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Old 12-09-2004, 02:01 PM
igloorex igloorex is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: northern Virginia
Posts: 217
How to make a fax machine stop calling

I've gotten a call every five minutes for the last half hour from what is clearly a fax machine set to redial. I don't have caller ID.

Any ideas how to make it stop?

I suppose I could set up my computer to answer the phone and receive said fax, but that seems like a real PITA, especially since I am expecting other calls this afternoon.
Old 12-09-2004, 02:07 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Location: Richmond, VA
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You could try using the *69 Return Call feature that most phone companies in the US offer. After you get a fax call, hang up, then pick up the phone again and dial *69. If you're lucky, the offending fax is on a dual voice/fax line, and a person will answer if it doesn't detect fax tones. Some phone companies also offer a Block Last Number feature, but I don't know the standard * code for that one offhand.
Old 12-09-2004, 04:28 PM
ryanbobo ryanbobo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 149
Do you have caller ID? when this happens to me I google the fax number to see if it's on a business's web page, then give them a call. Sometimes it shows up, sometimes it doesn't.
Old 12-09-2004, 05:43 PM
TimeWinder TimeWinder is offline
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I complained to the phone company about this once. They told me that if you answer the call, and leave the phone off the hook for two minutes, the fax machine will give up on redialing that number.

She implied that this would happen regardless of fax model, I didn't ask why it was universal (legislation, or a feature of some fax chip that has only one vendor seem the most likely candidates). It worked the one time I tried it.
Old 12-09-2004, 07:46 PM
1010011010 1010011010 is offline
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Posts: 2,076
Set up the computer to recieve the fax. Generally, you can get contact information out of the content of the fax. Also, if you're actually recieving the faxes, it might encourage them to fix it sooner (depending on the content).

I had this problem a while back, and while *69ing did get me through to someone, it was a hell desk type number, not the specific line that was calling me. So, even though I explained the problem, I don't think the person I actually spoke to was very motivated to hunt down and fix the problem.

I set up my computer with some fax software and collected a couple documents until I could work out who it was and what they were working on. I then e-mailed the addresses I'd managed to harvest with a polite note asking if they could tell Mr So-and-So that, fascinating though I found his memos on the inner workings of Proprietary Corporate Product, I'd really appreciate if he'd stop faxing them to me.

They stopped within a week. Were I more devious, I would have just collected them and sold the information to their competitors.
Old 12-09-2004, 07:54 PM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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I am currently having the same exact problem at my apartment, but I can't confirm who or what it is. . . and these damned machines call me at all hours of the clock: 0200, 0415, 0712, 0829, etc. Most of the time, I'm not home to recieve the calls. Is there anything I can do after I get home from work and see a line item list of "NO CALLER ID"s? I mean, if the last number is a "NCID", I'll *69 their ass easily.

As a matter of fact, I'm doing that right now. . .

Shit. The standard phone company voice comes on and says "The number cannot be reached right now. --click--".

I'll be honest, I'm afraid to connect my computer to the phone line. Don't they send viruses that way? I don't want a wardailer to infect anything I have. True, I have an old computer in the garage that I could connect, but what's the use if it gets infected and I can't discern the number?

I'm pretty damned pissed off too. Count me in on whatever storming of any castles we're going to do. . .

These asswipes have awaken me multiple times in the wee hours of the morning.
Old 12-09-2004, 08:13 PM
galt galt is offline
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Location: formerly Galt, CA
Posts: 1,115
I'm pretty sure there's no way to receive a virus via fax. If you configured your computer to host a network connection over the phone line for them (e.g. SLIP/PPP), you could conceivably open yourself up to headaches, but just turning on fax receiving is safe.

I had this problem once, and configured my machine to receive the fax. After figuring out it was a medical lab faxing me random people's test results, I faxed them a page that said "please hang this over your fax machine" and then in big, bold letters, said, "PLEASE NOTE: 123-4567 is NOT the fax number for the XYZ medical clinic. DO NOT FAX THINGS THERE".

Note that you don't necessarily need *69 to get the number. Most fax machines are configured to tack that info on the leading or trailing edge of the page that gets sent.
Old 12-09-2004, 08:17 PM
Askance Askance is offline
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Originally Posted by ryanbobo
Do you have caller ID?
Were one to read the OP from start to finish, one could answer one's own question.
Old 12-09-2004, 09:07 PM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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Originally Posted by galt
I'm pretty sure there's no way to receive a virus via fax.

Well, that's the thing . . . How can I be sure it's a fax machine? Granted, I as a sender remember the tones between a fax machine and a computer 'linking in' to it's caller, the computer being a few high tones and then what I'd call a "bwushhhhhhhhhhhh". The fax machine would beep a few times, and then go silent. But if I'm on the recieving end, how the hell would I know?

I don't even want a fax virus. I heard they lead to herpes.
Old 12-09-2004, 11:12 PM
tadc tadc is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: stumptown
Posts: 189
Originally Posted by Tripler
Well, that's the thing . . . How can I be sure it's a fax machine?
An out-dialing fax machine will beeeeeep<pause>beeeep<pause>beeep, with the beep lasting about a second and the pause being 2 or 3 seconds.

An outdialing computer modem will make no sound at all until it hears the answering computer make a (very similar to above, but *continuous*) beeeeeeeep.

It's true that fax senders are required by law to include their phone/name info on the little line of text that appears on the leading/trailing edge of the fax for this very reason, but many are misconfigured or intentionally wrong(fax-spammers).

There is no possible way to get a computer virus simply by accepting a fax or data connection with your modem. You must download and execute an infected file fo there to be any chance of infection. Just recieving a fax doesn't count.

I'd suggest handling it as any other harassing phone call. Report it to the telco ("I get calls at all hours of the day or night but there's never anybody there"). Make it sound like you're concerned for your safety or you think someone's trying to find out when you're not home so they can rob you. That will probably get action easier than saying it's an annoying fax machine.

Lastly, in some areas, *60 (or perhaps another code) activates "call block", but I doubt it would be effective against a number where callerID isn't being delivered.
Old 12-10-2004, 05:09 PM
galt galt is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: formerly Galt, CA
Posts: 1,115
Originally Posted by Tripler
Well, that's the thing . . . How can I be sure it's a fax machine?
It doesn't matter. If you set your computer up to receive faxes, it's not going to suddenly allow a PPP connection just because someone with a computer dials up. It's just going to receive faxes.

tadc, I'd disagree with your assertion that downloading and executing an infected file is the only way you could end up with a virus. If he set up his machine as a PPP server, dialing and connecting gets the caller on the network with his computer, which then opens him up to other types of attacks like exploiting open file shares, etc. But that's not going to happen if he's only receiving faxes.

And regarding the sending fax machine being configured not to send the number: it's possible, but it seems reasonable to start with the assumption that this is an honest wrong number, as opposed to someone who's behaving maliciously. If it were a fax spammer, they wouldn't be wasting so much time on a number that doesn't even have a fax machine.


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