help me solve a small mystery
February 1, 2012 7:24 PM   Subscribe

unknown texter who knows my name?

i got a text message yesterday that simply said ____ (my name) with a question mark. i responded: who is this?

...and then never heard anything back. cause for alarm? it creeps me out a little bit that the person couldn't/didn't even explain how they knew me or why they were texting.

i only give out my number to close friends and family, so i'm honestly not sure who it could be who is not already in my address book... and the area code for the number is definitely from the same city as mine.

anyone have a similar experience?
posted by happyjuice to Human Relations (12 answers total)
Have you tried Googling the number or plugging it into Facebook?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:25 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

People get new phone numbers a lot and then they import their old phone book and it doesn't occur to them that you don't know who they are. With our new caller ID culture suddenly the need to identify oneself when contacting someone has been forgotten to some extent. I had a similar experience and it was just an old friend I hadn't heard from in a while who had gotten a new phone and didn't realize I didn't have their new number.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:32 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's probably a friend who got a new phone with a new number and doesn't fully know how to use it yet. That would be my guess.
posted by bquarters at 7:32 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's probably someone you know messing with you. It's also probably a Google Voice number or any one of a million services that you can spoof a number with.

I wouldn't worry about it unless things actually start to get scary.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 7:32 PM on February 1, 2012

As for not getting back to you, I would just wait and see. Some people also are not very good about responding to communications. In the case I referenced above, it took me like a month to figure out which friend had sent me the message because they never responded to my "who is this?", eventually I saw them and they just mentioned texting me.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:33 PM on February 1, 2012

Did you call then back and listen to the voicemail? Try slydial if you don't want to talk to them- slydial takes you directly to their voicemail.
posted by lovelygirl at 7:34 PM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

This happens to me a lot, since I got a new phone a month ago. I got a message a few weeks ago that said "We're having a boy!". I was really tempted to write back "But I wanted a girl!"

But, yeah, about 50% of the time when I ask who it is, I don't get a response. It's nothing to worry about. In all likelihood, the person realized that they had the wrong number.
posted by oxfordcomma at 7:34 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

If your mystery texter is like me they probably found a piece of paper with a phone number on it and are trying to figure out if it's you or not - and probably think it's not you and don't want to bother whoever it is any more.

Collection agencies and the Nazg├╗l aren't going to send you a "Bob?" text. They're just going to harass and/or come for you in the night.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:34 PM on February 1, 2012 [9 favorites]

Someone keeps texting me to ask who I am and how my number ended up in their phone. Since I have no idea who they are or how my number ended up in their phone, I just ignore it.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:26 PM on February 1, 2012

Is it possible that someone else who previously had your phone number shares your first name? I have not encountered this in texting, but at least once I was calling a coworker named John but misdialed and found myself talking to some stranger named John.

We carried on a strange conversation about an upcoming staff meeting that I let him know he should be at, but he had no idea what it was about. After twenty seconds or so of bafflement and frustration we sorted it out, but lacking voices to recognize and with the much slower back-and-forth of texts, I am certain that other similar surreal conversations happen all the time these days.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:01 AM on February 2, 2012

Last time something like that happened to me, it turned out to be a friend of a friend. It happened when our mutual acquaintance sent a text and cc'd half a dozen people. When we each replied, our replies were sent to the group as well, and confusion ensued. Those not in my phone already just showed up as numbers I didn't recognize. I'm still not sure exactly how that happened; she has an iPhone, I do not. I just assumed it was an iPhone auto-reply-all feature she'd toggled that made it happen the way it did.
posted by heyho at 7:58 AM on February 2, 2012

I did exactly what you said a week ago after learning that a friend had a new phone and posted to social media that she wanted her friends' numbers again. I just texted her name and a question mark, as I've sometimes texted people in a cheeky manner only to find out some grumbly dude now owns their phone number and wasn't as easily amused as the numbers' previous owner...
posted by kuppajava at 8:17 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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