How to find a person by phone number: is it possible in reality?

Today, it is not difficult for intelligence officers to find out the identity of the owner of a certain number, but can an ordinary person do this?

You don't have to be a hacker genius to find out the identity of a person by their phone number: and here are 4 easy ways to get such information 

In the movies, we see how hackers find other people from seemingly very small amounts of data. But, despite the small amount of initial information, it can tell a lot about a person and help to find out his identity, if necessary. So, here are a couple of simple ways to search people free by mobile phone number, if it is actively used


Messenger apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram are now  used by  2.5 billion people around the world - about 30% of the world's population. So the chance to find a person by phone number through the messenger is quite large. To do this, you need to add it to the contacts on the phone, and then go to the appropriate tab in the messenger and you will see the photo and the real name of the person. Often, users do not shine with their photos, but if there is still an avatar, it can be used to search for other person accounts on social networks.

Social networks

Searching for an image downloaded from a messenger can lead you to a person's profile on a social network. But sometimes you can even do without the first step - you just need to "google" the mobile phone number, because sometimes users indicate it on their pages.

Mobile bank

Some mobile applications of banks have a function of transferring by phone number to a client of this bank or a function of transfers using a fast payment system. If you enter a mobile phone number, you will be able to see either the first name, middle name and the first letter of the last name, or only the first name and the first letter of the last name (if using SBP). What-no, but information. 

Official request to the telecom operator

Today there are many services in which you can find out which telecom operator serves a particular number. After you have found out this information, you can contact the salon and write a written application with a request to provide information about the owner of the number with a justification for the reason why you need this information. In this case, the reason must be very weighty: for example, this person threatened you or stole money.

We live in the information age, when everything around has become digital: communication, content, goods and services. From us there is always an invisible trace, which site you do not go to. In such an environment, it is very difficult to remain invisible or simply feel isolated from the informational noise. "Popular Mechanics" understands how to become anonymous so as not to waste time on procrastination and finally gain control over your "digital identity".

Anything can be a cause for concern, but deleting your data from the Web is a serious step. It can bring both relief and a sense of freedom, as well as a lot of inconvenience. As a result, the experimenter will lose personalized search results in all services, and in most cases will lose access to the lion's share of their functions. Therefore, before starting any action, it is worthwhile to carefully consider the decision and evaluate the scope of the work, as well as their consequences. If the motive for erasing your “digital identity” is the desire not to spend a lot of time online, there may not be an effect and you should contact a psychologist. 

The desire to destroy information about yourself on the Web arises for various reasons. Someone faces a violent invasion of privacy - stalking. No less unpleasant can be attempts by unscrupulous collectors, or even intruders to collect as much information as possible about the victim. For others, it is important to hide youthful nonsense from a potential employer or partner. Sometimes, you just want to start from scratch, at least in the virtual space. And others are afraid that their posts or photos may raise questions from law enforcement agencies. It is important to remember that every citizen of the Russian Federation has the right to privacy and freedom of expression. 

Chances of success

Before you begin, it’s worth keeping in mind the two immutable “rules of the Internet”: the Streisand effect and the axiom that data is stored forever on the network. The latter implies that everything that got into the World Wide Web remains in it forever. The consequence of the first concept says that the more actively attempts are made to remove something from the network, the greater the likelihood of an avalanche growth in the popularity of such information. The incident that gave it its name occurred in 2003, when Barbara Streisand, through the court, demanded that a research photographer remove a picture of her house from an open database. Prior to this lawsuit, the number of views of the image was less than ten, and a month after the lawsuit was filed, almost half a million.

However, there is always a point in clearing your digital footprints. At a minimum, you can remove the most visible information and data, that is, make it as difficult as possible for anyone who does not have special means and permissions to find any details about you. The key is to do it consistently, discreetly, and involve as few outsiders as possible. Sometimes it's easier to leave a post on a forgotten forum alone than to bother its administrator with the requirement to destroy the information without fail. In any case, the less you can learn about a person from open sources, the more difficult it is to determine which closed ones to check. Also learn how to find real estate

Step one is to become your own stalker

To understand what needs to be destroyed, it is necessary to assess the scope of work. It is better to start a table and collect in it all the names, nicknames and nicknames that you could ever use. Also, in the table next to it, you can specify all possible phone numbers and e-mail addresses that were specified at least on one service for authentication or as contact information. Separately, you should indicate whether you have access to them at the moment. 

There are many services for checking the mention of your identity on the network, and many for free or for money offer to partially automate the process of their removal. However, in reality, only Backgroundcheks turned out to be useful - a collection of direct links to the profile deletion function in a huge number of resources. All the rest either do not work, or analyze only the English-speaking segment of the network, or are simply useless. For example, Yandex.People did not even find my open VK page, and the vaunted analyzed Gmail, which has more than 40 different accounts, and issued only 18 entries. Unfortunately, manual labor cannot be avoided.

To complete the above table, it is necessary to "drive" through the search all possible combinations of first and last name, nicknames, emails, and phone numbers. If you are not sure in what form the nickname was written, you will have to go through all the options. If there is an overabundance of results, it makes sense to limit the time period in which you could be active and use these credentials. It will not be superfluous even to “feed” your profile photos to the search engine and check if you suddenly forgot about some page, or someone else uses them.

