Way back when, getting a call from an unknown number probably meant it was a friend you hadn’t programmed into your phone yet. Now that consumer data has become an incredibly popular commodity, getting a call from an unknown number could mean spam calls, job interviews, marketing cold calls, and much, much more. Luckily, with all of the advancements of the digital age, finding out who has a hold of your information and is reaching out to you couldn’t be easier, especially if it’s a public business.
Use a search engine
Want to make things easier on yourself? Go to your search engine of choice. Both Google and Bing have ways for reputable businesses to register with their business manager platforms. This means that, if they have a phone number visible online, using a popular search engine and typing “whose number is this?” might be one of the quickest ways to find who, exactly, is calling you. If the business is registered with a search engine, you’ll see their pertinent info listed very prominently on the search engine results page. This includes information such as name, address, phone numbers with extensions, email addresses, and even reviews. For job hunters, this can be particularly helpful to get a glance at their prospective employer’s reputation.
This method isn’t perfect, however. Even the most popular search engines have their drawbacks. For instance, while it’s helpful to get a glance at a business’s information, sometimes the information presented isn’t exactly correct. In some cases, when a business changes up their key information, they have to go through an occasionally lengthy verification process from a search engine’s business manager. That means that, while using the search engines is sometimes the quickest method, it isn’t always the most failsafe. On top of this, search engines have a habit of serving results that aren’t relevant or link directly to untrustworthy sites that want your credit card information to verify the number you’re searching for. Naturally, that’s a big no-no.
Look to the White Pages
Speaking of back in the day, there used to be a time when the only way to lookup a number was through a massive, hulking paperback known as the Yellow Pages. While there are still some purists who rely exclusively on these books, their printing cycles can’t compete with the faster pace of the digital age. The legacy of the Yellow Pages is alive and well in the White Pages, an online business directory and database that hosts more hundreds of millions of registered business numbers. It also provides some key information that search engines don’t if the number isn’t registered to a business.
Whereas search engines can merely provide you general information or lead you to these database websites, the sites themselves can conduct handy reverse lookup searches. By using the White Pages “Reverse Phone” page, you’re able to see the owner’s name and address, business information, financial and criminal info, and even scam reports. Scam reports can often be a consumer’s best friend so use them wisely but take them with a grain of salt. If one report out of dozens says something negative, you can likely shrug it off, but if you’re spotting repeat patterns, that’s a bad sign.
Whatever your reasoning for looking up a company by their phone number, there are plenty of helpful tools out there to get the job done. Often, it’s as easy as turning to a search engine but if you have to go elsewhere, use proper judgment. Check out a site’s credentials and make sure they’re reputable before you ever offer up your financial details. Just keep in mind that, while there’s a variety of tools at your disposal, they’re not all good ones.