Saturday, January 23, 2010

How Did These Guys Get My Cellphone Number?

I've had a few people communicate to me that they've been getting calls on their cellphones from strange phone numbers:

The number:


Here's a forum discussing this number which seems to originate from an Indian Reservation in Oregon:

The second comes from a Caller ID in Washington D.C. - offering a free cruise if you answer a few survey questions:


If you see one of these numbers on your cellphone - don't answer it!

Calls like this are increasing as telemarketers have seen their databases dry up as more and more people switch to cell phones as their only phone.

This is what is known as a "line test call". The call is meant solely to find out if you have a valid cellphone number. This confirmation (if you answer) then allows a few things to happen.

First, you are added to a marketing database either on an Indian Reservation or an international telemarketer database. These entities do NOT have to follow Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Federal Communications Commission (FCC) polices - since they aren't governed by Federal law.

Most likely, this exact number isn't going to call you back, but it's a good idea to call AT&T to get the number blocked anyway. If enough people complain about the number - AT&T will block the call from calling any AT&T wireless or landline number.

Just know that with modern (an commonly available) technology like an iPhone - I can "spoof" a call and make it seem like it's from any number. I even did this as a joke a few weeks back to my wife - calling as our daughter. The Caller ID literally shows up with my daughter's name, number, and picture right on my wife's iPhone.

My rule of thumb is that I don't answer ANY phone number that I don't recognize as a local number or a valid connection. People that I know - know how to get in contact with me.

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