There is a toolbar below the Google search bar. It is different for each section (all results, photos, news) and helps to narrow down the scope of Internet excavations

Step two - remove the most obvious.

  • Most of the actions described below are irreversible and once deleted data will be impossible to recover. If the resource allows, be sure to upload all the data. For example, Google and VK give the user a convenient archive with all previously used files, a database of correspondence and a complete history of interactions. For other sites, there are many different convenience services for downloading photos, videos, and even saving chats. Be sure to check if the backup has a readable format - sometimes an application or a social network does not interfere with uploading, but you can only open the result by downloading it back. 

Social networks

Facebook, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Instagram, LiveJournal, Twitter - they are all relatively easy to delete. It is important to carefully read the conditions of the procedure, because some of them first require the user to put the page in freeze mode and only after a while allow it to be completely destroyed. It will not be superfluous to save direct links to randomly selected profile photos somewhere in your notes. This is necessary in order to check the “quality” of the removal after six months or a year and, if necessary, file a complaint with the administration of the social network. As a rule, large market players conscientiously delete or completely restrict access to personal data even of their former users, but it doesn’t hurt to play it safe.

Perhaps the most important. Online stores (if you search Gmail for “thank you for your order” or something similar, your hair will stand on end from the number of online purchases), digital content platforms (Steam, Origin, GOG, etc.), payment systems (PayPal), auctions (eBay) and ad sites (Avito, Yula, YouDo). Cashback services and discount aggregators also belong to this category and should be disposed of especially carefully. Be sure to specify which payment system all of the above resources use and try sending a request to its support to delete the history of your actions. Do not forget that all digital goods, "achievements", discount coupons and bonus points will be lost. If possible, give them to someone or use them - why should the good disappear? 

Forums, dating sites and everything else

Now, almost everyone has completely switched to social networks, and the remaining third-party resources either have a narrow specialization, or have adapted in an original way to the changed web. But an experienced user of the World Wide Web can have thousands of such half-forgotten traces. Only an email search, painful attempts to remember old nicknames and good luck will help here. Unlike forums and dating sites, sites like Pinterest,, and streaming services are still up-to-date and collect an incredible amount of data about their users. Moreover, by studying the interests of a person, you can understand where else to look for information about him. For many forum engines, there is specialized software that deletes all messages left from the specified account.

Databases, unknown sites

It happens that we find information about ourselves in completely unexpected places - it can be an incomprehensible unfamiliar site, a database, or a completely unfamiliar page on a social network that we definitely did not start. Unfortunately, there is no single recipe for how to do this. On the one hand, you can demand removal personally, through the administration of the resource, or file a lawsuit. However, this is just the ideal situation for the development of the Streisand Effect. Perhaps the "fake" was created by spiteful critics or just for fun, and then forgot about it. If such a page does not contain any relevant personal data, it often makes no sense to touch it. 

But otherwise, you can try the following steps. With the help  of wh is services  , if not the site owner himself, then his registrar is determined, and contact details are always indicated. If you contact support on them, there is a chance that the page with unwanted information will be removed from open access. In the same way, you can try to contact various  web archives , directly to the provider responsible for hosting the unwanted site, as well as to Google. All these organizations are interested in resolving most disputes out of court, especially when it comes to personal data that is protected by law (information from identity cards, place of residence, work, medical information and personal correspondence). However, you should always be prepared to reliably confirm your identity and go to court.

What to do if you can not delete or no access

It is possible that there is no way to access your old account. Then it remains to perceive it as information posted by someone unknown and act according to the recommendations from the previous paragraph - either forget it or write to the responsible persons. To say that this is your old account or not is up to the situation. Also an unpleasant and rather realistic option - there is access, but the rules of the service do not allow deleting the account completely. A reasonable way out is to fill the page with false information: register a separate, unrelated mailbox in any way and specify it as contact or authentication data in the problem account. Then, to the maximum, remove all information from it, and fill in those sections that cannot be cleared with the most trivial data (Vasily Ivanovich as a name, for example). 

Step Three - Email and Phone

The last step and the point of no return. By getting rid of your phone number and deleting your email, you lose the potential to regain access to previously used sites and services. You will also lose contact with any administrators of those resources where you asked to destroy data about yourself. It is better to delete mail not immediately, but in a month or two after the main front of work has been completed. After all, if, when checking whether information has been deleted from the social network, it turns out that this is not the case, there will be nowhere to write to the administration. Before deleting a mailbox, it is better to check the mailing lists - many such services automatically create an account and it is also better to get rid of it. The phone number should be discarded last, for the same reasons. 

Instead of a conclusion

It is impossible to delete everything about yourself, just as it is impossible to radically change your personality. But cleaning up and taking out the trash is sometimes easier than you think. And at the same time, such events bring relief, satisfaction and self-confidence. Popular Mechanics wishes everyone good luck on this path. The main thing is not to overdo it and not remove the excess.

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