: I'm getting a lot of wrong numbers


Sonal
Jun 10th, 2010, 06:11 PM
I've had the same cell phone number for about 6 years now.

Within the last few weeks, I am suddenly getting a lot of calls from several strange area codes... strange meaning ones I don't recognize at all, but look like the are somewhere in North America. (About 99.99% of my calls are all from Toronto or the GTA.) Always a wrong number.

Started asking people where they got my number from, and several of them say that they just got a call from my number, and they going through their missed calls to cal back. I never called them.

One person said that someone must be using a calling card and somehow it's giving my number, but I have no idea if that's true or not. Another person had dialed a number that was completely different than mine and somehow it went to me. He called it twice.

Any idea what's causing this, and more importantly, how I can stop it? I'm getting 4-5 of these a day.

kps
Jun 10th, 2010, 06:44 PM
Did you talk to your provider yet? Sounds like a nasty glitch.

Sonal
Jun 10th, 2010, 06:50 PM
Did you talk to your provider yet? Sounds like a nasty glitch.

Yep. Called them a couple of days ago, they'd never heard of such a thing happening.... the girl on the phone put my on hold while she talked to their tech department, and then after a minute or so the line got disconnected.

Got to busy to call them back, though I suppose I should.

Lawrence
Jun 10th, 2010, 08:54 PM
I only use my cell phone for out going calls only,
Otherwise it is off 90% of the time.

Sure I'll surf the internet on my breaks at work,
But otherwise it's off.

Do you pay for a plan?

I pay as I go.

Sonal
Jun 10th, 2010, 09:18 PM
My cell phone is my work number. I never turn it off.

But I have unlimited calling on my plan.

screature
Jun 10th, 2010, 10:10 PM
Any idea what's causing this, and more importantly, how I can stop it? I'm getting 4-5 of these a day.

Ghosts in the machine. Cancel your subscription with your provider immediately. ;)

MACenstein'sMonster
Jun 11th, 2010, 01:00 PM
Apparently your situation is quite common:

Phronk.com: The Mathematics of Wrong Numbers (http://www.phronk.com/2009/06/mathematics-of-wrong-numbers.html)

Edit: Google "cell phone, wrong numbers" and you'll find plenty of people complaining about this very thing.

Sonal
Jun 11th, 2010, 01:42 PM
Apparently your situation is quite common:

Phronk.com: The Mathematics of Wrong Numbers (http://www.phronk.com/2009/06/mathematics-of-wrong-numbers.html)

Edit: Google "cell phone, wrong numbers" and you'll find plenty of people complaining about this very thing.

I actually did google before posting.

But that doesn't explain why my number is showing up as a missed call when I didn't call them. (Or maybe some other number that's forwarding to my number... once or twice it's shown up as a forwarded call.)

I'm kind of worried that my cell phone number is somehow being used for nefarious purposes... not deliberately or anything, but that they are hiding their number and it happens to look like it came from mine I know you can make an email look like it came from anywhere. I would assume that the same is true (though more difficult) for telephony. I'm getting calls from area codes 772, 319, 858, 408, 708, 909, 630, 707, and 407, and that's just this week.

I mean, if Google Voice and MagicJack, etc., can give you a number from anywhere, what is preventing someone from hacking things so that it appears to be coming from my number?

Sonal
Jul 16th, 2010, 12:37 AM
Adding to the mystery...

In addition to all of these wrong numbers, I've been getting automated calls from a debt collection company who cannot find my number in their database when I call them. Well, one of these calls from them showed up on my phone as a "Forwarded number" and that got them investigating a bit more, and then finally I got an automated call from them that included a reference number--and when they looked that up, it wasn't me. Don't recall all the details, but it was some guy named Sean whose area code began with a 7.

Haven't had a phony debt collection call from them since, but it got me curious, so in these last few wrong numbers from strange places, I started asking what number came up when they called... and it was a number totally different from mine, with area code 734. This is somewhere in Michigan. I have no idea whose number this is.

Tried calling the number, and sure enough, my cell phone rang.

Contacted my provider again with the new info, and they will be looking into it. But I am hoping that this is the end of the mystery calls.

But then again, I had a number of people say they were trying to reach someone in Costa Rica, so maybe this is screwier than it appears.

The question remains... why is that number being forwarded to my phone? Pure dumb luck? Or something else.

