My Personal Stalker

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In The Shadow

In The Shadow

I have a personal stalker.

I hate the phone. But a few months ago, probably influenced by my French trip, I bought my very first cell phone. I shopped around beforehand and discovered the cell phone market is quite a scam here. Most providers (that is Bell, Rogers and Telus) lock you into a three-years contract (three years!) and there are a lot of hidden fees (system access fee, network access fee, activation fee, 911 access etc.). I ended up buying a month to month package from Virgin Mobile.

And I went happily with my new shiny phone. That is its real name, the “shiny phone“. Seriously, only Richard Branson would think of such a name.

Early October, my cell phone buzzed during one of my class. I checked the missed call number at the break: 905-297-4280. Didn’t know the number and besides, the call was from Toronto. No message. I quickly forgot about it.

Or at least, I tried. That day, I received over ten calls from that same number, and still no voice message. I didn’t pick up the calls because I would be charged for that (another perk of our great cell phone plans – we are charged for airtime even for incoming calls, checking voicemail etc.).

After a few days of constant calling, I phoned Virgin customer service. Not something I like to do. Virgin prides itself on being a young & hip company, and when you call them you can expect:

  • Annoying language: “Please wait while we hook you up with one of our customer care specialist but just so you know… we may record this call just to make sure we are treating you real nice!!!!!
  • MTV-like music: “if you want to chill out, press 1, if you want to get pumped, press 2“. I basically have the choice between a headache and a headache.
  • Unsolicited advertising: yes, I know I can sign up for online offers, I know that I can download music, I know that etc.

I explained my situation to a very cool dude: could he block that number? He basically told me to fuck off. Well, he said I should “get rid my friends on my own”. And hung up. So much for customer service.

I was still receiving up to 30 calls a day from 905-297-4280, so I called customer service again. A much nicer woman told me she had blocked the number. That would have been great… only if I hadn’t received another call a few minutes after hanging up with her.

Meanwhile, I did the sensible thing to do: I googled the number. Apparently a lot of people were reporting calls from that number. A lot of us had no clue who was calling. Some had taken the call and reported telemarketing from the CIBC ( a bank), a McCain supporter call (from Ontario?!), or just a man asking weird and personal questions. In my opinion, this wasn’t telemarketing: nobody is crazy enough to harass people for days, especially day and night. I smelled a scam. But which one?

For the two following weeks, my personal stalker didn’t stop. He would call ten times in a row and then nothing till a few hours later. I started getting calls early in the morning, at night, in the middle of the week end. I got very angry. I called Virgin again.

I spoke to another woman. She said she would check my incoming calls — so much for privacy… The task was easy: look for a 905XXXXXXX number in the middle of a few 613XXXXXXX. Couldn’t find it. I then asked her to check the last incoming call since M. Personal Stalker had called just a few minutes ago. She read a number aloud. Mine.

So apparently, all these 905-297-428- calls are somehow hidden and show up as my own phone number on the log. Only I can see the number on my phone caller ID and missed calls.

I then found myself explaining that no matter how hard I try, I couldn’t fucking call myself! “This is weird“, she acknowledged, “I will pass it on to the technicians, and they will call you back“.

And so I waited for a call back. A week. Two weeks. I called Virgin twice and had to repeat the whole story (which is quite complicated), and each time, I have been told that yes, the technicians would get back to me. I had also asked for a copy of the “user report” (basically, my outgoing and incoming calls) to check that number for myself. It had never been emailed to me. I spelled my email address three times. They always got it wrong, or so was the excuse.

Yesterday, I had my final conversation with Virgin. I called again, since no one ever got back to me. The phone number can not be blocked. Apparently, this is against Virgin’s policy. Now, if only I had the great-and-expensive-Nokia-phone, I could do it myself…

Fuck off. I’m not buying another phone just to stop harassing phone calls. Fuck Virgin (yes, I realize these are weird words combination).

I still receive tons of calls everyday from that number. My “personal stalker”.

What bothers me the most is that I’m sure there is a trick, a scam somewhere, but I don’t know where.

  • I don’t think this is regular telemarketing: no call center would call 30 times a day, plus they would eventually give up considering I have never picked up the phone. Especially after a month…
  • I don’t understand why the real number doesn’t show on Virgin’s logs. Why does my own phone number show?
  • Who is calling me? According to the people who did pick up, it’s not consistent. I feel that if someone picks up the phone, the caller make it sound it’s a telemarketing/ political/ whatever call.
  • I tried calling back, but the phone just beeps, can’t reach.

If you can help me to solve this mystery…

And you. Yes, you. Stop calling!

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

39 Comments

  1. Dont u know? The phone companies hire these people in hopes that you answer the phone and increase your long distance bill. More $ for the big 3.

  2. I have an HTC Legend, which comes with the handy option of selecting any number in your address book and have it automatically be sent straight to voicemail whenever it calls.

    I have a list of about 10 of these weird telemarketing numbers in there. (If you’ve got an iPhone or an Android you can also download apps that will block certain numbers).

    What I don’t get: none of these numbers leave messages. Nobody on the other end ever talks to you and if they do, they hang up quickly or ask nonsensical questions. If it was a real telemarketing scam, they’d be trying to get you to buy something, wouldn’t they? Or get your personal info?

    I’ve been getting calls like this for four years and I have no idea what the point of repeatedly calling someone when you have nothing to offer, want nothing from them, and there’s usually nobody on the other end.

    I support the theory that it’s phone companies trying to rack up bills. Nothing else makes even the slightest bit of sense.

    • This article is a bit old, at the time I had a simple phone that didn’t allow me to block numbers. I have a BlackBerry now and I’m pretty sure some applications would help me deal with the problem. But so far so good, no more weird calls!

      And I agree, it just doesn’t make any sense. Never found out what happened with that number, and what was that all about!

  3. I just received a call from this number. It was strange and puzzling until I read your story. Sorry to hear your frustrating experience. Sounds like a real nightmare. My mother had something similar to this happen with her cell phone and she switched providers shortly after.

    I do hope that’s the last time I receive a call from this number (on my land line). I just purchased the most expensive set of cordless phones and I’m frustrated that there isn’t a basic call block feature built in.. we’re now in 2012 after all.

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