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#1
Old 06-05-2013, 06:26 PM
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Harassing calls from 'unavailable'. Verizon says 'tough shit'

So over the past 3 weeks, I've been getting anywhere from 5-10 calls a week from an 'unavailable' number on my cell. It sounds like it's a foreigner but they know my name and obviously my phone number. Every time I've answered, there's a lot of background noise of people talking and I can barely understand the caller. They usually say awkward English sentences like 'I want to lust you'. I always pretend I can't understand them and hang up. So today they called and said my name and that they want to 'fuck me'. I had enough and called Verizon and was like, I need to know where this number is coming from. The rep said there was no way. That if it was listed as unavailable on my phone, that's what they saw as well. I argued with him, saying that made no sense. That there had to be some way on their end to track what phone numbers are connecting with another. He insisted that I was wrong and refused to budge on that. I can't even block the number because there is NO number to block.

So what can I do? Was the guy at Verizon lying or misinformed? I know I could just ignore the calls but it's really creeping me out that they know my name.

Edit: Dammit, I meant to put this in IMHO

Last edited by AngelSoft; 06-05-2013 at 06:27 PM.
#2
Old 06-05-2013, 06:49 PM
The Central Scrutinizer
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This may or may not work depending on your service and the type of phone its coming from. But immediately after getting such a call dial *57 before dialing any other number. This puts a trace on the call. For the most part that trace can only be recovered by the police but they won't be able to get any information if you don't do that.

Did you ask if they can block any blocked numbers?
#3
Old 06-05-2013, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
This may or may not work depending on your service and the type of phone its coming from. But immediately after getting such a call dial *57 before dialing any other number. This puts a trace on the call. For the most part that trace can only be recovered by the police but they won't be able to get any information if you don't do that.

Did you ask if they can block any blocked numbers?
They can't block it because there's no number to block. He said they would only have 'unavailable' in their system as well. I asked him how this made any sense because if someone has a harassment case against another person, that person could just get an 'unavailable' phone number and verizon would say 'tough shit' to the person they're harassing? He said he can't comment on the legality of it.
#4
Old 06-05-2013, 06:59 PM
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Obscene phone callers are organized enough to work from call centres now?

I wonder whether it's a room of scammers, or whether someone at a legitimate call centre is playing around. If it's unauthorized activity from an above-ground place, maybe an investigation would get them kicked out.

Definitely try the *57 thing.
#5
Old 06-05-2013, 07:02 PM
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In order for the call to get to you, there has to be some sort of routing information, and that's what would be retrieved by the *57 trace. Though if you were unlucky, the trace would lead only to a gateway to some voice-over-Internet service.
#6
Old 06-05-2013, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelSoft View Post
So over the past 3 weeks, I've been getting anywhere from 5-10 calls a week from an 'unavailable' number on my cell. It sounds like it's a foreigner but they know my name and obviously my phone number. Every time I've answered, there's a lot of background noise of people talking and I can barely understand the caller. They usually say awkward English sentences like 'I want to lust you'. I always pretend I can't understand them and hang up. So today they called and said my name and that they want to 'fuck me'. I had enough and called Verizon and was like, I need to know where this number is coming from. The rep said there was no way. That if it was listed as unavailable on my phone, that's what they saw as well. I argued with him, saying that made no sense. That there had to be some way on their end to track what phone numbers are connecting with another. He insisted that I was wrong and refused to budge on that. I can't even block the number because there is NO number to block.

So what can I do? Was the guy at Verizon lying or misinformed? I know I could just ignore the calls but it's really creeping me out that they know my name.

Edit: Dammit, I meant to put this in IMHO
I have my phone set to send "Unavailable" numbers straight to voicemail. You could try that, or just not answer, and sooner or later they'll get bored. Also, Verizon *should* be able to block all "Unavailable" numbers from even reaching your voicemail, if it bothers you that much to even receive creepy VMs.
#7
Old 06-05-2013, 08:29 PM
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It's ridiculous that we can't do more to identify callers and their phone numbers. It would solve so many problems if we stopped letting people hide their numbers.