Dr.G.
Jul 16th, 2010, 07:08 AM
Sonal, let's hope it is "dumb luck" and not "something else". Bonne chance, mon amie.

winwintoo
Jul 16th, 2010, 12:28 PM
Just to add to the confusion, my son Sean lives in Taiwan and when he calls my cell phone, his number shows up as 886-983-nnnnn. This number appears on my cell phone without a 1 in front of it. Long distance calls from North American numbers do show the 1 in front of them on my phone.

I just googled 886 to see what the North American location would be and it's Michigan.

It turns out that 886 is the international country code for Taiwan (they probably have a bunch of codes since it's quite a populous place.)

Then I googled international code 734 and it's Belgium.

So my guess is that some call center in Belgium is calling people who then try to call back and since they aren't dialling either 1 or 011 in front, the carrier equipment is parsing what it can understand and calling your phone.

Notice that Sean's Taiwan number has 3-3-5 digits. Ask future wrong number callers if they are sure they're only dialling 7 digits when they get you.

Here's a link to international phone information. (http://countrycode.org/)

HTH, Margaret

Sonal
Jul 16th, 2010, 02:41 PM
Well, the debt collection company was American (and its call center must be American, or else they have really good training on Midwest and Southern accents) and that was an automated dialler.

Today, I spoke to a nice gentleman who thought it was his son calling him from overseas... yep, he was calling that same number.

winwintoo
Jul 16th, 2010, 03:47 PM
If it was me, I'd put 011 in front of the number they say they're calling and see where you end up. It would cost a toll charge, but I'd be curious enough to give it a try.

Since that one caller thought it was someone from overseas calling him, I'd be willing to bet I'm on the right track.

With satellites and Voice over IP and the many ways of routing messages, the physical call center could be anywhere and routed and bounced around all over the world before it gets to you.

Margaret

Sonal
Jul 16th, 2010, 03:49 PM
Just tried with 011 in front. The number is not in service.

Since that one caller thought it was someone from overseas calling him, I'd be willing to bet I'm on the right track.

I didn't get a chance to ask him, but I've had a lot of people tell me that they were trying to reach someone in Costa Rica. Any idea how that might be related?

winwintoo
Jul 16th, 2010, 07:21 PM
Just tried with 011 in front. The number is not in service.

I didn't get a chance to ask him, but I've had a lot of people tell me that they were trying to reach someone in Costa Rica. Any idea how that might be related?

Hmm. The country code for Costa Rica is 506 which is also the area code for New Brunswick and New Brunswick has lots of call centres.

When you dialled the 011 in front, did you dial the country code and then the number?

Lots of countries don't use 7 digit phone numbers but if you dial more than 7 digits, our phone systems only recognize the first 7 digits and cut off the rest. I think it's possible that the people calling you are actually dialling longer numbers.

I'm just guessing now, I've exhausted my long ago expertise in telephony technology :D

Sonal
Jul 16th, 2010, 08:51 PM
When you dialled the 011 in front, did you dial the country code and then the number?

011 then 734 then the 7 digit number. Not in service.

One person guessed something about calling cards...?

It's a stumper, this one...

kps
Jul 16th, 2010, 10:00 PM
FUBAR, for sure. If you can't get this resolved, did you consider dumping your current number? Yeah, it's a pain, but may be better that putting up with this crap.

Sonal
Jul 16th, 2010, 10:38 PM
FUBAR, for sure. If you can't get this resolved, did you consider dumping your current number? Yeah, it's a pain, but may be better that putting up with this crap.

Changing my number would probably be a bigger hassle....

winwintoo
Jul 16th, 2010, 11:26 PM
011 then 734 then the 7 digit number. Not in service.

One person guessed something about calling cards...?

It's a stumper, this one...

I'm all out of suggestions, except that whatever number they're trying to call back to is likely a couple of digits longer than your number - the switches in North America just take the area code and the next 7 digits and ignore anything after that.

If your wrong number callers look closely at the number that's on their call display, I'm guessing that they'll discover some more digits there.

Margaret

Sonal
Jul 17th, 2010, 11:14 AM
Still doesn't answer why that 734 number forwards to mine, though...

winwintoo
Jul 17th, 2010, 02:02 PM
Still doesn't answer why that 734 number forwards to mine, though...

Are the first three digits of your number 734?

krs
Jul 17th, 2010, 02:05 PM
A few things you need to remember if you're trying to track this down.

1. CLID on calls from outside the NANP (North American Numbering Plan) is usually not correct - in fact getting a valid CLID that way is more the exception than the rule.
2. CLID on calls from within the NANP is correct except for calls originating through another switching system like a PBX where it may not be.
3. Calling a number and getting a "Not in Servive" indication could mean that this number is set up for outgoing calls only. A lot of telemarketers do that.

