How to Locate a Telephone Number

By Angela Brown

Before the advent of the Internet and cell phones, finding someone's phone number was a relatively straightforward process, especially before the addition of dozens of new area codes across the country. Locating the telephone number of a business or individual, however, is fairly simple if you know where to look. To make things easy for yourself, keep frequently called phone numbers in a hard-copy address book so you'll have backup information should your cell phone be lost, stolen or damaged.

Step 1

Look up the number in your local telephone directory. If you're trying to find the number of a business, use the Yellow Pages, which organizes telephone numbers and addresses by type of business or industry. The White Pages lists residential phone numbers by the individual's last name, followed by the first name or initials. Many libraries house copies of telephone directories for cities across the country.

Step 2

Search for the number on the websites for the Yellow Pages or White Pages. Search by first and last name and city, or by business name or category and city .

Step 3

Call your local directory assistance number, typically 411 or 1411. The operator will ask you for the city and state of your listing as well as the name of the individual or business for which you need a number. Some phone companies charge for directory assistance calls, so inquire with your provider about fees before placing your call.

Step 4

Find a phone number for a business by visiting its website. Often, a business will list its phone number and address at the bottom of its homepage, but sometimes you'll find this information on a page titled "Contact" or "About."

Step 5

Visit people-finder websites to locate telephone numbers and addresses for individuals with whom you've lost contact. Usually you'll have to pay a one-time fee to obtain contact information for a particular individual.