Whitepages collects information from public records, telecom companies, and public deeds to create one of the largest databases of contact information in America.
Whitepages started out as a free service. However, in 2016, it turned off advertising in favor of a subscription-based model, offering background checks for a monthly fee.
As you scroll through the different payment tiers and struggle to determine which one meets your needs the best, you might start asking yourself: is there a free version of Whitepages?
Cost-effective and affordable alternatives exist all across the Internet. Each site offers slightly different services.
Because your access is not restricted by price, free and low-cost search engines offer a major advantage over Whitepages: they allow you to cross-reference all the reports to make sure you get the most accurate, up-to-date information possible.
Named after the physical phone books that used to be mailed to people’s addresses, Whitepages allows users to run informal background checks on others.
It boasts the largest database of contact information in America. As of 2012, that database contains over 200 million adults in the US (or 90 percent of the population) and 30 million businesses. About two billion searches are performed on Whitepages each month.
When using Whitepages, you can expect to find:
- Cell phone numbers
- Personal information (age, maiden name, etc.)
- Traffic records
- Property details
- Criminal records
While Whitepages aggregates this information through free public records, it charges users a fee for providing it in an easily digestible format and removing the tedium of searching through multiple databases themselves.
Although most of Whitepages’ services are locked behind a subscription, you can still run a basic search for free on their site. The free option provides:
- Possible relatives
- Past locations
If you’re not satisfied with this limited information, you can purchase a complete background report, subscribe to their service, or use an alternative service.
Whitepages Pro: The Business Version
Whitepages rolled out features for business users in 2010, allowing companies to:
- Verify sales leads
- Find fake form data in online forms
- Check for fraud
Whitepages Pro does not have free versions since it is primarily marketed towards businesses.
Information.com: A Whitepages Alternative
Information.com offers free search services using only someone’s name, email address, physical address, or phone number.
This information is free and publicly available; however, to get a full report about someone, there is a nominal fee.
With Information.com, you can use their search tools to view public records and government databases in easy-to-understand reports.
Confused about how this information got online? Public records include your birth certificate, professional or business license, marriage or divorce records, and criminal records.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives any person the right to request records from the executive branch of the US Government.
Reasons To Use Information.com
Free online search services like Information.com exist to simplify the process of allowing people to exercise their right to access public records.
All you need to get started is someone’s name, their phone number, or their postal address.
Control Your Data
Using Information.com to research yourself allows you to gain insight into what data is publicly available. From there, you can delete profiles, send removal requests, or otherwise manage your online presence.
Find Friends and Family
Once upon a time, everybody was on social media. These days, people are content to leave their profiles dark.
While Facebook, Instagram, and other websites allow you to remain nominally connected to old friends and family, there’s no guarantee that anyone is checking their messages.
Information.com and other search services give you the opportunity to reconnect with people from your past.
Discover Who Called You
If you’re hesitant to pick up or call back an unknown number, run a reverse phone lookup to find out who’s behind that missed call.
While answering the phone may seem harmless, a common phishing scam involves scammers impersonating government agencies in order to trick you into revealing sensitive personal information. Always verify a phone number before you answer.
The Limitations of Information.com
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the reports generated by Information.com cannot be used to:
- Steal identities
- Run employee background checks
- Review tenants
- Stalk or harass people
- Check financial eligibility
Credible, legitimate services adhere to the regulations set by the FCRA and outline their limitations clearly.
Why You Should Use Free/Alternative Versions of Whitepages
Whitepages’ built-in free option provides incredibly basic functionality. While businesses may find the more advanced features useful, chances are you don’t need all the different options.
Instead, by combining the results from other search engines, you can find people’s contact information effectively and affordably.