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Author Topic: Annoying phone calls
Michelle
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posted 11 May 2005 12:58 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I got a call last night/this morning waking me up around 12:45 a.m. from some guy. Here's how the
conversation went:

Me: Hello?
Him: Hi, who's this?
Me: What? Who are you?
Him: Steve Papadopoulos...
Me: Who are you trying to reach? I think you must have the wrong number.
Him: Well, nobody in particular, actually, I was just calling random numbers, and, well, I...
Me: I see.
Him: So how are you? What's your name?
Me: Well, I just woke up, because your phone call just woke me up. And I have to work tomorrow, so I'm going to go.
Him: Oh, I'm sorry. I'm really sorry for waking you. I didn't...
Me: That's okay. I'm going to go now.
Him: (still apologizing and talking)
Me: Bye. I'm hanging up now.
Him: (talking)
Me: (hanging up)

Okay, so this one I could sort of laugh about. But I've been getting other stranger calls, and a couple of threatening ones from people who seem to think I'm lying when I tell them they've got the wrong number when they ask for so-and-so. I'm starting to wonder who on earth had my phone number before me.

The odd thing is, I've been getting an increase in them lately, but my phone number has been the same for well over a year. Odd.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Agent 204
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posted 11 May 2005 01:05 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
More than a year after I got my number, I was still having messages left on my answering machine for someone who had the number before. These included one collection agency that I had to call back several times before they stopped calling.

More recently, I've been getting a bunch of calls from recordings saying that I've been selected for some cheap vacation or the like, saying to call back at some number if I'm interested. Why they do this is anyone's guess; I suppose it must work, though, or they wouldn't be doing it.


From: home of the Guess Who | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
No Yards
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posted 11 May 2005 01:11 PM      Profile for No Yards   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My home phone used to be owned by a hoser bar that still operates in the Shurbourne / Queen area ... I used to waste my time convince drunken idiots and abused wives that I knew not the location of their lost wallets or husbands ... if they were particularly obnocious I'd invite them down to the bar to try and puch my face in, or inform them that a guy fitting your husbands description just asked me for change for a twenty and then left with some toothless scank ... now I just shut my phone off at night. I have five or six messages a week on my answering machine of people who called and were obviously too drunk or confused to speak.
From: Defending traditional marriage since June 28, 2005 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 11 May 2005 01:11 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hmmmn. Could it be that graffiti I saw on Bloor Street a few weeks back that read, "For a good time, call ..."

Just kidding, Michelle. Sorry this is happening to you. I regard all phone calls as annoying -- I find the phone alarming -- but that's just me, I guess.

Things like this have happened to me occasionally, and I've wondered whether I was being watched or something. But then it would all stop.

Once, during the years I was teaching, I was definitely being targeted for a while, calls coming in about 5 a.m. on Sunday mornings, heavy breathing, that sort of thing. Teachers get a fair amount of that. For those, I considered the dog-whistle cure, but I never did it. (Does anyone know whether that works?) Again, those eventually stopped on their own as well.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
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posted 11 May 2005 01:15 PM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Dog whistle? How 'bout a regular whistle?
From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
dgrollins
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posted 11 May 2005 01:16 PM      Profile for dgrollins   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is a story of giving, rather than receiving.

A couple of years ago I was provided with a phone number of a potential source for a story. I called the number, asked for the individual I was looking for and was told that I had the wrong number. I went to check the number, but they hung up before I could ask.

Fine.

So, I tried the number again. Once again, wrong number...this time though the individual started to swear at me and accused me of harassing them.

I explained that I was just trying to reach someone and that I wasn't "harassing" them.

They swore some more, told me that they had my number and was going to call the police.

They then yelled "Don't F%$#en call here again if you know what is good for you," and hung up.

Bizarre. I guess maybe they were having a rough day.


From: Toronto | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 11 May 2005 01:21 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But dgr, why would you keep calling? If you called twice and confirmed that you had the wrong number, what more would you expect people on the other end to give you?
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 11 May 2005 01:26 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, sorry, dgr. On first reading, I thought you said you'd called back a third time -- my bad.
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Michelle
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posted 11 May 2005 01:26 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
He didn't. He called the first time, and before he could check the number with them, he hung up. So he tried the number again in case he had misdialed the first time, and the person who answered the second time started swearing at him.

Hee. I wrote this while you were writing your second post, skdadl.

[ 11 May 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 11 May 2005 01:27 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
We have a phone number that's only a digit or two off from the Toronto Dominion bank. We get a fair number of people dialing the wrong number — enought that Mrs. Magoo has memorized the right one and will tell it to them — but our favourites are the fools that promptly call us right back. How stupid do you have to be to dial exactly the same (wrong) number you just dialled?

