Phone Records: Origin, Privacy and Search Tools
Phone records are one of the vital tools used to find a person or business, contact them and make a personal or official connection with them. Communications by phone are part of our everyday lives, and with each phone call we make and receive we are constantly creating a path of past records and connections. Whether subpoenaed by government agencies or simply used in order to find you, phone records should always be protected from unauthorized access.
Creation of Phone Records
Phone records may include the address and name of the owner of a particular phone number, as well as past numbers dialed from that location. These phone numbers may be business, cellular or residential numbers, and can originate from any one of thousands of area codes in the country, or from overseas. Every phone number that has ever been associated with a particular name or business, regardless of the type of number or carrier which provided it, will create a permanent record that can be researched at a later date-even if it was unlisted.
Privacy of Phone Records and Numbers
Several telemarketing laws and regulations protect the privacy of phone numbers, preventing many unwanted calls at inopportune times. Privacy laws prevent the general population from accessing records of phone calls made, but law enforcement may access this information during a pertinent investigation if necessary.
Do Not Call lists and registries exist for every state, for both cellular and landlines, and prevent telemarketers from calling you legally. These can generally be accessed through the corresponding Attorney General's website or through the FTC. Recent changes to the Do Not Call laws in 2007 mean that a number's registration will never expire in the future, either. Many times, simply preventing giving out your phone number to retailers, websites or publishing it on social networks and online directories will largely reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive.
Searching for Phone Numbers
Several online and offline tools and directories exist in order to lookup phone numbers by name. A phone book is easily used to simply search for a person's number in your city, or you may look up a national number online. In addition to providing the phone number, you'll usually find the address or website information. Government directories may even provide email addresses for you to contact the specific office you're trying to reach.
Reverse lookups allow you to input a phone number that you don't recognize to discover who owns it. Caller ID has offered the opportunity to see who is calling you before you answer, and a reverse phone search may be necessary if you don't recognize it or are constantly being harassed in some way.
Realizing that phone numbers can be considered public information means that you'll want to protect yours from falling into the hands of unwanted parties. Looking up an old friend's number is much easier with the tools and services available today, and discovering who you missed a call from is also possible with online searches. Phone records have created these methods with which you may search for an individual or business anywhere in the world.