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Why By Name Cell Phone Directories Don't Work

If you search the Internet you may find a lot of companies that claim they can get you somone's cell phone number if you simply type their name into their database. Sounds good, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it doesn't work in the real world.

Cell Phone Numbers Are Not Public Records

To understand why by-name cell phone look-ups don't work, you have to understand the law. In America, landline numbers are considered a public record. That means it's perfectly legal and fairly easy to generate a list of landline numbers. This is why phonebooks exist.

On the other hand, cell phone records are not considered part of the public record. They are considered private information. This is why cell phone numbers are not listed in your local white pages or available from directory assistance. This is also why by-name cell phone look up companies are generally a scam.

Why Are Cell Phones Not In The Public Record?

It doesn't seem very logical that landlines are considered public record and cell phones aren't. But, what you have to remember is that the law doesn't have to make sense. Laws governing landlines were written decades ago, when phones first started becoming available to the public and there was only one phone company - which was tightly regulated by the government.

Cell phones, on the other hand, came on the scene much later - and many people purchased them because they wanted to be able to make calls privately. And, there are many, many different cell phone companies. For these reasons, the government never passed a law making cell phones part of the public record.

The Exception To The Rule

There is, on the other hand, an exception to the rule that allows you to get cell phone records - reverse look ups, like those provided by CourtRecords. You see, once someone has given out their cell phone number - either by providing it to you or calling you on their cell phone - then there is no longer an expectation of privacy. They've made their cell phone number public.

Therefore, while you can't use someone's name to get their cell phone number, if you do have a cell phone number you can use it to find out who called you and other personal information about them.

How To Maintain Your Own Cell Phone Privacy

At this point, you may wonder if people can find out who you are from your cell phone. Well, in many cases they can - but you can make it much more difficult. The best way to protect yourself is to give your cell phone number out only to people you trust. And, only call people on your cell phone who already know who you are to begin with. Your friends won't need to do a reverse look-up on you. The only people who will ever try to do so are those who have never met you. Beyond that, don't post your cell phone number in public places including your blog, Twitter or in comments on web pages - because all these actions make your cell phone information available to the general public.


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