Call Forwarding at that 734 number could be set up to go to your number by mistake. Why don't you try a reverse look up and then see if you can reach that party some other way.

Sonal
Jul 18th, 2010, 04:08 PM
Are the first three digits of your number 734?

Nope. I don't even have any '7's in my number at all. The full number is about as far off from my number as it can be.

I don't think it's an call center mis-dial. Too many people are calling and asking for someone they know... different people though.

Got another call (actually, 3 calls) from someone trying to reach their daughter at a some Yoga Ashram in Costa Rica. That say 734 number shows up on their last call, and it was the number she left on their voicemail.

They think it might be something screwy with calling cards...?

Had another call from someone else but looking for someone else... they tried the same number, and nope.

Sonal
Jul 18th, 2010, 04:09 PM
Call Forwarding at that 734 number could be set up to go to your number by mistake. Why don't you try a reverse look up and then see if you can reach that party some other way.

Did that the moment I discovered it was forwarding. Unlisted number.

krs
Jul 18th, 2010, 04:51 PM
Then I googled international code 734 and it's Belgium.


That's a red herring.
734 is not the country code of Belgium. The first digit of each country code is determined by the region or "zone" the country is in. Belgium is in Europe - all European country codes start with a "3" or a "4".
Country codes starting with "7" are assigned to Russia and countries that used to be part of the former Soviet Union.

krs
Jul 18th, 2010, 05:04 PM
Got another call (actually, 3 calls) from someone trying to reach their daughter at a some Yoga Ashram in Costa Rica. That say 734 number shows up on their last call, and it was the number she left on their voicemail.

Costa Rica seems to come up a lot as the place people are trying to reach when they end up reaching you. The country code for Costa Rica is 506 - I don't see how that plays in this - if the 'daughter' left the '734' number and these were the first three digits, it's obviously not the right access code for Costa Rica.
The national numbering plan for Costa Rica consist of eight digits with the first digit a "2" or an "8" so the number people would dial from Canada would be 011-506-2 or 8 and seven digits.

Sonal
Jul 18th, 2010, 05:20 PM
There's no '506' in the number.

zlinger
Jul 19th, 2010, 12:22 PM
This is most likely a glitch somewhere, that will be difficult to track down...

You may want to call the operator to see if they can put a trace on your line?

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3007/2680257100_69b12c6e7d.jpg

jeepguy
Jul 21st, 2010, 01:43 PM
Adding to the mystery...

In addition to all of these wrong numbers, I've been getting automated calls from a debt collection company who cannot find my number in their database when I call them. Well, one of these calls from them showed up on my phone as a "Forwarded number" and that got them investigating a bit more, and then finally I got an automated call from them that included a reference number--and when they looked that up, it wasn't me. Don't recall all the details, but it was some guy named Sean whose area code began with a 7.

Haven't had a phony debt collection call from them since, but it got me curious, so in these last few wrong numbers from strange places, I started asking what number came up when they called... and it was a number totally different from mine, with area code 734. This is somewhere in Michigan. I have no idea whose number this is.

Tried calling the number, and sure enough, my cell phone rang.

Contacted my provider again with the new info, and they will be looking into it. But I am hoping that this is the end of the mystery calls.

But then again, I had a number of people say they were trying to reach someone in Costa Rica, so maybe this is screwier than it appears.

The question remains... why is that number being forwarded to my phone? Pure dumb luck? Or something else.

I wonder if this guy Sean is ducking a collection agency by forwarding to some random number that happens to be yours.

Sonal
Jul 21st, 2010, 02:33 PM
I wonder if this guy Sean is ducking a collection agency by forwarding to some random number that happens to be yours.

That's was my theory, but it doesn't explain why people keep calling that number looking for different people, none of whom are this Sean guy....

krs
Jul 21st, 2010, 02:58 PM
That's was my theory, but it doesn't explain why people keep calling that number looking for different people, none of whom are this Sean guy....

Do you ask if they actually dialed your number or dialed another number and were somehow transferred?
And if they did dial your number, where did they get it?
Are they all calling you because your number showed up on their call display?
The one person who said your number was the one given to him by his daughter in Costa Rica is obviously mistaken - maybe the daughter forgot to include the country code and assumed that people who call her would look it up.
I think if you ask a few basic question whenever you get another call like this, you can figure out what is happening. Assume that the telephone system is working correctly - the number of glitches that can be attributed to the system is incredibly small and they would not be as consistent as what you are experiencing.

