Monday, March 14, 2011

A Phone Call from a Non-Existent Number

At 2:49 PM, the phone rang. No one was on the other end. Hmmm... Must have been a wrong number. At 8:06 PM the phone rang again. Same number and same silence.

Since it was a California number, I didn't want the three hour difference to result in another wrong number in the middle of the night, so I called the number back. I was was greated by, "Welcome to Verizon Wireless. The number you dialed has been changed, disconnected, or is no longer in service..." HUH? How can I be getting calls from a disconnected number?

With my curiosity peaked, I tried a reverse phone number lookup. Once upon a time, you could get this for free, but I quickly realized it is one more thing that has been monetized. Now you have to pay for it. Forget that!

I could simply block the phone number. With Verizon I get five free blocks, but why should I waste one on a disconnected Verizon number. They need to fix the problem, but before I called customer service, I wanted to do more research.

Next I tried typing in the number as a Google search. BINGO! As I when through the results, it quickly became obvious that I was not alone; not by a long shot! It appeared that not just a few, not just a few hundred, but probably thousands of people had, and are experiencing the same thing. Not only that, it has been going on for years!

Now I was REALLY curious.

At 8:42 PM, I called Verizon Customer Service. I explained what I had found to Brad, the rep on the other end of the line. I told him that I knew I can simply solve my problem by blocking the number, but that thousands of people were having the same problem and I wanted to find out what was going on for them and the thousands of others who may experience the problem in the future.

After I gave him the number and he did a look up, he told me the number appeared "Temporarily Unavailable", whatever that meant. We continued to have a pleasant conversation about next steps. He offered to block the number for me and created an NRB ticket on the number that would go on to the network people to investigate it.

I thanked him, but told him that I wanted to be able to follow up on the ticket to find out exactly what was happening. He said I could call up in about a week to check on the status of the ticket, and that was where I left things with Brad.

I plan on following up in a week, but with my curiosity now in high gear I decided to spend a few bucks and use to see what I could find out about the number. When I visited the site, I found that it would cost me $4.99, but if no results were found, it would cost me nothing. Expecting it to cost me nothing, I continued only to find out that there were three different results for that number, but no indication as to whether any of those results were current.

Not knowing whether the results were current ticked me off. If the results were not current, I had just flushed $4.99 down the drain. Hmmm.... That would be a nice way for them to make money. If you sell old (useless) information, it's not likely you would get no results. I wonder...

Armed with names and addresses, I went back to Google. I found out about what I expected; namely that plenty of other people had spent money to find out who was calling. The first question that popped into my mind after see this was, could this be a scam to make money for the companies that have monetized the reverse phone lookup? Something just isn't right here!

I don't know what's going on and I don't know if I ever will, but I do know that I am not going to let this die here and now. I will post more when I find out more.

Oh, and in case you are interested, the number was (310) 429-5382. Do the Google search and see what you think.


  1. Cool article. I've had that happen before. I've also had someone spoof call me. The spoof call, was someone being vaguely threatening but speaking in a thick accent with another person in the background laughing. I'm sure it was someone I knew but still can't place the voice. I blocked it with my phone. When I block with my phone, I get the calls but my phone logs it as blocked and doesn't ring. I never call strange numbers back I google them. The number was spoofed as a local government office. I guess the point of the "prank" was to get me to call some this office and tell off some poor unsuspecting sheriffs dispatcher.

  2. I visited this page to know about tracking a phone number, I found this page Very Good Job of acknowledgment and a marvelous source of info to chase pranksters.........Thanks Admin!
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  3. Great article. The telephone number lookup process works well when you are trying to find the number of the person who has recently called you. You may also need to get back to the caller immediately, or you need to find out something from them urgently but do not have their phone number. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I have been getting these same calls, always with a local area code and a few different phone numbers meant to resemble local cell phone numbers. When I immediately call the number back, I am greeted with the message that the phone number is disconnected or no longer in service. I think it is caller ID spoofing software which is readily available for any cell phone. Usually it is some sad sociopathic person who thinks they have an axe to grind, attempting (badly) to upset the person on the receiving end of the call. Prank calls have been around as long as phones, so it might be a surprise to unwitting wanna-be evil-doers to find out their time and money are wasted and only hurtful to themselves.

    1. It is the result of spoofing software. This is frequently done by stalkers. It is an irritation for sure.

    2. Many, probably in the hundreds or more, receive calls from the same number only to find it is dis-connected, so why would they be stalking such a great amount of people? Stalking is a personal thing from one individual to another. This would clearly be pranks, cranks & stunts that crazy people pull who have nothing better to do since there are no good reasons why this should be happening. If there were logical explanations, we obviously wouldn't be talking about it now. They are no doubt gloating now for the fact that they are wasting our time as we are on the internet doing our so-called detective work.

  5. I'm getting these calls on a daily basis, and usually in the middle of the night. I use Vonage and my calls are coming from all over the country. No one on the other end, and calling back almost always gets the "not in service" message. Some just never answer, and once I got a busy signal. Your theory makes sense because any regular telemarketer would have a commercial or sales person on the other end when you answered.

  6. What a long rambling post. W no information. This must be a woman

    1. I appreciate your reading the article, but with all due respect, it's a narrative of what happened, not a Wikipedia entry. If I had more information, I would have included it, but then it would have been ever longer and more rambling. ;-)

    2. Chad has a high capacity for exposing his low I.Q.

      Chad, please grab your ankles and Ben Dover.

  7. Hi, Thanks for your great post, there are much nice information that I am sure a huge number of guys and gals don’t know. cell phone detector & cell phone detection

  8. I keep getting calls from a disconnected number 920-261-7500, JK Architecture and Engineering, 217 N. 4th Street, and 100 E. Main Street, Suite One, Watertown, WI., 53094. Obviously there is a way to take a disconnected landline number and use it to call people nationwide, like having a free phone service, probably through VOIP. If you call this number, it is a disconnected landline phone number but it is used 12 hours a day by telemarketers to sell you time shares, which likely isn't legit.

  9. Art,

    Thank you for posting this on the BlogSpot. Your efforts and insight are appreciated.

    This has been happening to me far too often lately so, after searching on google for an answer, I came across your blog. You can be found on the first page of my google search "receiving calls from verizon disconnected number." Congrats on that!

    What I've concluded is what other contributors have indicated, disconnect numbers are being accessed, and robo-dialing working numbers.

    I've also blocked the numbers and so far, no further calls are coming through. I will have to check my account online to see if they numbers that have been calling still show up, even though I don't know it based on my actual phone.

    Nice work!

  10. I also have been searching for something on this issue. My calls all come from 815-206-####. Reverse phone shows Ameritech landline in Woodstock, IL. I get a different number every day. This is exactly why I kept my landline. I never answer unless I know the caller or worry about missed calls that didn't bother to leave a message.

  11. I recently have been getting calls from this #(210) 526-6679. When I call it back, it says that message "We're sorry; your call cannot be completed as dialed." I have since added the # to my reject list so I don't hear it ring but I get the call on my call log. Also, that # will leave a message & that person will say my name & nothing else. Any ideas?


    this is what I get when I look up the number you talk about. It is from a terrible company that has a thousand complaints with thousands of names and numbers all over the USA. LLC comm/CLEC/Peerless/Level 3 Comm/Global Crossing local Service/New Cingular Wireless/ 360 networks/.
    They have started harassing me everyday by calling my home phone and cell phone. I have been recording the dates, times and numbers of when they call. Luckily I have been able to block them on my cell but they have called me with 17 times and all with different numbers and locations.


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