Have you ever seen a TV show where the police, the FBI, the A-Team, or whoever is trying to track down the bad guy, and they’re making a mocking phone call to give them weirdly specific clues about their next move? crime? There’s always a hacker (usually wearing a flannel shirt, the universal indicator that “I left MIT because I was too smart”) furiously typing on a keyboard “to follow the call” while the nice guys look on anxiously. The hacker is always frantically flagging down the police officer to try and keep the bad guy talking, he just needs another minute. We sit on the edge of our seats, hoping the computer guy has enough time to trace the location of the call. of the bad boys Then suddenly “click” and the phone goes silent. The hacker pushes from his desk in frustration. There wasn’t enough time.
Most of us at one point or another have wished we had that technology available to us…or at least that awesome computer setup…or at least that flannel shirt. Unfortunately, while it’s possible to trace a phone call (it doesn’t involve any sort of angry writing, by the way), it’s not something private citizens have access to, at least not yet. (you canbuy the computer setup if you have the money…or at least the flannel shirt.) Unfortunately, there isn’t any software like that available to private citizens – yet. However, there are a few ways you can get someone’s location information based on their phone number. In this article, I am going to show you how you can narrow down the location of a mobile phone number using Google Maps.
Why would you want to find a mobile phone location
There are several reasons why you might want to find out where a call is coming from.
- Missed calls from unknown mobile numbers can stress you out.
- You might want to try to find out who keeps calling you.
- You don’t like receiving unsolicited calls and you want to inform the caller.
- You may want to know where they are calling you from before you answer.
Whatever the reason, here are some ways you can track the location of a phone number. While you won’t be able to identify the exact person, you will be able to get an idea of where they are calling from.
International numbering plans
A very useful website to check is International Number Ring Plans . This site provides a number of tools, such as IMEI lookups, but for our purposes the most relevant information is in the number lookup. This service will allow you to provide a phone number and will tell you in which city or center the phone is registered.
The site is easy to use. Just fill in the phone number, using international number standards. So for a US number, it would start with “+1”, and then the full phone number. For example, a Colorado based phone would have a number like “+1-719-XXX-XXXXXX”. If you are looking for a number in another country, you can use the Calling Dialing Codes site, which has calling codes for the different countries of the world. The information on the International Numbering Plan site may not always be accurate; after all, it is possible that people will move to another place. However, I tested it with ten numbers for which it had good location information, and it was accurate nine out of ten times. The one exception was a friend who had moved from another state – and reported that her phone number was from that area.
Find the person, find the phone
Of course, sometimes what you’re really looking for isn’t the phone, it’s the person who has the phone. There are a number of sites that can help you find people using public records. Most of these sites, of course, charge money for their service. However, even the free information provided by sites like Intelius, Pipl, and Zabasearch can help you start looking for someone. Once you know a person’s general area, it’s much easier to find them with sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, or by doing your own public records searches for that city or state.
If you and the people you want to find want to be found, Google Maps makes it easy for you to keep track of each other. You can share the location of your phone in real time and see the information of the people who have shared their location with you through the Google Maps service.
That is all! Now the people you shared with can see wherever your phone goes. This can be useful if you want to meet someone in a crowd, or if you are in a vague situation and want someone to keep an eye on you.
How about real-time tracking?
If you want to track the location of a mobile phone in real time like in the movies, nothing could be easier. There is a service called Visitor Locator Register (VLR). The VLR is a service managed by network service providers, unfortunately for you, it is the network service provider’s responsibility to protect the privacy of their customers. So there’s virtually no chance of getting it in, as access to the database is blocked if you’re not in law enforcement. All you have to do is become a policeman and get a warrant.
It always feels like someone is watching me…
How does the government track the locations of citizens using their cell phones? There are a few different ways, but the main one is called “cell tower isolation.” Every time a device connects to a cell tower, the connection is logged. When someone travels, they connect to a succession of cell phone towers. With each successive tower, the number of people who have taken that route dwindles – until eventually, the NSA knows exactly which person is taking the route, and can track them every time they jump off the towers. Can you beat this? Sure, take the battery out of your phone.
Ubiquitous cell phones have made a huge dent in our personal privacy. At least right now, though, ordinary people don’t have the ability to track each other, at least to a very specific degree. It is not known how long this situation will last.
For more information on this topic and related topics, check out our tutorials on how to find someone by their mobile phone number, how to spoof your location on Google Maps, how to spoof your GPS location, and how to perform a reverse phone lookup