How to Find Someone’s Phone Number Online

Finding someone’s phone number online is tricky. Cell phone numbers are private—there’s no public directory of cell phone numbers to replace those old paper phone books. However, there are a few ways you can find someone’s phone number (and business phone numbers are still easy to find).

How to Find a Person’s Phone Number

There’s no good perfect way to find someone’s phone number online. If you’re friends with someone on Facebook, you may be able to find their phone number there. Just sign into Facebook, head to the person’s profile page, and click About > Contact and Basic Info. Under Contact Information, you’ll see their phone number if they’ve chosen to share that information with their Facebook friends.

If you don’t see this information here, there’s no way to find it on Facebook without actually sending the person a message and asking them for it. While Facebook allows easy reverse phone lookups by default, it’s much harder to find someone’s phone number if you don’t already know it.

So you can’t find the person’s phone number on Facebook, where do you turn? Well, there’s still an online version of those heavy paper phone books! But, like the physical books, it only covers landlines. However, that’s nothing to sneeze at. For example, I could personally find my parents’ and in-laws’ phone numbers on these websites with a few quick searches.

Simply head to the White Pages website and plug in a person’s name (or just last name) as well as their city, state, or ZIP code. If that person’s name and phone number would appear in a paper phone book in that geographical area, you’ll see it on this website. It’s just like looking through paper phone books, with all the limitations—but it’s faster to search all those phone books, and all at once.

While the White Pages website and other similar websites try to sell you a paid premium service that will try to find cell phone numbers and other personal details, we haven’t used them and would recommend you avoid them. Stick to the free data—there’s no guarantee these services can find someone’s cell phone number if you pay them, anyway.

What if you can’t find a phone number on Facebook, or in the White Pages? Well, then it becomes a lot tougher. This kind of information is generally kept private and is closely guarded. People don’t often post their phone numbers online and there’s no massive database of cell phone numbers and names you can access. Sure, you could try heading to Google or Bing and searching for a person’s name along with “phone number”, but that will almost certainly not work. (Still, it’s worth a try, just in case.)

If you really need to call someone, you may be stuck asking for their phone number directly. If you know the person on Facebook, you could message them and ask them for their number. If you can’t find the person online, perhaps you can find someone who knows them and ask. For example, if you desperately needed to get in contact with someone, you might try finding a friend or relative on Facebook (or in the White Pages) and asking that person for their phone number.

Sure, that advice may seem obvious, but it’s really the only way you’re going to find many people’s phone numbers.

How to Find a Business’s Phone Number

Thankfully, it’s still very easy to find the phone numbers for businesses. Most businesseswant you to call them, so they advertise their numbers very publicly. Customer support may be a bit harder to reach, of course (but we’ll get to that in a moment).

Most businesses place their phone numbers in an easy place to find on their website. You can generally just head to the business’s website and click something like “Contact Us” or “Customer Service” to find it. Some smaller businesses—like that little local restaurant—may not even have websites, but will usually have Facebook pages. You’ll often find their phone number on their Facebook page, which many businesses just use as their main website.

For a business that has multiple locations, you may need to use the “Locator” feature on the website to find your local branch. It’ll usually show you a phone number where you can reach that specific location. If not, you can always just plug the name and address (or just the address) of the business into a service like Google Maps or Yelp and you’ll usually see a phone number.

If you’re trying to receive customer support from a human being—particularly when dealing with a huge, faceless megacorporation—you may want to skip all that advice and use GetHuman.com. It provides a database of the best phone numbers for call for various customer support issues for businesses, complete with an estimate of how long you’ll wait on the line. Better yet, it provides phone trees that show you the fastest way to get through the automated system and reach a person who can actually understand and solve your problem.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.