“What number is that on the caller Id? “ Our caller Id is connected to the television so you can see the name and the phone number of the land line phone calls on the television when you are watching. “I do not know?” she says with guilty suspicion. I am not sure if she is taking that tone of voice to be funny of if she really is guilty “Well, they are always calling.” I flip through the options section to try to pull up the number again “I just thought they were your bill collectors,” she mentions with a smirk. I give her a stern look “Really? I keep up with my bills” she folds her arms and continues to watch the screen I’m going to call them back,” I say with an as-a matter-of-fact tone. She tries to grab the remote but I stand up and hold it way above her head “No don’t do that!” She pleads “Why? Is this one of your old girl friends?” “No.” she says grabbing her iPhone, “but we can use the internet to do a reverse phone number look up.”
The above scenario is a couple using the reverse lookup phone to prove that the other one is having an affair. This is one domestic way that a civilian can use this service to their advantage. This method allows the user to get information about the caller without having to interact with a caller that can lie about their location and history. This allows the user to feel safe about their research and not escalate an argument that could excite a violence or property damage to the user.
Reverse telephone directories were once the exclusive tool of emergency medical services, police departments, and fire departments to locate victims who call and get disconnected. This allowed this emergency teams to find the victims without having to call back. Now, anyone with an internet connection can do one of these searches. There are numerous sites on the internet that allow you to find out information such as the city state, cellphone service provider and even address of the phone numbers that you enter for free. For a fee, these sites also can give you:
- The person’s home value
- Neighborhood Sex Offenders
- Ownership Info
- Household Residents
- Property Details
- Tax Information
- Satellite & Map Image
- Legal Description
- Avg. Area & Home Value
There are many people who find this service as an invasion of privacy. For a fee, a person can un-list their cellphone number their home number from these publicly searchable directories. There is also a service provided that allows the user to see notes and comments of known debt collectors, telemarketers, charitable companies, or other businesses. This service usually allows the user to automatically block some of these numbers. Again, this service is not free.
There have been numerous court cases about the legality of sharing phone numbers to the public, but none that strictly banned the sell and distribution.