Help! My phone is possessed!

I was sitting at work this morning, minding my own business, when my phone rang. I picked it up and heard this repeating beep, about a second long and repeating at about three or four second intervals. Huh, I thought,and I hung up. A few minutes later, the phone rang again. Same thing. It’s been happening now for about the last half hour, about every three to five minutes. At one point I decided not to answer and let my voice mail pick up. The phone stopped ringing after three rings, one short of my voice mail kicking in.

The guy in the cubicle next to me thinks it’s someone trying to fax me something. I always figured a fax would have more of a modem-ey sound (loud bursts of static) rather than a steady beeping. But I could be wrong.

What I really want to know is, how do I make it stop? I really don’t want to have to sit here and listen to my phone ring every couple of minutes all day long. If it is a fax machine, is there a button I can push on my phone to tell it “Hey, I’m a phone, not a fax, quit calling me!” Or anything else I can do on the receiving end
to make it stop?

It’s definitely a fax machine trying to call you - that repeated beeping is the fax equivalent of “anybody home for me to talk to?” It should stop after a few attempts (most fax machines will try to make the connection a set number of times, then quit with an error message). If it continues beyond that, you’ll have to get the phone company to trace it (unless you’ve got caller ID).

Thanks Early Out. Actually, posting to the SDMB seems to have done the trick, it hasn’t happened since. :smiley: Maybe it did finally get tired of trying, although it took about forty five minutes and about fifteen or twenty attempts. I seriously thought about trying to find an unused fax machine around here and plugging it in to my phone jack to see what came through!

A very good strategy! I’m embarrassed that I didn’t think of it!

Do you know how to transfer a caller?

Transfer the call to the fax machine extension.

Works everytime for me.

Philster, I’m ashamed to admit that, being a software engineer and generally up on the current technology, I still can’t transfer a call without hanging up on someone. :frowning:

My wife suggested I repeat something like “Hello, I’m not a fax machine!” into the phone and that maybe the person faxing on the other end would hear it through the speaker. I wasn’t sure if that would work, and didn’t think my coworkers would enjoy hearing me shout out in my best Elephant Man voice “I am not a fax machine! I am a human being!” :slight_smile:

I had a caller like this darn near ruin my life. And it turned out to be a telemarketer with a misprogrammed autodialer.

I was searching for a job, and my answering machine would be filled with messages consisting of nothing but beeps. They would all occur at 5 to 7 minute intervals over the course of a couple of hours in the middle of the day, and fill up my answering machine’s RAM, rendering it worse than useless.

At a time when I was job hunting, and relying on my answering machine to take calls from prospective employers.

It happened for months on end. Every day. And I couldn’t change my phone number since it was on every resume and cover letter I sent out. It was maddening. And unfortunately, it was a couple of years before the federal no-call list was established.

So I called SBC’s harassment and abuse center. They put a trap and trace on my phone. For a week, I called them daily and gave them a list of the abusive calls. Then they told me they had identified the originating number, but couldn’t give me the phone number by law. They gave me a case number, and told me to contact my local Police department and file a harassment complaint, and to give the detective my case number.

So I did, and weeks later, the detective finally told me that she had contacted the caller and warned them to stop.

The caller turned out to be, of all people, SBC themselves! Their long distance telemarketing center in Texas wanted me to switch back to SBC local long distance. I live in California, and had just switched all my toll services over to MCI.

Even SBC’s California Trap and Trace office didn’t know it was their sales office in TX. The Pasadena PD was as bemused and astounded as I was. Somehow, their dialing computer thought it was talking to another computer… So it would try and connect, not establish protocol, and then retry. All day long. Apparently, it was set to give up after 30 timeouts, with a 2 minute timeout per call.

Since it was an interstate call, it became a federal issue. And the FBI was not interested in pursuing the matter. The calls never stopped until my local detective talked to a city attorney and they filed criminal charges on my behalf.

And then, a year later, the whole ordeal started over again…

I dunno…

Incapable of transferring a call…talks to beeping messages…