FAST LINKS: Free Public Record Searches   Validate SSNs   Validate Phone Numbers   Skip Smasher  Crime Smasher   Skiptrace Seminar     Need a P.I.?   Home


Crime Time

Skip Smasher

Site Areas:

BLACK BOOK ONLINE: Free Data Searches! Click Button to Search!

Free Public Records


Black Book Online is now on Facebook!


Skip Smasher


P.I. Licensing Directory


NEW: PHONE VALIDATOR -- FREE!!! domain for sale - $1,000,000 asking price!

Online Skiptracing Seminar


By Robert Scott, P.I.

Prepaid cell phones present a vexing challenge to investigators, cops and skiptracers. For around thirty bucks, an anonymous dial tone can be obtained. No name is required. No I.D. check. No billing information. No questions asked. Just walk into Walmart or any other outlet that sells prepaid cell phones and you’ll walk out with a working phone line that’s virtually impossible to trace. If you’re a bad guy in the crime business, this is a good thing. If your job is tracking down bad guys, it’s a bad thing.

Did you know that phone company identifier searches at and and similar searches elsewhere don’t identify most prepaid cell phones? These searches are based on telephone company records called NPA/NXX data. NPA/NXX data identifies the owner of blocks of phone numbers. But in the case of most prepaid phone services, their phone numbers are purchased or leased from traditional cell phone companies that are listed in the NPA/NXX records.

For example, Tracfone leases service from several different cell carriers. So, you could run a phone number and it could come back as a Verizon phone through NPA/NXX data when in fact it’s a prepaid Tracfone. Likewise, prepaid service Boost Mobile could come back as Sprint or Nextel. The exception to this is MetroPCS and Cricket prepaid phones, which usually come up under their own names.

I recently put out posts on investigative listserves asking for phone numbers that were absolutely, positively known to be for prepaid cell phones. The phone numbers were then ran through NPA/NXX data to see how they would come up. Here are the results:

Tracfone comes up as Verizon or T-Mobile or Cingular

Boost Mobile comes up as Sprint or Nextel

Go Phone comes up as AT&T

T-Mobile To Go comes up as T-Mobile

MetroPCS comes up as MetroPCS or Royal Street Communications

Cricket comes up as Cricket or Leap Wireless

So, an investigator who gets a hit through NPA/NXX data showing a cell phone is with a major cell service like Verizon should heed warning. He may subpoena the records, only to find it’s been leased to Tracfone. A new subpoena is directed at Tracfone, only to learn that no subscriber information is on file. In the two weeks it took to get subpoena results returned from the phone companies, the bad guy has since tossed the phone out the car window and already has a new one. The investigator might be feeling like he’s been tossed out the window, too.

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


ICE Detainees Now Online

The Most Restricted Phone Number?

"General Delivery" Mail Decoded

Google's Secret Phone Book

NYPD Secret Cell Phone Database

Crime Smasher Website Online

New Official Code for Locates

Identification of Vonage Phone Numbers

New P.O. Box Locator

Digital Copiers Security Risk?

Building the Perfect P.I.



Black Book Online: Free Public Records!

P.I. Directory: Need a P.I.?

P.I. Licensing Directory

SSN Validator - FREE!!!

Phone Validator - FREE!!!



Click cover for details!

Sold Out! E-book coming December 2010!

New e-Book!

The E-Book

Learn How to Skiptrace! Click Book Cover for Details!



Receive our free newsletter on information sources and products:

Subscribe to our free BlackBookOnline newsletter:
Powered by

mastercard.gif (2219 bytes)  visa.gif (1681 bytes)  amex.gif (3653 bytes)

Black Book Online Search Spy

No membership required! Criminal background checks from Crime Smasher:

Crime smasher Criminal Record Checks

Skiptracing data for professional investigators from Skip Smasher:

Click for detail!

This website copyright Crime Time Publishing Co., Inc. All rights reserved. You may contact us here. You may read our privacy policy here.