The funny thing is the number of people who hear our answering message ("Hi, this is Mr. Magoo and Mrs. Magoo. We're not in right now, but if you leave your name and number....") and then proceed to leave us confidential banking information. I'm always tempted to phone them up, point out to them that our answering message is very, very clearly not a bank, and then tell them that their confidential information is now on my blog for all the world to see.

quote:
and a couple of threatening ones from people who seem to think I'm lying when I tell them they've got the wrong number when they ask for so-and-so.

If someone insists they have the right number, just tell them one of the following:

"Didn't you hear about Bob? Oh it was so... so... I can't speak now (fake tears, hang up)"

"Yes, Cathy's here, but she's a little drunk."

"Jim is a little indisposed right now. Actually he's had massive diarrhea all day."

"Yes, I'll see. (pause, hand over mouthpiece) Uh, Mary says she's really pissed at you and really doesn't care to talk with you" (if asked:"She says you know damn well why, and if you keep pretending you don't then you shouldn't ever call her again!"


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 May 2005 01:53 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Nah, it's not like that when I say threatening.

I got another call within the last few weeks, also in the middle of the night, that left me a bit shaken since I had just been woken up.

Me: Hello?
Her: Who's this? (why do people always start out this way!?)
Me: I'm sorry? (still half-awake)
Her: Who is this?
Me: Um, you're calling me. And I don't recognize you, so I think you have the wrong number.
Her: I DON'T have the wrong number. Is this so-and-so?
Me: No. There's no one by that name here.
Her: You fuckin' liar. It's you, isn't this?
Me: Who is this?
Her: You know fuckin' well who this is. Why didn't you answer the door when I knocked last time?
(At this point I was a little nervous because I HAD ignored someone at my door a little earlier in the evening - I wasn't expecting anyone, and I didn't recognize the voices of the people who were talking in the hallway, and since I have neighbours who fight in the hallway, I wasn't about to answer it.)
Me: You have the wrong number, so it wasn't my door you were knocking at. I'm going to go now.
Her: I'm coming over right now. You better fucking open the door or else you're dead meat.
Me: Yeah. Whatever. You have the wrong number.

That's probably the most threatening one I've had. And then, totally illogically, I was lying awake with my heart pounding, just listening, because a few minutes later there were people in the hallway, but it was just my noisy neighbours again (thank god I'm moving at the end of June). And I thought I heard a woman with the same voice as on the phone, but then I thought - ridiculous! There's no way that someone who doesn't even know my name would be able to find my number, and I've never heard this person before in my life.

But it took me a few minutes to come to that sensible conclusion since this whole thing happened in a matter of a minute or two straight out of a dead sleep.

For a week or two, I also had a 6 year-old leaving messages for "Robert" and refusing to believe that she had the wrong number, even when I told her that she did. Eventually it escalated to her leaving obscene messages on my voicemail, which was rather funny, but still got on my nerves a bit. Strange to hear a little kid's voice saying, "stupid ass!" My parents would've wrung my neck if I'd said stuff like that on the phone when I was 6!

Anyhow, the reason I know that the kid was six is because I saved the voicemails, then recorded them on tape, called back the number (which of course she hadn't blocked), and then played the messages for her parents. They apologized and said she was only six, and I told them that was okay, everyone does silly stuff when they're kids. I made light of the whole thing when I heard the kid crying in the background because I didn't want them to be too hard on her - I told them I just wanted to let them know, and that there was really no harm done. It didn't occur to me until the middle of the phone call that, for all I knew, maybe the kid comes from an abusive home or something, and the parents sounded pretty peeved. But I figured it would be better to tell the parents rather than reporting the calls when it's just a little kid.

[ 11 May 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Alix
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posted 11 May 2005 02:01 PM      Profile for Alix     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For a while, my parents used to get lots of calls from guys looking for "Sally Something-or-other" - turns out she'd randomly picked our number to hand out in bars to guys she didn't want to hear from again.

And there were a lot of them. You got used to saying "No, no one named Sally's here. No, that's the number you dialed, but it's not her number."

Eventually my mother ran into the actual person and told her to quit it. Thankfully, she did.


From: Kingston | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 11 May 2005 02:15 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
When the gawdawful song "867-5309 (Jenny)" was popular, there was a news story about an elderly couple in Thunder Bay who were so inundated with phone calls (which, at first, puzzled them beyond belief) that they had to change their number.

My worst wrong number experience happened because our old phone number was similar (two digits transposed) to the non-emergency number for the hospital. When I told the middle-of-the-night caller that they had the wrong number, they told me it would be my fault if the injured person died. I finally asked them if they had ever heard of 911? I sure hope that whoever had the phone number 119 didn't get bothered too much that night.


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 11 May 2005 04:23 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
At least we're safe from calls like this (and so are our children)

quote:
Channel 11 News Defenders exposed a Houston Army recruiter threatening to arrest a local young man if he didn't report that day to the army recruiting station.

