Not knowing who is trying to get a hold of you can have a number of effects, but they can all be solved by the same solution- Find out who it is (all the readers who just mumbled ‘Easier said than done.’ to themselves, please stick with me.
There are a few ways and a number of steps to get to where we need to be. For the purposes of remaining unbiased and not factoring any costs incurred in the process, we shall discuss all. I will leave the more practical search for last.
First we must address what you know. In many cases this will just be the number itself. Sometimes, the person could have left only a first name or an address on the message machine or voice mail. The average internet user’s reaction to such would be a search engine inquiry. People do this all the time, but many times the search engine results pages (SERPs) that are returned are not helpful. Quite often the typing of a phone number into Google will give you pages of ‘pay us to find your number’ sites.
The same can be true for the entering of the address. You assume you will be given a map, a company name, and a contact number. However, sometimes the search engine used only has enough information to give you a list of sites where the exact “phrase” you typed in appears. These could be less than helpful and there is no guarantee that more than one will not need to be visited.
Time is something to be taken into account. Time is money right? What would be the fastest thing? At this point many would just give up and turn to 411 or directory assistance. Now we run into two issues. The first happens to be if the number calling is that of a cell phone. There are no cell phone number listings in 411. The second issue is that 411 might be quick and easy, but it’s not cheap. From home it costs an average of $.50 to $1.00 and from a mobile device it can be $2.00 a call excluding roaming or other fees. Yes, time is money, but money is money too.
The internet is not the enemy here. You just need to know how to work it to your favor. For starters, if you do want to try the number in a search engine, try putting just the area code in parentheses or just the exchange and last four digits. It alters your results some. You can also try typing the address in after “maps:” (ie. maps: maps: 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043). This will search out the address through only Google's Maps queue.
You might just want to look into Phonebooks.com. There users submit listings for approval, keeping the directory current. There is a mobile directory to search cell phone numbers and address searches as well. By performing a reverse phone search on the site you will be given the name and location of the number’s registry.