Sonal
Jul 21st, 2010, 03:18 PM
Do you ask if they actually dialed your number or dialed another number and were somehow transferred?
And if they did dial your number, where did they get it?
Are they all calling you because your number showed up on their call display?
The one person who said your number was the one given to him by his daughter in Costa Rica is obviously mistaken - maybe the daughter forgot to include the country code and assumed that people who call her would look it up.
I think if you ask a few basic question whenever you get another call like this, you can figure out what is happening. Assume that the telephone system is working correctly - the number of glitches that can be attributed to the system is incredibly small and they would not be as consistent as what you are experiencing.

I have been asking those questions.

Everyone I have asked has said that it was the last number that showed up their phone, and I was the one who answered. Most of them just hit "last number called" thinking it was either someone in particular calling them, or just wondering who had called them. There's no consistency over who they are asking for--mostly, it seems like personal calls, but a few times people have been looking for a business.

Costa Rica has come up a lot. Calling cards have come up a few times.

The only thing that's consistent is that people think I called them, they see the number on their phone and hit last call, it's invariably someone in the US, and since I figured out the forwarding thing last week, everyone I ask confirms that it's that 734 number. (I keep telling people "Sorry, wrong number" and then they say "No, it isn't, you called me" and then I say "No, I didn't, but this has been happening to me a lot lately.")

Honestly, I'm not so worried about figuring out what is going on as I am about figuring out how to make it stop... unless my personal information or my phone number has been compromised or misused in some way, in which case I also want that to stop.

I'm heading to the US tomorrow and am not interested in being charged roaming for this.

Sonal
Jul 21st, 2010, 03:50 PM
Sigh. Some guy from Utah just called me trying to reach his brother in Costa Rica. Same 734 number came up on his phone last night, he was just trying it today.

Kosh
Jul 21st, 2010, 05:48 PM
Maybe it's a automated calling system or someone on skype calling these people. I remember seeing a phone number on my home call display once that couldn't possibly be a correct phone #. I can't remember now what it was, it was something like all zeros or "1234567890" or something outrageous.

There seems to be alot of automated calling systems these days, which I thought were against the law.

The even stranger thing is that you have people calling you because it's the last number on their phone. If I miss a call and I don't know the number that is displayed, I don't call them back.

So there is nothing your phone company can do for you without giving you a new number? Aren't they useless! Are they charging you for these calls, since this is a cell phone? Because if they are, then they owe it to you to fix this.

krs
Jul 21st, 2010, 06:56 PM
Maybe it's a automated calling system or someone on skype calling these people. I remember seeing a phone number on my home call display once that couldn't possibly be a correct phone #. I can't remember now what it was, it was something like all zeros or "1234567890" or something outrageous.


I get these CLID numbers too but it's pretty obvious they are not 'real' numbers.
I also get 1-866 and 1-888 numbers which are usually people asking to support some cause.
And finally I get the occasional 'real' number like 1-212......, but instead of a call from the 212 area it's a call from Europe where the caller used some low cost service that comes in at that area code.
But none of these numbers should be assigned to an individual.

Sonal
Jul 21st, 2010, 06:56 PM
Maybe it's a automated calling system or someone on skype calling these people. I remember seeing a phone number on my home call display once that couldn't possibly be a correct phone #. I can't remember now what it was, it was something like all zeros or "1234567890" or something outrageous.

There seems to be alot of automated calling systems these days, which I thought were against the law.

The even stranger thing is that you have people calling you because it's the last number on their phone. If I miss a call and I don't know the number that is displayed, I don't call them back.

So there is nothing your phone company can do for you without giving you a new number? Aren't they useless! Are they charging you for these calls, since this is a cell phone? Because if they are, then they owe it to you to fix this.

Oh, I always call my missed calls back. Usually, if I missed a call, it's because I couldn't find my cell phone in the bottom of my purse, so I call right back.

Wind is looking into it, and hopes to have some resolution to this soon. I have unlimited incoming while I'm in the GTA, so generally there's no charge, but I'm leaving for the USA tomorrow so the roaming will kick in. I told them I was worried about this--the person said to keep a log, they will see what they can do. (I'm going to have some calls from odd area codes that are legit, otherwise I'd just block them all.)

Wind has been pretty good to deal with, so I'm feeling relatively confident about getting the roaming waved.

