches will return statistical data in the areas of patent, trademark, industrial design, and utility model. Users can search by indicator type, report type, or year range.
  • Statistical Country Profiles:  The search is selected by country; a list is provided to choose from. The information returned will provide data on patents, utility models, trademarks, and industrial designs. Detailed information on filings is also provided, including incoming and outgoing filings, the number of filings in certain technological fields, and the use of International IP systems. Information returned is very easy to understand as it is provided in pie charts and graphs, as well as text.
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) System:  The information found here will provide statistics on international patent applications only. The statistics are broken down monthly, quarterly, or yearly. The statistics can be found as far back as 1985.

WIPO promotes the use of the International IP system through services, which run systems making it easy to obtain international protection on trademarks, patents, and designs; through law by developing the legal framework which keeps up with the ever-changing needs of an international society; with an infrastructure providing networks and platforms that share knowledge and free databases; and supports the development of the use of IP.

There is also a free public resource title WIPO GOLD that provides users with all searchable IP data under one umbrella. A user can search by technology, brands, domain name, statistics, designs, laws and treaties, classifications, and WIPO standards. This one-stop site can be found at: http://www.wipo.int/wipogold/en/.

How Does Google Work

It seems that everyone I know uses Google to search the internet for things they are looking for. While its said that Google gets 65% – 70% of the share of searches in the U.S., however, for many publishers, Google’s share of incoming search traffic is much higher. That’s certainly the case with major news sites like Reuters, Mashable, Dallas Morning News, and others.

There have been many updates to the Google search algorithm in order for them to accomplish their spoken mission which is to return relevant websites related to the search term entered into the query.   Google has updated their algorithm dozens if not hundreds of times to make what they think are the best results available.

They have introduced updates called Panda, Penguin, and now Hummingbird to name a few. Each with their own updates within the framework of their own design. The latest update on October 4, 2013 was aimed at sites that had links pointed to them from less than authoritative sites.  If you did a search on Google today and compared the results with those from this past summer you would see drastically different listings.  This was by design meant to return pages with more authority and relevancy.  While it’s still not perfect, I think they missed the boat for several reasons of which I’ll go through during another post.

In the mean time, I’ve shared an infographic below from a popular blog that I found very interesting.

How Google Works.

Infographic by the Pay Per Click Blog

Family History: Do You Know Where You Came From?

Family HistoryThanks to modern technology and the plethora of family research sites and databases, the average person is able to explore where they came from and delve into their family history. Many people are finding their way back to their first ancestors that stepped foot in the United States and others are even going beyond that, back to the country from which their ancestors came.

In the past, this research was done by book or long hours of searching public records at county and city buildings. Today, the same records are being accessed, but can be done without ever leaving your home. Database searches can be done on birth records, death records, a ship’s passenger list, census records that have been made public, marriage records, immigration records, and military records. All of the records provided are complements of the contributions by individuals, companies, and governments. There are, of course, many other criteria that can be searched as well.

With all of the sites available online, a person can get overwhelmed with choosing the right one. One tip is that there are many free sites available, so it is not necessary to pay for the information. If you are not finding what you are looking for on one site, try another. You might even ask friends or family what sites they’ve used.

You will be amazed at the information that can be found. I’ve personally heard stories about people finding out a great, great grandparent was a totally different race than what they were led to believe or what they family thought their nationality was, someone that found out that an older sibling wasn’t from the same father, and someone that found out the person they thought was their father actually wasn’t. Many people that were adopted have also been able to track down their biological parents or siblings through searches.

This information and these sites are not just useful to a person searching where they came from, but it is also a great tool for historians and genealogists. Historians and genealogists use the information they find for studies and also to write books on historic figures.

Free Informational Sites:

  1. This link for Ancestry.com will provide census information from 1790-1940. There are also government sites that can provide census information for specific years.: http://www.ancestry.com/cs/us/census-records-overlay?state=&kw=Census+Records&s_kwcid=census+record&gclid=CNWWl–Ci7oCFQZyQgodyRQAAQ&o_xid=21837&o_lid=21837&o_sch=Search
  2. The World Connect Project will not only provided the user with information, but also allows them to share useful information that they have on the family tree through modifying, linking, and uploading information for future researchers: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/
  3. HeritageQuest is a free database; however, searching cannot be done with free reign. A person must get access to free online searching by getting a membership card from a local library. The site includes digital images of the federal census for the years 1790-1930, Revolutionary War pension files, a variety of family history books, and many articles from periodicals, as well as genealogical journals:  http://www.heritagequestonline.com/hqoweb/library/do/index
  4. The Bureau of Land Management, a branch of the U.S. Department of Interior, provides free database searches on Federal land records. As well as providing the information, a user might be able to capture an image of a land title record, depending on the state being searched. A search will also turn up the actual land patent record; the user can then request a certified copy to be sent to them. https://www.blm.gov/  (With the recent government shutdowns, this page is currently unavailable, but will return to a working status when operations continue.)
  5. WordGenWeb provides databases from around the world. A user searches by a country, province, region, or state and a page will return queries that link to free online searches for that particular area. http://www.worldgenweb.org/

Through genealogy searches, people have uncovered many interesting facts about their family history. Some good, some surprising, and some shocking, but nonetheless, the information is there to be had. Another interesting site that exhibits the work of what people have uncovered is: http://www.geneabios.com/. This site contains genealogy biographies from people that have done their research and are sharing their stories. The site allows the user to search by a surname, name, or location to find a biography. The authors of the biographies often leave their contact information along with their story in hopes that they will discover other family members.

There are shows airing on television that track the family roots of celebrities, there are talk shows that have reunited long lost family members, and compelling books that have been written revealing both heartfelt and shocking stories. There are so many ways to discover where you came from. The data that is available at our fingertips is limitless.