One of the most frequently asked questions at this site comes from individuals who receive calls from phone numbers like these: (720) 587-9978 and (404) 461-9978.
Numbers reported include:
(You'll notice most of these phone numbers end in -9978)
These numbers show up on caller ID boxes, often to the bewilderment of the person receiving the call. Not only is the number unrecognized, but so is the area code.
First of all, part of the mystery can be solved by simply calling the number that shows up on your CallerID. I did this, and recorded the message. Click here to listen
(225k .mp3 file). A recorded message says and repeats:
You are returning a call to a pre-paid calling service system, and the party that called you can not be reached at this number.
These phone numbers belong to AT&T, and are assigned to pre-paid calling cards sold at retail outlets throughout America. If you received a call from one of these numbers, all it means is that someone called
you using a pre-paid calling card. The call could have originated at virtually any type of telephone (payphone, residence, business, even a cell phone).
If you have never used or are unfamiliar with calling cards, click here for more information.
It has been reported that some calls made using these cards are disconnected when the call goes to voicemail or to an answering machine. So if someone called with these calling cards and you did not answer,
then the number might appear on your caller ID looking like a hang-up call.
If you use "anonymous call rejection," chances are good that anyone trying to reach you using these calling cards will fail.
These calling card services act as proxies. The service provider (AT&T) routes the calls in a way that fools caller ID boxes. You can call these numbers back, but you will not be able to reach the person who
called you, nor will you be able to reach any human. The only way to reach the person who called is to ask for or already know another number where they can receive calls.
With regard to the numbers discussed on this page, the fact that you see a Colorado or Georgia or Nebraska area code on your caller ID does not necessarily mean the call came from any of those states. No matter who uses
the calling card, and no matter what phone they use to call you, your caller ID function will always show these calls as seeming to come from Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, or wherever AT&T might
base its pre-paid calling card services.
All manner of unnerving phone calls have been recounted on Internet message boards: strangers calling and asking for someone by name; threatening hang-up calls; apparent telemarketing scams; the list goes on.
It would appear that pranksters and telemarketers have keyed in to using pre-paid calling cards to bother people behind a shield of anonymity.
It is assumed, however, that the majority of calls made with these calling cards are perfectly innocent, and calls you receive from these numbers most likely came from someone you know.
I have received a couple of hang-up calls over the last several years, and *69 said those calls came from 720-587-9978. Typing that number into a search engine produced the amusing result
of directing me back to my own web site, and into the seemingly endless series of messages from those who
received calls with these numbers on their caller ID box.
Whatever the nature of the messages people choose to post to this and other Internet message boards, the vast majority of calls made with these calling cards are harmless.
More information about calling cards and CallerID >>