If you’ve ever found the need to find out information on a cell phone number’s owner — such as the owners identity and address — there are many online services that will supposedly give you that information for a fee. Phone Detective is one such service which advertises that for a fee it will give you the following information on any phone number (including unlisted phone numbers and cell phones): the owner’s name, the owner’s address, and information on all previous owner’s of the phone number. This would be useful information in cases such as prank calls or harassing phone calls from a mysterious number or when you need to verify owner information on a cell phone number you have.
In my case, a friend of mine had been involved in a car accident. My friend made the mistake of not calling the police to the scene of the accident and instead agreed with the other party to exchange information and take care of business the next day without police involvement (BIG mistake!). The only information my friend received was the driver’s name, a cell phone number, and the driver’s license number (which turned out to be fake). The phone number was valid and my friend did converse with the other party over the phone, but — as you might expect in a situation as this — the other party tried to weasel his way out of his obligations, since he was at fault in the accident.
To try to get more information on this other party, we decided to try one of the reverse phone number look up services on the web and Phone Detective seemed like the best bet as it had many positive “reviews” (which we later determined were all just advertisement sites for Phone Detective.) On the Phone Detective website we typed in the cell phone number and Phone Detective searched it’s database and informed us that they had information on the cell phone number including the current owner’s full name and address. Phone Detective informed us that we could have this information for a fee of $14.95. We decided to try it out, at least as an experiment to see if these “reverse phone number look-up” services actually delivered what they promise.
After paying the $14.95 fee to Phone Detective (via Paypal, since we didn’t trust this site with a credit card) we were given the results… which were disappointing, to say the least. Here are the results Phone Detective gave us on the cell phone number we had submitted:
Owner name: K Jodi
Address: Seattle, WA 98103
Phone type: mobile
Phone issuing location: T-Mobile USA, Inc., Seattle, WA 98119
First off, the name did NOT match the name of the person’s cell phone message, so it must have been an old, previous owner’s name, and what kind of name is K Jodi anyway? Definitely not a full name and not useful information.
Second of all, what kind of “address” is Seattle, WA? That is NOT an address… it’s a gosh danged city, state, and zip code. We already knew the phone was in Seattle by the area code.
Third, we already knew it was a cell phone and being a T-mobile phone did not help us any either.
Verdict: Phone Detective gave us useless information for the price of $14.95. WASTE OF MONEY.
If you really need to find information on a mysterious phone number, don’t waste your time with online reverse phone look ups such as Phone Detective. Your best bet is to google the phone number and it will pop up if the owner listed the phone number on their website or myspace/facebook page (some people actually do this, foolish as it is). However, if you do google a phone number, most of the search results are from useless websites such as Phone Detective claiming that they have the information.