The internet is an interesting thing. We all share concerns about privacy online and yet, the opposite idea of absolute online obscurity is perhaps equally hard to stomach. Many of us share photos and videos of ourselves, our children, our pets and our travels on social media channels. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, Match.com, Flickr, you name it. And a digital footprint isn’t always a bad thing. Checking people out online isn’t really a bad thing. Internet sharing is a common denominator–something everyone does now–as opposed to being something only a choice few partake in.
Of course we’re all curious about how other people live their lives–that’s why social media took off in the first place. We’ve all gone down a rabbit hole researching friends, romantic crushes, celebrities, and let’s face it–our exes–to see what they’re like now, and what they’re up to. This of course refers only to the photos, profiles, general information they themselves share online. We’re not condoning following, spying or anything that would scare or put someone in danger (or be, you know, illegal!) – we’re talking about a quick search to check out public pictures, musical tastes, general interests.
So aside from Googling, which might show you all the results under the sun and make it hard to find a specific person, or going directly to various social media sites one by one (which still don’t always have the best search algorithms to find specific people), how can you find out more about people you meet or know?
You can try a reverse phone lookup.
What is a Reverse Phone Lookup?
A reverse phone lookup allows you to search online records associated with a landline or cell phone number. These records can include information like names, email addresses, physical address, public records and social media profiles associated with the phone number you search.
How Can You Use Reverse Lookups?
You can use it to find general information associated with a phone number. You can find out if that number that keeps calling you is a known telemarketer. (And finally block them without worrying about it!)
- You can find out that your ex actually moved closer to you. Or further.
- You can find out if public records now indicate he’s married, even if he hasn’t made any announcement. Conversely, you can find out that he’s now divorced in the eyes of the law–but of course you weren’t rooting for that, were you?
- You can admire the adorable baby the guy who was sweet, just not for you, just had.
- You can find out that your old girlfriend from college finally divorced that awful guy she was hung up on when you last saw her, and restore your faith in humanity.
- You can find out that his new girl looks like a similar (but obviously downgraded) version of you on Instagram.
- You can stop saying “new phone, who’s this?” except when you feel the need to be passive aggressively mean
1. Look Up Dating Icebreakers
If you’re a normal human being, you might occasionally worry what to talk about with someone on a date. Can’t hurt to get some minor hints into their lives ahead of time, right? Well, you can do a reverse lookup on that cell number you’ve been texting (or calling? That seems weird, but okay) to suss out a few conversational threads, or know how to play the date. Just search his phone number, and if you feel like it, search his email address–you’ll find it after the phone number search.
For example, say you look up Johnny and you find some photo sharing sites. Aw, he loves cats more than he let on. Or you check out his mom’s profile and find her Instagram–aww, he still helps her with the dishes after dinner every Sunday. Or maybe even a Pandora profile. Does he have a playlist for Nickelback? Nicki Minaj? Does she have a bunch of romantic songs on a playlist named after you? (We can all dream.) Knowing someone’s lifestyle and musical tastes can certainly give you great ice breakers, or make it that much easier to score brownie points on your date by rapping Nicki’s whole verse on “Monster”.
2. Look Up That Stuff We’re All Too Lazy to Write Down
It’s safe to say we’re all a bit forgetful and a bit lazy, right? Every year, I have to send birthday and Christmas cards to various relatives whose addresses I have never written down, ever. Ain’t nobody got time for that. And every time I call another relative to get those addresses, I get a serious guilt trip. It. Sucks.
Well, use Spokeo when you’re lazy and don’t want that guilt trip, friends. Find addresses, phone numbers, names of family members, family members’ significant others, the names of neighbors you met once then forgot, that girl who’s number you got but don’t remember her name and it would be rude to ask now, your dear aunt Sally’s address or phone number–no guilt required.
3. Lookup Cell Numbers or Landlines, Unlock Power of Email Address
Sometimes a phone number can simply help you find an email address, which really opens the door to a lot of information for your exploration. Think for a second of all the profiles you have online. When you sign up or login, you enter your email address and this information gets stored. So imagine if you could find these various accounts for friends and family.
- See what old friend from high school turned out to be an amazing photographer on Picasa, Instagram, Flickr or somewhere else.
- Find out that shy girl from middle school is now an Instagram model for water and vodka.
- Find out that your ex’s best friend that you never liked has had some brushes with the law (just like you always knew he would).
- Or that your best friend’s man, whom you’ve never trusted, still totally has an active account on Tinder. It’s a bummer, true, but sometimes it’s not a bad idea to gauge how often your intuition has been totally right in the past.
4. Reverse Phone Lookup for Lifestyle Info
Having trouble deciding what to buy someone for their birthday and they don’t have an Amazon wishlist? Check them out on Spokeo, and you can find some helpful hints in the Insights section, which contains information provided from marketing companies about the interests of people in the household. For example, if they recently bought a home or have been working on one, you’ll find they’re into home improvement, and you can snag a Lowe’s or Home Depot gift card for them (Note: you can’t use this information for making employment decisions, credit decisions, or for any other purpose under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.). And when you want to send it to them, you’ll have their address right there. Win, win.