Sonal
Jul 21st, 2010, 06:58 PM
I get these CLID numbers too but it's pretty obvious they are not 'real' numbers.
I also get 1-866 and 1-888 numbers which are usually people asking to support some cause.
And finally I get the occasional 'real' number like 1-212......, but instead of a call from the 212 area it's a call from Europe where the caller used some low cost service that comes in at that area code.
But none of these numbers should be assigned to an individual.

They are all coming from 'real' numbers.

I wonder if it's something like that low-cost service, where the caller calls from Costa Rica, but the number comes up as Michigan... which mysteriously forwards to my phone.

Hey, I have a US number, who knew?

krs
Jul 21st, 2010, 07:01 PM
Sigh. Some guy from Utah just called me trying to reach his brother in Costa Rica. Same 734 number came up on his phone last night, he was just trying it today.

So let me get this straight.
This person who called you saw 1-734-xxx-xxxx on his call display and dialed that number to return the call and reached you.
Is 1-734-xxx-xxxx your number?
And what made him think that number would connect him to his brother in Costa Rica?
What did he actually dial?
For Costa Rica he would have to dial 011-country code-local code, not even the same numbering structure.

SINC
Jul 21st, 2010, 07:04 PM
From what I understand people are not dialling any number. It seems most of them are hitting the call back number on their phone system display from a call received when they were not able to answer.

krs
Jul 21st, 2010, 07:05 PM
They are all coming from 'real' numbers.

I wonder if it's something like that low-cost service, where the caller calls from Costa Rica, but the number comes up as Michigan... which mysteriously forwards to my phone.

Hey, I have a US number, who knew?

That would explain you receiving calls from people in Costa Rica but you are saying the calls are from people trying to call to Costa Rica

Sonal
Jul 21st, 2010, 07:08 PM
So let me get this straight.
This person who called you saw 1-734-xxx-xxxx on his call display and dialed that number to return the call and reached you.
Is 1-734-xxx-xxxx your number?
And what made him think that number would connect him to his brother in Costa Rica?
What did he actually dial?
For Costa Rica he would have to dial 011-country code-local code, not even the same numbering structure.

Yes. Generally, the message is they saw 734-xxx-xxxx (I don't know about the leading 1 or not) and it got through to me. My number is 416-yyy-yyyy. (Not even remotely the same.)

If I call the 734 number, I reach my cell phone. THAT is the bizarre part. Happens consistently.

Why did they think it was his brother in Costa Rica? I didn't ask that guy, but others have said it was an unfamiliar long distance number, and they assumed. The person who called me Sunday said their daughter had left that number on their voicemail, plus it had come up on their phone.

Sonal
Jul 21st, 2010, 07:10 PM
That would explain you receiving calls from people in Costa Rica but you are saying the calls are from people trying to call to Costa Rica

Yeah, but maybe other people are receiving calls from their friends and family in Costa Rica through this low cost service... and then when they call that number back, it's that 734 number which mysteriously forwards to me.

The forwarding bit is the part I don't get at all.

Sonal
Jul 21st, 2010, 07:11 PM
From what I understand people are not dialling any number. It seems most of them are hitting the call back number on their phone system display from a call received when they were not able to answer.

If I actually dial that 734 number, I reach my cell phone. My area code is 416, and the numbers don't have anything in common.

winwintoo
Jul 21st, 2010, 07:21 PM
Have you reported this to PhoneBusters (http://www.phonebusters.com/english/recognizeit_spoofing.html)?


Phone Number Spoofing

"I received a call and my call display indicated a phone number 123-456-7890 or 777-777-7778 (or any other strange combination of numbers)".

This is a phone number that has been programmed into the system so your call display indicates a different number than the originators. Although this does not mean the offer you are receiving is illegal, you should certainly have a "red flag" approach to any offer.

Why would a legitimate company try to obscure their identity?

krs
Jul 21st, 2010, 08:17 PM
Yeah, but maybe other people are receiving calls from their friends and family in Costa Rica through this low cost service... and then when they call that number back, it's that 734 number which mysteriously forwards to me.

The forwarding bit is the part I don't get at all.

I actually find the forwarding part logical, the party who has the 734 number forwarded his phone to an alternate number so he wouldn't miss any calls and made a mistake when entering the number and ended up with yours.
What I don't understand why people who want to call Costa Rica end up dialling that 734 number which is a Michigan area code. All I can think of is that this 734 number is a local dial around access number for people in that area to call Costa Rica and the forwarding was programmed incorrectly - so instead of connecting to an outgoing truck to Costa Rica, the call gets routed to your cell phone.
You did try a reverse look up on that 734 number, right?