Fax Number Search

Q: How can I look up a fax number? Is there a reverse-lookup directory where I can search for the owner of a fax number?

If you know a company’s name, the easiest way to get its fax number is to call and ask for it. But perhaps it’s after business hours and your fax must get there before midnight for some (probably legalistic) reason. Then you can turn to several other sources of fax numbers on the Internet.

A company’s Web site usually displays its fax number. Check in the “About” or “Contact Us” areas of the site. You may even find a specific department’s fax number by looking into its pages within the corporate Web site. If that fails, try a search directory.
Google “fax” and the company’s name first. Often you’ll get as the first result a miniature Google Map listing showing the company’s location, phone number, and fax number. If that doesn’t work, things get harder and more expensive.

You can try the Yellow Pages online directory in your area, but the odds that a listing includes a fax number are slim. Various trade and industry online member directories may include fax numbers; however, they are often available only to dues-paying members.
Many companies don’t like to publish their fax numbers because calls to those numbers can cost them serious money, unlike an incoming call to a voice line. A fax machine eats paper and toner; you don’t want just anyone using your office supplies. In fact, “junk faxes” from advertisers got so bad that many countries have banned the transmission of unsolicited faxes to owners of fax machines with whom one does not have an “established business relationship.”

The other side of the coin is faxes from strangers. You don’t want them, but you have only the fax number and no one answers it when you call voice. You could fax a “please stop” note of your own back to the offending machine, but what if that doesn’t work?

Try Googling the fax number with dashes, i. e., “123-456-7890” to see if that pulls up a company. If it doesn’t, you may have to pay for access to a reverse-lookup fax number database.

Most such databases will let you enter a number and tell you if they have a record on it, for free. But before you buy the report, or a membership to do a large number of searches, consider what might be in a “record.” It might not be as complete, or up-to-date, as you had hoped.

Do you have a question about faxing? Send me your fax question.