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How to get cell phone text message records

Updated July 20, 2017

Trying to obtain your cell phone records is a task that will require patience and persistence. Ask your cell phone provider for your records and they will direct you to your online account and put you on hold. Always try to make this call on a landline as it will be a lengthy wait. You will be transferred to another operator who will ask you account questions for verification purposes. Eventually, you will be successful.

Log into your own account information online with your cell phone carrier. It is illegal to look up another person's text information without a warrant. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has forbidden cell phone carriers from printing out text messages, even if it's from your own account.

By logging into your account online, you can view the numbers and times that text messages were sent or received, but you will not see actual messages.

You may contact your local law enforcement to ask for a legal way to receive a print out. Although they may send you to the FBI due to the 2006 Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act, by law it is the only legal way to obtain records.

Under extreme circumstances such as court cases, you may contact the FBI. The FBI can use what is called "digital forensics" to pull even erased text messages from any electronically hand-held device.

Because of the 2006 Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act, the only way to get your cell phone text messages will be in court.

Tip

Because of the 2006 Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act, the only way to get your cell phone text messages will be in court.

Warning

It is illegal to retrieve another person's text message records.

Things You'll Need

  • Log-in address for your online account
  • Telephone number to local law enforcement office
  • FBI contact number
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About the Author

Nicola Bryant, a professional writer since 2000, is owner and operator of Consult Medley Publishing. She oversees digital representations of art, web content and social media campaigns and has published articles for newspapers, company newsletters and promotional marketing pieces. Bryant studied business administration at Southern University A & M.