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July 8, 2009

Phaking Phone Number

OK, that should read faking phone numbers but where’s the fun in that? Besides, if they can make up phone numbers, can’t I make up words.

With the housing crisis going on, there are people out there who will use this opportunity to take advantage of the uncertainty and fear that envelopes us. For example, I’ve been getting unsolicited calls from places offering me mortgage modifications. I know this because I let their calls go to voice mail where a potion of a pre-recorded message is taking up space in my inbox.

I haven’t bothered to listen to the whole message since I’m fairly certain it’s a scam but just in case you’re wondering, the number they used most recently was 1 151 793 12478. That’s right, they called from one of those new fangled 12 digit phone numbers. And how do they do this, you ask. Simple, they just use VOIP and enter whatever number they want. This is very common with off-shore companies that call you from say, the Caribbean and then charge you $30/min.

Update: Observant reader Scott noticed the number is also 517-931-2478 with a couple of extra long distance prefix 1’s. I’ve gotten both numbers so far.

Update #2: Helpful reader Alyssa offered this tip for Verizon users. Thanks, Alyssa

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  • At 3:14 pm on July 8, 2009, Adonis commented:

    12 digits?!?

    We just went from 7 to 10 here (area code now required). I’m not quite sure how that works though. I would think that it should default to the local area code if you only dial 7 numbers (what it used to do).

  • At 3:49 am on July 9, 2009, Scott commented:

    Adonis, there aren’t really 12 digits. It’s just that the scammer entered 12 digits into their phone system as the number to use in the Caller-ID (it could actually be their correct number, just with 2 1’s in front). But don’t worry too much about the Caribbean calls; those are just billed at normal international long-distance rates (my phone company would charge just $.25/minute). The original reports for that scam made it sound as though the calls could cost as must as about $2,500, but it was really supposed to be $25 (at perhaps $1-2/minute back then, and with them keeping you on the phone 10-30 minutes before you got tired of talking to them).

  • At 5:55 pm on July 9, 2009, Adonis commented:

    Actually some of the International Codes can get quite long. Not as long as TV/Movies

    Some interesting comments at the Canadian Link in the article.

    A bit disturbing that caller ID can be co opted so easily – then again, we don’t actually have it, so it’s wasted effort in my case.

  • At 10:11 am on July 15, 2009, Rob commented:

    I just received a call from 1 151 793 12478. I didn’t answer since I didn’t recognize the number pattern let alone the number.
    No message was left on the voicemail so I searched and found this site.

  • At 1:34 pm on July 16, 2009, archshrk commented:

    Scott, you are correct. I’ve gotten the same message from 517-931-2478.

  • At 1:52 pm on July 22, 2009, Laura commented:

    I got this call today and just ignored it… I’m not paying any scammer my money, or my time! I don’t understand, either… I am on the national do not call registry and my cell phone has been receiving multiple calls a day!! :(

  • At 2:27 pm on July 22, 2009, archshrk commented:

    The National Do Not Call Registry only applies to US based companies. You can file a complaint HERE.

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