Who is the mysterious goose egg caller and why is he/she calling me?
November 17, 2006 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Every day, precisely once a day, on my work phone, at around 9am Pacific Time, I get a phone call from a number identified as 000-000-0000. When I pick it up, there's nobody there and the line goes dead...

After a couple of days of this I just stopped answering (no message is left either).

Any thoughts as to what this is or how I can get it to stop?

(my initial thought was that it was some sort of telemarketing tracer trying to see if the line was active or not, but if that were the case presumably it would have ceased after I picked up the phone the first time)
posted by saladpants to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Interesting, something similar has been happening to me lately, except it's in the evening and the number is listed as Unknown, but otherwise, exact same thing.
posted by KirTakat at 9:12 AM on November 17, 2006

I had this happen to me once. Try forwarding it to the fax machine. It turned out to be fax spam.
posted by nomad at 9:19 AM on November 17, 2006

It's happened to me a couple times, in my case it was an autodialer for a telemarketing company. The 000-000-0000 number thing is weird though, usually *69ing the number and calling it will bring up a recorded message saying who the company is and how to get in touch with them.

Maybe calling the operator and explaining the situation will help you get in touch with the asshats?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:33 AM on November 17, 2006

*69 rarely works for those numbers. You'll get some message saying "The service you're trying to use is unable to reach that number" or some other useless error message.

It's either a)a creditor - they are slime and go to great lengths to hide & spoof caller ID. b)a telemarketer - equally slimy. c)fax spam. If the line goes dead when you answer it, it could be a fax machine that was expecting to be greeted with "beeeeep sssssshhhHHHHHHhrrrrooOOOwWWWWRR" instead of "Hello? hellOOOO??" - I get those kinds of calls once in a while

If you get any more, and the caller ID works, go to http://whocalled.us and check for the number
posted by drstein at 9:42 AM on November 17, 2006

If it's a cell phone you can just set a custom ring tone that is silent for that number. Not a perfect solution but it will let you sleep in.
posted by aubilenon at 9:48 AM on November 17, 2006

Aublienon: Skype doesn't know how to handle Caller ID (wtf? everyone else does!) so it transmits as either "Unknown" or 000-000-0000. Major pain when I call people who have caller ID screening services - usually, I have to record my name, then it gets sent through like a collect call would.

Anyway, point is, until Skype gets its act together, silencing all calls from unidentified numbers is a bad idea.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:39 AM on November 17, 2006

We have VoIP phones here at our office and when we get phone calls from our customers (where the call is coming from a multi-line or multi-extension facility) the caller ID data is almost always messed up.

We got numbers that are anywhere from zero to eleven digits, in any sequence or combination, no matter where the caller is from. In fact, whenever the FBI calls us to order something, their number shows up as 00000000000 (eleven zeros).

I'm not trying to say that the FBI is calling you. :) It could very well be a telemarketer or some fax machine. I'm just saying the crazy zeros are probably a result of the way your phone system interprets the data it is given. Maybe this call would show up as "Unknown" on your home caller ID because there is no data - and a bunch of zeros is just how your work phone system works with "Unknown" callers.
posted by youngergirl44 at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2006

I heard a story about something like this, and it turned out to be a river calling. No shit. The recipient had the phone company track down the number, and it turned out that there was a station established by a university to monitor river depth levels, and then the system was set up to upload its findings once a day at a particular time by an automated telephone call.

You guessed it - off by a digit.
posted by megatherium at 3:10 PM on November 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

Record the sound/tone you get when a line is no longer in service. Either put it on your voice mail first, before you say call back or play it on the phone when you answer before you say hello. If it is a computer dialing it will assume your number is toast and won't try again.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:03 PM on November 17, 2006

FWIW, when I interned at a federal court, the number showed up on my cellphone as 000-000-0000. So the FBI thing is plausible. More likely, the former occupant of your office signed up for automated calls about the cases on his docket, through some prehistoric version of PACER. Weirder things have happened. Just to be safe, lay off the crystal meth for a while.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 2:34 AM on November 18, 2006

JohnnyGunn is right. It is a good method to trick telemarketing auto dialers into thinking that the line is no longer in service and then it will remove you from their call list. Here is a link to more information and the tones.
posted by scooters.toad at 3:12 AM on November 20, 2006

What? JohnnyGunn is full of shit. That's exactly how that "TeleZapper" was supposed to work, and it's no longer effective at all. Telemarketing auti-dialers now ignore the 'out of service' tone entirely, rendering the TeleZapper and all forms of the 'out of service' tones useless.
posted by drstein at 1:31 PM on November 25, 2006

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