Sgt. Thomas Kelt left this message on that young man's cell phone: "Hey Chris, this is Sgt. Kelt with the Army man. I think we got disconnected. Okay, I know you were on your cell probably and just had a bad connection or something like that. I know you didn't hang up on me. Anyway, by federal law you got an appointment with me at 2 o'clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall, okay? That's the Greenspoint Mall Army Recruiting Station at 2 o'clock. You fail to appear and we'll have a warrant. Okay? So give me a call back."


The kid had not yet enlisted, just shown interest.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 11 May 2005 04:27 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
jeff house, relative to that, and perhaps more ammunition for you, see this thread.
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Agent 204
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posted 11 May 2005 04:43 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:

That's probably the most threatening one I've had. And then, totally illogically, I was lying awake with my heart pounding, just listening, because a few minutes later there were people in the hallway, but it was just my noisy neighbours again (thank god I'm moving at the end of June). And I thought I heard a woman with the same voice as on the phone, but then I thought - ridiculous! There's no way that someone who doesn't even know my name would be able to find my number, and I've never heard this person before in my life.


Don't be so sure of that actually. Have you ever checked out sites like this one? If you're using Bell (or MTS, or whatever the "default" phone company in your province is), and your number isn't unlisted, anyone can punch in your address and find out your name and phone number. There are also sites that allow you to search by phone number. Interestingly, my info used to show up at these sites, but doesn't anymore because I switched to Sprint a while back for my local service.

My mum always taught me, when someone calls with a wrong number, to say "What number were you calling?" That helps the caller, because they know whether they've misdialled, or dialled correctly from an incorrect listing. In the case you describe, it might have caught the caller off guard, but who knows.


From: home of the Guess Who | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 11 May 2005 04:57 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, Agent, that's what I normally do too. It amazes me that so many people do what Michelle's caller did -- ask her what her number is, or who she is -- but I just ignore their questions and ask that one. What number were you calling?

When I hear an error, I just say, "Ah, then you have misdialled." I don't tell them what my number is.

If they say my number, though, I say, "Well, you've been given the wrong number."

I try not to be rude, but I hang up fast.

[ 11 May 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


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Sharon
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posted 11 May 2005 05:15 PM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Several months ago, for a few weeks we kept getting calls in the middle of the night from some fella who was calling his home number to retrieve his messages. He often seemed to be in a noisy location -- a bar, perhaps? -- and when Dan answered our phone, this guy would be really annoyed with Dan. He would respond with a "what are you doin' there?" kind of attitude.

After it happened a few times, he would recognize Dan's voice and he'd say, "Uh... sorry. Wrong number." And hang up really quickly.

But this was three o'clock in the morning and it happened maybe 10 times!


From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
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posted 11 May 2005 05:17 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd have been tempted to say "what am I doing here? Robbing the place thats what!"
From: n/a | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sharon
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posted 11 May 2005 05:26 PM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's funny that one is not at one's sharpest and wittiest when awakened out of a deep sleep at 3 a.m. But I agree, it's a good response.
From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
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posted 11 May 2005 08:02 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
When I lived in Toronto one of the brokerage services was given a 24 hour hotline that differed by one digit from my home number. After a couple of weeks of phone calls at all hours of the day and night [guys coming out of the bar at last call and trying to find out the closing price of something on the west coast or early morning calls from people trying to get opening prices for London, the Bourse, whatever] I started providing one of two answers, somewhat at random.

First - "Thank you for calling XYZ. All our operators are busy, please hold." At this point I wandered off for a minumum of ten minutes. Sometimes I'd come back with the same line. [Best I ever did was have someone on hold for 20 minutes.] At that point I'd come back and say "Thank you for holding. According to all of our staff, stock brokers are retarded since they'll hold a long number for this long. Have a pleasant day."

Second (worked best on the drunks late at night) - "Thank you for calling XYZ. Due to the terrorist bombing of ... we have been asked not to provide any quotations at this time." Then hang up.

On a related note, on the question of dog whistles. Be thankful that's all it is. I've seen much worse.


From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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posted 11 May 2005 09:43 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
When I was young, I overheard my dad irritated at being interrupted in the middle of a chess game by a chronic caller for a wrong number, who asked for Joyce or whoever. I heard him say "She's upstairs with a customer, call back in half an hour." When I told my mother, she didn't think it was funny. I never heard my dad use that one again. Still, if you're pressed . . .
From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
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posted 11 May 2005 09:57 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Seven or eight years ago I moved and got a new phone number. The person who had previously had it was named Dave Whatsit and apparently he did not tell anyone the change, so I had all sorts of callers asking for him. For a while I left a message on my answering machine that "Dave Whatsit is not at this number" until my mother told me it was irritating her. I stil get a call for him once or twice a year, and I tell the callers they must have a really old phone list.
From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged

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