There's a simple way to find out who's texting you from an unknown number using Facebook
1. Hope that you can Google the number and figure out who it was that way, which almost never works.
2. Swallow your pride and admit you never saved the person's number, then think of a polite way to ask who they are. Jerk.
But I recently found a third option when I got a text from an acquaintance whose number I'd never saved: searching Facebook.
First, I got the text. It read, "It was so great catching up, let's hang out again soon!" or something along those lines. Not knowing the number and unable to remember who I'd recently caught up with (oops), I sent a screenshot to some friends to see if they knew the number.
One of them suggested searching Facebook for the phone number, saying that if the texter had connected her phone number to Facebook, her profile would pop up.
This seemed too good to be true, but it worked - only not in the way I'd expected.
I searched Facebook and while the person's profile didn't pop up, something even weirder did: a post she'd written years ago, sharing her phone number in a Facebook group created by someone who'd broken their phone.
I searched my own number, too, and had the same odd result:
My coworker had a similarly embarrassing result.
Anyone who's been on Facebook since its early days will remember the "new phone... need numbers" Facebook group phenomenon.
Before most phones saved their contacts on iCloud or a similar service, you had to start from scratch when you got a new phone. The easiest way to gather all your friends' numbers was to create a Facebook group and invite them all, and ask them to post their phone numbers in the group.
This was before the days of any Facebook content being publicly accessible, so none of us thought twice about sharing our phone numbers (or our questionable party photos... but that's a different story).
A card displaying my account info also popped up when I searched my name, since I connected my mobile phone to Facebook a few months ago.
It, too, comes complete with vestiges of the former Facebook - apparently, at some point, I had felt compelled to let the people of Facebook know that I was a fan of both Hunter S. Thompson and Ernest Hemingway. The things we do to assert our coolness in college!
So to whom was I so freely giving my phone number? Who was I so fervently hoping to "see soon" back in the spring of 2008? That's a mystery. Whoever created the group abandoned it a long time ago, leaving a trail of high school acquaintances' now-publicly-accessible phone numbers in their wake.
Now that I know about this Facebook phone number secret, I'll be sure to try it out next time I get a call from an unknown number. It beats Google, which basically never helps when searching for the number of anyone other than your cable company in my experience.
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