Why does my phone ring when people call an entirely different number?
April 24, 2008 7:29 PM   Subscribe

All day since 2:00 AM this morning, I've been getting phone calls on my cell phone who didn't dial my number. Please help.

All day since 2:00 AM this morning, I've been getting weird phone calls on my cell phone. I thought that the first 9 calls were due to drunk dialing because they happened within 2:07 to 2:21 AM, but it has since become quite bizarre. So far, I've received 21 calls from 14 different phone numbers. I haven't been able to answer the phone every time that it has rung because I was at work. However, I have answered the phone a few times and all of the people who called said they had dialed numbers that are not my phone number. A co-worker called back a few of the others, who also said that they had dialed a different number or had not called anyone at all. Needless to say, this is completely bizarre.

I called AT&T, my provider, and the guy on the phone basically said that he had no idea what was going on. He thought that *maybe* it was because the phone number has been used twice before, but he agreed that it was probably not the answer since I've never received any calls like this until today even though I've had the phone for a month, and also because the people were dialing different numbers. The volume of calls makes it an unlikely answer, too. He said that it would be possible to switch phone numbers, but I would like to find out what is going on and how to stop it if possible. Similarly, paying $5 per month to block the numbers probably isn't the answer, because completely new numbers keep cropping up.

If it matters: I have a non-jailbroken iPhone.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. I'd love to be able to sleep through the entire night tonight without any weird calls.
posted by Trinkers to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This happened to me a couple weeks ago. One of my co-worker's young kids was playing with his cell phone. The kid pushed random buttons, turned call forwarding on, and since my name starts with an A it was at the top of his phonebook and forwarding was set to my number.

May not be what's happening to you because of the volume of calls, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
posted by andrewdunn at 7:38 PM on April 24, 2008

Ask for someone higher up that than rep. Obviously there is a problem and the phone company will best solve it.

Did you ask the callers what number they DID dial? If they were all different numbers it's not forwarding but it is possible that it was if it's one number.
posted by jesirose at 7:51 PM on April 24, 2008

Same thing happened to me. Dude was throwing/going to a party and forwarded his number to my cell phone by accident instead of his friend's. I got about 8 calls in 15 minutes before I called the number that they had intended to forward the phone to and told the guy to turn it off.

You don't say who they're asking for. Is it always the same person? Do they all give the same number as what they called?

It will probably go away when whoever has their phone forwarded figures it out. In the meantime, can you not just turn your phone off?
posted by ODiV at 7:52 PM on April 24, 2008

Response by poster: The people I've talked to have been dialing different phone numbers, so I don't think it's some person's friends calling that person. I'll start writing down the phone numbers they give me, though, for more thorough record-keeping.
posted by Trinkers at 8:04 PM on April 24, 2008

I had the same problem a few years back with sprint-- strangers calling people in their phone books but getting me. Apparently something was wrong with the towers (they never explained what) but the problem was fixed later that day, and that was the end of it for me. I'd turn the phone on silent and wait a bit; if you're still getting the random calls a few hours later I'd call them back up and ask again about a problem. Who knows-- you might have been the first person to alert them of the problem earlier. If they still don't know about a problem, ask to speak with a supervisor.

Good luck!
posted by veryhappyheidi at 8:15 PM on April 24, 2008

Best answer: Most likely there is a company that publishes multiple numbers that are all supposed to route into queue. This phone queue is supposed to go to a telemarketing group or something. This queue is messed up and is forwarding to your phone number. Alternatively your cell carriers switch is messed up and routing calls to your cell that should be going elsewhere.

I would start by asking who they were actually trying to reach. It may be a phone sex number so don't be surprised if people aren't honest with you. If you can't find out talk to your cell provider. I've dealt with this situation for business accounts and we usually need to open a pretty high level network troubleshooting ticket. Call your cell carrier's customer care and ask them to transfer you to tech support. Keep pressing for a resolution.
posted by Octoparrot at 9:40 PM on April 24, 2008

Best answer: What veryhappyheidi said is somewhat possible although it's in the switching system and not the cell towers. A ticket needs to be opened with their network repair group which is well above the means of your front line customer care rep.
posted by Octoparrot at 9:41 PM on April 24, 2008

good luck getting it fixed. We had a sort of similar problem a few years ago, except that everytime i called my husband when he was out of the area code, i got a mary kay lady. It was pretty obvious the first few times I called At&t they thought he was having an affair and forwarded his phone to her. It took nearly four months and hours of time on the phone with them for them to figure out that a routing number of some sort on her phone that was the same as his phone number. It got so bad she took messages for him and called me with them.

Keep pressing for a resolution is imperative. After i told them i was pretty sure my husband wasn't stupid enough to forward his phone to his girlfriend, they used every tower, router, switch excuse in the book and told us we should just change the phone number we had for 6 years. You will eventually get someone who knows what they are doing and get it fixed.
posted by domino at 6:49 AM on April 25, 2008

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