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What is a Reverse Phone Book?

R. Kayne
R. Kayne

A reverse phone book can come in very handy. How?

Let's assume your wallet or pocketbook has simply gotten too bulky to carry around anymore. You decide to clean it out. Amid the credit cards, photos, grocery discount cards and receipts, you come upon a note with a phone number. Written in red. Underlined twice. You have a vague memory of writing the number down and you know it was important... but for the life of you can't remember whom it belongs to!

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Or maybe you drop some change in your car. As you reach between the bucket seat and the console to get it (those meters never sleep!) your fingers pull up a scrap of paper with a phone number scribbled in masculine numbers in thick black pencil. Next to the number is a "happy face" with a mustache and "x's" for kisses. It isn't your writing. It isn't your husband's writing. But your 16-year old daughter did borrow the car last week. Well now wait a minute...?!

Or how about that party on Saturday night when you met two suitors? You were happy when Suitor #1 slipped a phone number in your pocket, but you only accepted a number from Suitor #2 to be polite. You get home to find two slips of paper with no names on either! Which phone number belongs to the dream date?

Would you like to know who owns all of these numbers without calling them? Now you can!

A reverse phone book allows you to enter a known phone number and receive in return the accompanying name or business associated with it. It's called a "reverse" directory because rather than using the name to look up the number, you're using the number to look up the name!

There are several forms of reverse directories for various purposes. For instance you might enter a street address to get the name of the occupants; or you might enter an area code to get the matching zip code.

For a handy online reverse phone directory, try: ReversePhoneDirectory

Discussion Comments


@David09 - These kinds of services work OK with landlines, but cell phones are tricky. I understand there are some services online that will do a cell phone reverse phone book lookup, which will give you a lot of information, including the cell phone carrier and even where the person is calling from at the time—for a fee, of course.


@SkyWhisperer - I only use the free reverse phone book directories. I would never pay for anything. The problem with getting listed on these sites is that you can’t scratch your name out if you don’t want to be visible to the whole world.

In other words, you can’t go unlisted, like you can with a regular phone book. Everything on the Internet is more or less written in ink.


I have caller ID and I’ve used the online reverse phone number websites to try to identify who was calling me. Sometimes I get complete information, where it lists the name and address, and at other times it only lists partial information but says I could get more detailed information by forking over some money. I guess that would make it more like a full-fledged background check.

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