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By Robert Scott, P.I.

VOIP phone numbers present a special challenge to investigators and skiptracers. A person with a VOIP phone number, like those from Vonage, could be physically located anywhere in the world - despite having an area code that suggests otherwise. Unfortunately, there is no single trick or database for identifying whether or not a phone number is in fact a VOIP line. But with the assistance of investigators from around the country, it's now possible to determine if a phone number is from Vonage - the largest service provider of VOIP in the U.S.

When run through publicly available phone company identifier websites like or, Vonage numbers don't come up as "Vonage" as the company uses subcarriers for its phone connections. To try and determine which phone carriers these might be, a request was put out on investigative listserves asking members who positively, absolutely knew a phone number to be a Vonage line to send it in. The results were as follows:

Focal Communications 60%

Level 3 Communications 30%

XO Communications 10%

So, when using a phone company identifier website like, if one of these carriers comes up, there's a good possibility the phone number is from Vonage.

Robert Scott is a Los Angeles-based private investigator and author of "The Investigator's Little Black Book." Reprint permission


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