Who calls me at the same time everyday?
December 5, 2005 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Who keeps calling me at the same time everyday?

Each business day between 11AM and 1PM I get a call from an "Unknown Caller". I pick up and say "Hello" and hear nothing. No pre-recorded message, no telemarketer...just empty nothingness. What is this and how can I stop it?
posted by JPigford to Technology (16 answers total)
Same thing happens to my wife!
posted by Pollomacho at 10:24 AM on December 5, 2005

Call your phone service provider and tell them about the problem. We had this issue with fax machines consistently calling our voice number at my last work and the phone company offered to help us to find ways to block these calls. I don't quite recall what the outcome was, but it's worth giving them a ring.
posted by fishfucker at 10:27 AM on December 5, 2005

I had this happen to me daily for about a month straight. I'd get a call from a number somewhere in Florida, I'd answer and there'd be nothing but silence for about 30 seconds. Finally, the other end would automatically disconnect. When I called the number back, it would just disconnect after ringing once or twice.

After about a month of this, something on the other end changed - all of a sudden I got a rea live telemarketer. The NY Times was trying to get me to upgrade my weekend-only subscription to an every-day subscription. I told them to go to hell, and cancelled my account. That was at least the third time I've told them that I'm not interested in upgrading, and to remove my name from their lists.
posted by skwm at 10:29 AM on December 5, 2005

I remember reading [disclaimer: this thus may be more urban legend than truth, but it sounds reasonable to me] that the telemarketers' computer makes the phonecall in advance. If, when you pick up the phone, all the telemarketers are busy with other calls (meaning, I guess, that the other calls are running statistically longer than usual), you hear silence and the computer records that indeed someone was available to pick up the phone at that time. Then the computer makes sure you get a call at around the same time the following day.
posted by nobody at 10:43 AM on December 5, 2005

nobody nails it. (nobody the poster, rather then the existential nobody) I used to work at a phonecenter/telemarkter. (it sucked). We'd sometimes get calls and people would tell us they'd waited for several seconds, or they'd been getting calls where no one picked up, etc. As we got to the end of the list, we'd end up calling the same hundred or so numbers over and over again and irritate the hell out of them. We were also not allowed to take people off the list unless they said specifically "take me off the list". If they just said "don't call me again" we'd have to code them as callback.

Another thing is that supposedly telemarketers will call and try to figure out when you're home to pick up the phone.


The simplest thing to for you to do is to call your phone company and ask them not to allow blocked/unknown numbers.

You might be able to get them to trace who it is and block them.
posted by delmoi at 10:50 AM on December 5, 2005

Turn on anonymous call rejection, usually *77, but could vary depending on your location. Though this won't necessarily work in all instances.

And skwm, I don't know how literal you're being with telling them to "go to hell," but the guy that's calling you? Yeah, he likes calling you about as much as you like him calling you. He's just trying to make some money, not unlike all the rest of us who go to our shitty jobs and do shitty shit until we come back to our shitty apartment/homes and watch shitty TV. Try talking to him like he's a person, and maybe if you tell him in a composed manner that you keep getting these calls after being asked to be taken off the list, if there is anything he can do about helping you get the calls to stop, and if not, maybe asking a supervisor to look into it.

Then again, for all we know, maybe they put your name on the "screaming yokel" list in the break room and just call you for the hell of it.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 10:55 AM on December 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

predictive dialer
posted by Rhomboid at 10:56 AM on December 5, 2005

I had a problem with annoying hangup calls, worst thing was they would fill up the answering machine with dead air.

I ultimately had to file a police report to have it tracked down.

It turned out to be a guy in an office with a dialup modem, who had programmed the outgoing telephone number to play "Mary Had A Little Lamb", which just happened to start with my number.

Everytime someone walked into his cubicle he had to play it again.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:58 AM on December 5, 2005

Same thing happens to my wife!

As funny as that was, it was noise, macho chicken ;)

I also suggest looking into what call-blocking options you have available to you. Also, if you haven't already, put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry.
posted by terrapin at 10:59 AM on December 5, 2005

(eagerly awaiting the poster who links to every one of the "how do I get the fax machine to stop calling" AskMe posts -- there have been like a million of them. but I am too lazy. sorry.)
yes i know this is different, but if you need some ideas, those posts are out there
posted by misterbrandt at 11:32 AM on December 5, 2005

Yeah, he likes calling you about as much as you like him calling you.

What if we're not rude, but we just play with you? Like the time I affected an Australian accent with the guy selling identity theft insurance for my credit card, and refused to understand that identity theft didn't mean someone was going to try to steal my face? Do you guys enjoy that?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:41 AM on December 5, 2005

There's also the remote possibilty it's some kind of calling system. My uncle was getting called by an automated oil heating furnace that thought he was the oil company. Since he doesn't speak furnace it took a month to figure out what was going on.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:35 PM on December 5, 2005

I had this problem at the start of last year. To make matters worse, they were calling me about two hours before my alarm clock went off and I just about went nuts after not sleeping properly for three weeks. My solution was to get a cell phone and unplug the landline for a couple of weeks until the caller (whether it was human or robotic) gave up.

(A few weeks after that, I got a call at the same time on a Saturday and kind of freaked out at the caller. I'm not sure if it was the same people, but who calls early on a Saturday trying to sell you stuff?)

If you aren't on the "do not call" list, that can help in the future, but can take something like three months to propagate to all the telemarketers.
posted by clarahamster at 2:10 PM on December 5, 2005

I had a similar problem at my previous job, but it happened about every two weeks or so. Since it was infrequent and unpredictable, it was hard to pin to anything. Eventually I got the idea to forward the call the the fax machine and it turns out that an automated system was trying to spam me. Once I recieved the fax, it never called back...

...until tonight. Tonight is the 3 month anniversary of that fateful call. I've had the police trace it and it's coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE.

One of the above paragraphs is true.
posted by nomad at 8:24 PM on December 5, 2005

I noticed that when telemarketers would call me--which has pretty much stopped since I signed up for do-not-call-- I couldn't disconnect until they did, which would tie up my line if I didn't have call waiting (and I refuse to have it unless my building's intercom is through the phone line; I don't like first come, last served). WTF is up with that?
posted by brujita at 11:00 PM on December 5, 2005

PinkStainlessTail: That made my night. How'd the telemarketer respond?

Holy crap nomad. Who was it?!

I've heard rumors that if you start hitting random numbers on your keypad, the automated callers get confused by the tones. Can anyone validate this?
posted by spiderskull at 12:38 AM on December 6, 2005

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