How did these guys get my unlisted number? And why are they putting on the Internet? has a page with my name, address, and phone number, with an option to “See full report.” My phone number is unlisted.

I can imagine that an unlisted phone number is not exactly Top Secret, but I don’t know how it would be leaked out. I suppose that some unscrupulous company I’ve done business with sells the data.

But I also don’t know what benefit it brings to keecall to publish this information. Other similar background-info sites I’ve seen just show a name and maybe city, and charge you to provide more data.

This all came up because some of my mail was accidentally delivered to someone with the same house number as me but a completely different street name, about 3/4 mile away. He called to say he had my mail. After I hung up I wondered how he got my unlisted number. When I went over, he said he just Googled it. So I Googled my own name and address and the first one that came up with my correct phone number was keecall. A number of others showed my previously published phone number, which I dropped a few years ago.

It’s not about you. It’s about selling your details to others who use information about you to sell stuff to you. In time, more and more such sites mash data from various places and eventually create a detailed profile and contact details about you. In turn, that database gets sold again and again.

At least once a month, I get a phone call from someone who says “I’m sorry I have the wrong number” and then hangs up really fast without waiting for a reply. I suspect that many of these calls are actually from call centers that dial every single phone number, in numerical order, just to see who answers the phone. They make a note in their database of whether the number isn’t valid, or no one answers, or it’s a business, or a fax machine, or an ordinary person. Then they sell the list to someone else. Heck, I knew a non-profit that did something similar more than 30 years ago, without the benefit of a computer, let alone internet.

How they matched your name with the phone number is a harder question. I suppose they could be scanning everything from credit applications to craigslist postings, trying to correlate addresses and phone numbers. Putting your name to your address is relatively easy. For one thing, voter registrations are public information. And if you’ve ever donated money to a political party, that donation may be public information too because campaign finance rules may not allow anonymous donations.

They seem to be getting some information from the phone books. A friend and I both have our middle names listed in the phone book rather than our first names. My number says “Has privacy active” but my friend’s has his middle name, which he only uses in the phone book.

The answer to the first is, as you say, you probably entered your phone number on a form or contest entry or something, and it became part of a list that was sold to the Keecall company.

The answer to the second is: advertising. The more data that Keecall can provide, the more likely that people will bookmark their site and use it often. And the more hits it gets, the more they can charge for ads.

Not only do they have a list of active numbers, but also active numbers where the owner dutifully picks up every call despite caller ID showing it’s not a normal contact. Doubly valuable to telemarketers.

It’s easy to get people unlisted numbers , they just keep running numbers though a device that hooked up to a phone and when a real phone up come it get dialed. I don’t what you call the device but I called the phone company to find out how someone got my unlisted number and I was told something like this. I get it would be some kind computer program to run numbers .

It’s called a robo dialer, and it would be an incredibly inefficient way for the OP’s neighbour to get the OP’s number.

I think the point wasn’t that you would use a robo dialer to learn a specific person’s number, but rather that it could be used to build a database of valid numbers and some of those numbers would be unlisted.