What You Can Learn From a Phone Number

This posts addresses some of the tools that have become available for obtaining information about a given phone number. The prevalence of app-based caller ID has made it possible to identify the owners of unlisted numbers and even identify how they are casually referred to by associates.

WA Tools provide a resource that lets you know if a phone number has downloaded WhatsApp, whether they are active on WhatsApp at that moment, and most importantly it can even (usually) download their profile photo.

Though this is only indirectly related to the phone number, there is also a tool that lets you search (based on name / username) for and view skype profiles.

HLR (home location registry) lookups can potentially reveal general location data about the phone user.

Finally, this post summarizes previously discussed sites and information for researching phones with data breaches, Python, and people-search tools.

App-based Caller ID

True Caller – (truecaller.com) & Sync.me (sync.me) are two widely used apps with over a billion numbers combined. The apps access the contacts lists of their users and will identify a given number based on how people identify it in their contacts list, (i.e. “john – computer guy”). This is especially useful for phone numbers that are not listed in more established sources.


WA Tools (https://watools.io/) can be used to search on any phone number and then find if it has WhatsApp, if the user is on WhatsApp at that moment, and download the user’s WhatsApp profile photo


The tool Skypli (https://www.skypli.com/) (recently discovered thanks to @OsintTechniques) lets you search for a Skype user by name and, if you find them, open their profile which can reveal name, location, profile photo, username and/or possibly other information.

HLR Lookups

HLR-Lookups.com will want you to sign up for a free account but it is worth it as it shows you the following information that, in theory, includes whether the number is actively roaming. However, Roaming means you are out of your network provider’s territory and is often a sign that the phone, and its owner, are traveling abroad.

Hlrlookup.com will identify a general region where the phone number was issued (see bottom portion of the table below), even if the area code is from a different location. This gives a better feel for the current actual home base of the phone number’s owner. In other words, they may have gotten the phone number and then moved to a different part of the country.

Intelx Phone Search Tool – (https://intelx.io/tools?tab=telephone)

Intelx.io has two great tool-aggregators for searching phone numbers. The first is for international phone numbers and the second is for US Phone numbers.

US-Focused Phone Search Tools

Previous posts addressed that there are several US-focused phone number lookup tools. For convenience here is a list:

truepeoplesearch.com, fastpeoplesearch.com, and freepeoplesearch.com – People search tools (all three seem to have access to the same data) –

thatsthem.com and searchpeoplefree.com – Similar to the people search tools but these two seem to have access to different data

calleridservice.com – Caller ID-based information

Data Breach Websites

There are several data breach websites that let you lookup phone numbers, but anecdotal evidence suggests it is not as likely to find results compared to email addresses.





Python Phone Lookup for Instagram, Snapchat

A previous post explained how to use a Python script named Ignorant to find if a phone number had been used to register accounts on Instagram or Snapchat.

If you believe you have then found the correct Instagram account, another post described how to use a Python code named Toutatis to see a partially obfuscated phone number used for the account. You can use that to confirm if you found the correct account.

Ghost Codes – There is a website called Ghost Codes, associated with an app with the same name. The website is a databases of Snapchat-users, limited to those who also have the Ghost Codes app, and for each user in the database there is info on their snapchat profile and other social media accounts.. The database only includes the users who have Ghost Codes and Snapchat.

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