I have all my contacts on my phone assigned to groups and then I gave each group its own ringtone, so I know generally what a call is from. (You can assign a ringtone individually, too, of course.) Then set the phone's default ring to vibrate or maybe just a short beep. Anyone who's not already in your contact list can talk to the Voicemail Lady. Maybe you'll get back to them - maybe you won't. Your call.
#8
Old 06-05-2013, 08:50 PM
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Talk to the police. Seriously. If you're getting obscene or harassing calls, they can order the phone company to put a tap/trace on your line. Once that's in place, the next time you get a call from the jerk(s), you call the police, tell them it happened, and they get the records from Verizon.
#9
Old 06-05-2013, 09:02 PM
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The police were able to trace a "private" number for us after we made a complaint. Private citizens cannot compel disclosure, but the police can.
#10
Old 06-05-2013, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunditLisa View Post
The police were able to trace a "private" number for us after we made a complaint. Private citizens cannot compel disclosure, but the police can.
But private's not the same as unavailable I think. Private means they went through the phone company to have their number hidden right? Unavailable means, according to the guy at Verizon, even they don't know wth it is. And I think I'll try the *57 thing next time. I don't think going to the police is warranted yet. I'm guessing the phone calls are coming either from India or Japan. India, because I really pissed off a guy at a call center like a month ago. Or Japan cause I can see my ex bitching about me to some friend and giving him my phone number. Either way, it's not fun.
#11
Old 06-05-2013, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelSoft View Post
But private's not the same as unavailable I think.
It's not. Anyone can make their number appear as "private" by dialing *67 before the number they are dialing. "Unavailable" is something else entirely.
#12
Old 06-05-2013, 09:19 PM
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I would suspect what you are being told is for consumer level consumption. If the issue was national security I'm pretty sure they could pin down the source.
#13
Old 06-05-2013, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
I would suspect what you are being told is for consumer level consumption. If the issue was national security I'm pretty sure they could pin down the source.
There are various levels of call identification. Caller ID is the retail level, sandbox version. Any business can get phone service with ANI, Automatic Number Identification, which is to Caller ID like a toy shovel is to a bulldozer.

It's possible - but unlikely - that calls could be made into Verizon's network without the source number being indentified, especially from overseas. I'd push the matter to as high a level in their tech/security pantheon as you can go. Look up big names high in the tree and call them directly.
#14
Old 06-05-2013, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelSoft View Post
But private's not the same as unavailable I think. Private means they went through the phone company to have their number hidden right? Unavailable means, according to the guy at Verizon, even they don't know wth it is. And I think I'll try the *57 thing next time. I don't think going to the police is warranted yet. I'm guessing the phone calls are coming either from India or Japan. India, because I really pissed off a guy at a call center like a month ago. Or Japan cause I can see my ex bitching about me to some friend and giving him my phone number. Either way, it's not fun.
Call you local phone company and ask them what THEY NEED in order to trace/trap a harassing phone-caller. You'll probably need to report these calls to the police if you expect the phone companies to help you find the caller. You, or your lawyer, will need to refer to a police report number when requesting a trace. You may even need a court order to insure cooperation.

TPC's won't hand over information just because you asked them to, no matter how compelling your story may be. Nothing personal, but they don't know if you're telling the truth or just making up a story.
#15
Old 06-05-2013, 10:01 PM
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Moved MPSIMS --> IMHO at OP's request.
#16
Old 06-06-2013, 01:10 AM
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Call the police. In the mean time log every call
#17
Old 06-06-2013, 12:16 PM
The Central Scrutinizer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelSoft View Post
They can't block it because there's no number to block. He said they would only have 'unavailable' in their system as well. I asked him how this made any sense because if someone has a harassment case against another person, that person could just get an 'unavailable' phone number and verizon would say 'tough shit' to the person they're harassing? He said he can't comment on the legality of it.
They might not be able to block that one number but they can make it so you do not take calls from any number that is blocked or unavailable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgyn View Post
Talk to the police. Seriously. If you're getting obscene or harassing calls, they can order the phone company to put a tap/trace on your line. Once that's in place, the next time you get a call from the jerk(s), you call the police, tell them it happened, and they get the records from Verizon.
Not really. If the *57 thing doesn't work anything my fellow officers can do probably won't work. There are a lot of spoofing apps and VOIP programs you can use to hide your location. And its getting harder everyday. It really depends on how smart the other guy is and how far he went to hide.
#18
Old 06-06-2013, 12:53 PM
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Call them again and pretend to be the government and they'll just hand it all over.
#19
Old 06-06-2013, 01:03 PM
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A friend of mine had the same problem, calls day and night, Verizon was no help. Very frustrating. What finally solved it was paying $5 per month for some sort of Verizon call blocking service that blocked anonymous calls. I think it's called Anonymous Call Rejection or Usage Controls. So yes they won't fix the problem unless you pay them monthly to fix it. Ridiculous. You might be able to cancel the call blocking after a few months, hopefully the caller/machine/whatever will have given up by then.
#20
Old 06-06-2013, 02:56 PM
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It brings its own problems, but if there is really no solution besides paying Verizon more money, I'd change my number.
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