My Personal Stalker

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!


About Author

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


  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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