What is going on with this phone?
April 18, 2018 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, I called my father-in-law several time about something boring and unimportant, and everything is fine. I also sent him one text message. Today, I got a response to this text from someone who is not him who is wondering why I am texting him. This new text from the mystery person is in the same text thread as years of conversation with my father-in-law. What on earth is going on? I have no reason whatsoever to believe he would have changed his number.

The only other relevant tidbit of information is that the messages are now showing up on my end SMS green instead of iMessage blue.

Thanks for your help.
posted by 4ster to Technology (12 answers total)
What phone number did you call and what phone number did you text? Do they match? (I don't know exactly how to check details on what phone # was texted on iPhone, but there's probably some way to long press and get message details or something like that).
posted by brainmouse at 10:30 AM on April 18, 2018

Yes. The numbers match. What is weirdest is that my wife called the number and got her dad.
posted by 4ster at 10:35 AM on April 18, 2018

Is it possible someone else in your father-in-law's household is playing a prank on you? That's something that my ex-brother-in-law would have done, as he and I detested each other with a pure blue flame of loathing.
posted by holborne at 10:45 AM on April 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Have you called or texted your FIL from that same phone since the new person replied? Have you been able to call or text other people with no such problems? Can other people call or text you as usual? Have you turned off your phone and turned it back on again?

It might have just been a random crossed wire somewhere that will uncross on its own.
posted by Etrigan at 10:49 AM on April 18, 2018

I am also prone to think it's a one-time event, but you might check if he switched from Apple to Android, since you mention it was blue and now it's green. This problem seems like it would be happening the other way around, but anything's possible:

posted by randomkeystrike at 11:22 AM on April 18, 2018

years ago we had a weird thing where if my husband was in another area code and anyone in our regular area code called or texted him, we got a woman. Happened enough she would call me with messages for him and was so weird that when i called the carrier to try to figure out what was happening I could tell that they thought my husband was screwing around on me and it was his girlfriend answering the phone.

Turned out some number on her sim card was the same as his phone number or some weird thing and when he crossed over to a certain tower, something got switched. I can't remember the exact details, but once someone at AT&T figured it out we got it stopped. so, strange things happen.
posted by domino at 11:48 AM on April 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hi everyone. Thanks for your help. I am starting to think it is a one time event, too. I'll just delete the thread and ask him to text me again from his end.

Also, I know he did not switch to Android.
posted by 4ster at 11:48 AM on April 18, 2018

Check the contact info and see if another phone number or email address got saved in it.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2018

Do you have the area code saved as part of the phone number in contacts? It's possible that without that area code, the signal was routed to someone with the same 7 digit phone number but a different area code. With the large number of people who keep cell numbers after moving to different areas, it could be where the tower routed the message incorrectly.
posted by MultiFaceted at 3:05 PM on April 18, 2018

Depending on the area code, it may also be an unexpected international text. Several years ago, when I called my mom's work phone (202 area code) from my cell, I'd sometimes get a disgruntled man who couldn't speak English. It happened a few times.... come to find out that the country code for Egypt is +20, and the extra 2 will get you Cairo. I wasn't dialing 011 first, just hitting "Mom" in my contacts list, but somehow my phone was being tricky as a Sphinx.
posted by basalganglia at 5:11 PM on April 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have a friend here in the UK who has this problem. There's another guy - Ron from Cambridge - who has the exact same number as her. Every so often my calls and texts go to him instead of her, other friends occasionally have this problem when contacting her too. It happens a few times a year and phone companies have not been able to elucidate or help.
posted by stevedawg at 11:29 PM on April 18, 2018

So all this time later, I figured it out. Five years ago, my mother-in-law died. I had both her cell number and my father-in-law's number in one contact, and someone new has apparently gotten my mother-in-law's old number.

Thanks, everyone, for your help.
posted by 4ster at 2:58 AM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

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