When you have a telephone number, you can often access both the name and address associated with it without any other information. This process is called a reverse phone lookup. In the past, this type of lookup worked best with the phone numbers linked to traditional residential and commercial landlines. However, as cell phones became common and the need for such services rose, the lookup services became more sophisticated and effective.
More recently, a common question by consumers in this industry is, do reverse phone lookups work on prepaid cellphones? Prepaid cell phones are increasingly popular because they provide a certain level of anonymity, and because they are cheaper, at least in the sense that they do not require such a long-term commitment. From the public’s perspective, the issue with the anonymity is that some use the concealment for dubious reasons.
Prepaid Technology & Reverse Phone Lookups
The answer to the question ‘do reverse phone lookups work on prepaid cellphones’ is, it depends. The most common, and least expensive, reverse phone lookup services are mostly automated services powered by databases. These systems can be quite cost-effective in the right situation, such as landlines and most permanent cell phones. Those databases, however, generally do not have the information associated with prepaid cellphones.
Look at this way; landlines and permanent cell phones have customer information records associated with them. That data is widely available, and the database developers use that information to seed the reverse lookup database. When you purchase a prepaid cellphone, however, you might buy it from a Wal-Mart or a convenience store, and there is little or no exchange of information. In other words, there’s no electronic paper trail.
The Paper Trail of Adding Airtime
This changes, however, when the person who owns the prepaid cell phone recharges it, if they use a tracked method. For instance, most people recharge their prepaid minutes using their credit card or debit card. As soon as they do that, the customer information from that transaction becomes associated with the telephone number of the prepaid cell phone. Of course, there are no guarantees that the recharge will unfold this way.
The person who is serious about their anonymity has some alternatives. For instance, they could purchase a VISA gift card and use that instead, at which point the trail becomes much more complex. It almost certainly would not show up in the most common databases, and even using a standard credit card, the association is not always likely to make it to most of these databases that are freely available because they rely on simplistic automated updates.
Costs for Reverse Phone Lookups
Nevertheless, if a person has purchased a prepaid cellphone or paid for additional minutes or other services using electronic means, then there is an electronic trail. It is simply a matter of following that trail. Investigator-powered reverse phone lookups are very good in this regard, and they are often surprisingly effective at discovering a starting point and following the trail. Of course, this is quite a bit more expensive than your common lookup.
If you want to perform a reverse lookup on a prepaid cell phone, give one of the free reverse lookups a shot, and if that doesn’t want, then decide how important achieving this information is. If it is worthwhile, then contact a professional reverse phone lookup service. Typically, unless you request special attention or special services, it simply costs a one-time fee. Also, the sooner you contact them, the better chance they have to find the trail.
About the Author: Steven Farrell is the administrator of ReversePhoneLookup.org, a site where you can perform a free reverse phone lookup for as little as $1.