Reverse directory for fax numbers?

I’ve heard there is a reverse fax lookup service so people can track down who’s sending them faxes. Is this true?

Ah, the mystery fax, also known as, “Who the heck sent me this?” (Or, even worse, “Who keeps calling my phone and making me hear that horrible screech?”)

A handful of companies have offered searchable reverse directories especially for fax numbers. Part of the trouble is that unscrupulous junk faxers try to stay out of directories and keep their identity on the down-low by sending the faxes through third parties (including email-to-fax services) and other methods, such as frequently changing fax numbers.

If the number is listed, most of the online search directories should be able to find it, because they’re generally going off the same database. (I like AnyWho.) If it’s an unlisted number, you’ll likely need to pay—and even then you could still reach a dead-end. The latest to market such a tool in the U.S. is, which in 2007 added a fax number reverse search function. The catch: Only a preliminary report confirming that it’s a valid number is available for free. To get the full report, including the sender’s name (or business name) and location, you have to pony up $14.95. Another company that may be able to help is used to have a fax number database search, but recently disabled it.

The good news is, when it comes to both phone numbers and fax numbers, a directory is a directory is a directory. Which is to say, you can look up a fax number the same way you look up a phone number, so any of the free online reverse phone directory services would have what you need, if the number is listed. You could also plug the number (with area code and dashes) into Google and see what that reveals. This would be a good way to find out the owner of a legitimate fax machine, such as a potential employer who posted a “blind” help-wanted ad.

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