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How to Find out Who Called Me

by on March 03, 2020
in Tips & How-Tos, Phones and Mobile, Tech 101 :: 16 comments

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These days when the phone rings and I don’t recognize the number, I usually just ignore the call. If someone really wants to reach me, they’ll leave a message. But when I’m expecting a call back from a doctor or am just curious about who called, I turn to a reverse-number lookup service.

The problem is that if you Google "free reverse number lookup" or some similar term, you'll get a lot of "people search" sites that claim to be free but actually charge a fee or provide a free trial to a recurring fee service  (which you have to remember to cancel, and they may not make it easy). Some sites I found are just plain deceptive, claiming free search and just forwarding you to the people search sites for affiliate commissions.

There is one free service I’ve found that does a far better job than the rest, SpyDialer.com. The site says they gather information from publicly available sources and has "billions" of phone numbers in its database. That sounds like an exaggeration, though I’ve tested it on mobile numbers, landlines, and Google Voice numbers, and most come back accurately. And, I’ve used it for months whenever I see a local number that I don’t recognize – I found missed calls from doctors, the pharmacy, my hair salon and more (often, the calling number didn't match the number I called for an appointment or prescription). SpyDialer will also tell you if it’s known spam. Occasionally, the service will show “No Record Found” (and it only works for US numbers) – it's not perfect, but it's pretty good.

IMPORTANT NOTE: One big downside to SpyDialer is that the interface is ugly and cluttered with ads for people search services that may cause you to click on an ad, rather than the site's own search box. Here is what it looks like when you search for a number using the correct boxes so you don't get misled by one of the ads.

1. Enter the number in the box and make sure “Phone” is highlighted in green.

SpyDialer step 1

2. SpyDialer will tell you what type of number it is – mobile or landline—and give you the option for “Name Lookup,” “Photo Lookup,” or “Phone Spam.” Make sure “Name Lookup” is selected and click on “Search.”

SpyDialer step 2

3. Here is the SpyDialer results page. You’ll notice the caveat that the data may be out of date. That always shows up.

SpyDialer results page

In addition to phone numbers, SpyDialer also lets you lookup people by name or email address.

[Image credit: incoming call concept via BigStockPhoto, SpyDialer/Techlicious]



Discussion loading

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Does Not Work

From Skippy on March 04, 2020 :: 3:55 pm

I just tried spydialer for two cell phone numbers and they were both incorrect. These are numbers that these individuals have had for many years and the names came up wrong. Stop trying to get us to use bad websites.

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Not free

From Mel on March 04, 2020 :: 5:11 pm

I did a screen shot of my results its not free there is a.50 charge or 10 day free trial

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It is free

From Josh Kirschner on March 04, 2020 :: 6:34 pm

SpyDialer is free. If you’re getting something asking for a fee, then you clicked on one of the ads (easy to do) rather than the correct service. And from the screenshot you sent me, it looks like that’s exactly what happened. Follow the instructions exactly as we have them listed above and you’ll get the correct, free result from SpyDialer.

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Spydialer

From Mel on March 04, 2020 :: 7:14 pm

I sent the screen shot to your email Now it says only works in the usa Whats up with that When were you going to tell us that?

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Updated the story to note US-only

From Josh Kirschner on March 04, 2020 :: 8:43 pm

Hi Mel,

We hadn’t tested it for non-US numbers. We’ve updated the story to make it clear that it is US only.

Best,
Josh

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SpyDialer does work

From Josh Kirschner on March 04, 2020 :: 6:38 pm

SpyDialer isn’t perfect, but it has worked for the vast majority of numbers we’ve tested it with. It’s also the only free service we’ve found that will reliably give you an answer, as opposed to trying to upsell you into free trials or charge you fees.

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Kinda important isn’t it????

From Mel on March 04, 2020 :: 8:48 pm

Kinda important isn’t it????

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US Only

From Dark Horse on March 04, 2020 :: 10:47 pm

Sad it’s US only.

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Number Not Found

From Redwolf on March 05, 2020 :: 2:04 pm

In real checking of calls I didn’t answer, only 1 out of 10 numbers came back with a result. When I tested it with known numbers, I got results. The only benefit I see is that Spy Dialer is free, and actually checks the number you plug in rather than giving information on a range of numbers in the same exchange.

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No results are helpful, also

From Josh Kirschner on March 05, 2020 :: 2:31 pm

The database is constructed from public records, so real people and businesses are more likely to have results than spoofed numbers or numbers that have never bee used for a legitimate purpose. So if no result comes up, that’s an indication it was just a spam call.

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Useless

From Andyq on March 09, 2020 :: 4:50 pm

Totally useless. Stop putting up stupid articles like these that are virtually useless. I get lots of spam calls and doing a google I get more results than this link.

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Not very good

From George Mells on March 09, 2020 :: 5:21 pm

I entered 5 numbers from my Comcast VIOP phone and only got a hit on the one that actually had a name listed in the CID log.  I have had better results with other services.

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Free, except for the part where we charge you...

From Gus on March 24, 2020 :: 4:47 pm

Started by typing in my own number, they got the state right but that’s the only correct info they could come up with.  People finders?  I don’t think these guys could find there own mother’s with three people in the room.

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You're using the wrong site

From Josh Kirschner on March 24, 2020 :: 8:00 pm

If you’re on People Finders, then you clicked on one of the ads (easy to do) instead of following the instructions we provided above. SpyDialer does not charge you.

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Rude people

From Paty M on July 23, 2020 :: 5:02 pm

Hi, just read your article but haven’t check the service you recommend. Many numbers to check. This message is to make a point to all those rude (nicely said) comments. If the service did not work for you then just carry on and keep on searching for a “good” service. A good percentage of calls I get are spam. At home we are always scanning calls and will not answer a: we know who is calling or b: when the caller is leaving a message. Any spam call will not leave a message and so far 1 in 10,000 do leave a message and still is a spam. Call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report 1-888-382-1222 do not all.gov Don’t just expect others to do your homework, do it yourself, and Techlicious, let people know of the places, government or not, that are really helping with this nuisance. Thank you for your attention and stay safe, wear a face mask.

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Mean

From AAAAAA on May 21, 2020 :: 4:32 pm

.

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