Making the phone ring....

I remember a few years back, in our area, one could make their own phone ring by dialing 958-xxxx. The x’s would be the last 4 digits of your telephone number. You would dial this number and hear the dialtone again. Then you would hang up for about half a second and then pick back up the phone. You would then hear a special dialtone. Next you would hang up and wait about 2 seconds and the phone would start ringing. This doesnt work anymore however. Is there anyway to find out the special number for your area? or have they abandonded this system?

That’s what they call a “ringback” and the number varies from prefix to prefix, and depends on a large variety of things, mostly what kind of switches the telco uses. A good source of info on this sort of thing is
Note: I do not advocate phone phreaking or cracking, but I do advocate that people should know how it’s done, if only to protect themselves. But if you start playing around with telco ringbacks, you’re likely to be investigated as a phone phreak.

This isn’t exactly the same thing, but in Baltimore (MD) if you dial 2002006969 a recording will tell you the number from which you dialed. This is useful if you have a number of incoming/unmarked lines that you need to sort out and tag.

There is a thread here that talked about this. I can’t find it but I know it is in here.

I’ve done this before in my Area Code (415). The way I did it was to dial “0” for the operator. When they answered, I asked them to ring me back.

Where I grew up it was 991-XXXX. People would always screw up the 991 part and call 911.

I remember as a teenager someone showing me the key combination to do this, but it stopped working after a while.

Those numbers that tell you the number you are calling from are called ani numbers (auto number identification). I use them all the time for my job. In the past several years many have changed. Does anyone know of a list of them? That 2600 site might but it is not easy to find if they do.

btw try 991-xxxx, 990-xxxx or 551-xxxx

It was 551- when I was growing up in NJ.

I remember that every now and then we couldn’t get it to stop ringing us back. This completely panicked us when we were 8:)

You can:

  1. call the operator & ask for a call back test.
  2. use a cell phone & call yourself :slight_smile:

I must say you got lucky posting that URL, if I ever did that they would be down my throat faster than a walnut rolling down a pitched roof.

Which leads to an interesting question: will this work for TTD machines? handy?

N11 codes are used to provide three digit special access services. In the US, the FCC administers N11 codes & recognizes only 211, 311, 511 & 711 as nationally assigned. Other codes with traditional uses:

211: Community information & referral service

311: Non-emergency police & other governmental services

411: Local directory assistance

511: Traffic & transportation information

611: Repair service

711: Telecommunications Relay Service

811: Business office & auto number feedback

911: Emergency

So 811 (with no need for any last four digits) is the magic number. At least it is for my telco footprint. This may not work nation wide because of the mom & pop telcos who don’t want the ILECs dictating service codes in their footprint. I hanen’t tried this with my TDD but I doubt it would work for these devices because the response is voice not TDD tones.

Let’s all try 811 and report back here if it works.

Is ringing back your phone illegal? From Handy and Chas.E’s replies, it sounds like you can get in trouble for doing this? If so, why would it be illegal??

My girlfriend used to really freak out her mother doing this, Wes Craven’s Scream-style. (Do you like Disney movies?)

She learned it while living in Erie, PA and it still worked in Meadville, PA. I imagine that both areas have the same phone service.

Here in NPA (area code) 303, Denver CO, you used to be
able to dial your own phone number, but with “99” instead
of the first two numbers. Then do the “flash the hook” (double hangup) number. This would ringback your phone.
I haven’t tried it in several years, and I’m at work
right now, but I’ll try it when I get home.

As far as it being illegal, I can’t imagine so. The phone
company may consider it “naughty”, so if you do it they may start monitoring the calling records on your phone more closely. (As opposed to war-dialing, which actually is illegal, at least here in Colorado.) I suppose if you did it all the time and they got all pissed off at you, they could cut off your phone line.

There are other ways to make your phone ring too. A phone line normally has about 45 volts (but only a very, very small amount of current) on it. If that goes up to 90 volts, that’s the signal for the phones on the line to ring. If you’re a decent hack with a soldering iron, I’m sure you could whack together a little gadget that could be plugged into a phone jack and make all the phones ring at the press of a button. A 12v lantern battery and a step-up transformer would be all it would take. Though if you had more than two brain cells, you’d put some kind of current limiter in there too.

ANACs/ANIs are fun. There’s a list floating around on the net, you can find it with a Google search. I think I tried them all one day last year when I was bored. I think at that time one of the thirty or so there actually worked. MCI Friends and Family’s 800 number used to announce the number you were calling from, too, but too many people dialed it just to listen to their phone numbers being recited, so they turned it off. Too bad. Seems like it’s always that way with ANACs.

I don’t see why or how it could be. After all, where are you likely going to be when you are dialing 811? At some place where you want to know (in other words, don’t already know) what the phone number is. So how could any authority point a “shame-on-you” finger at you for ringing back your own phone… you already know your phone number! Clearly it must have been a neighbor or othehr visitor who wanted to know what your number was.

“Which leads to an interesting question: will this work for TTD machines?”

They work the same as a phone. However, my lights would flash instead of make noise.

711 Attrayant? I would suggest no one call that number without checking first to see if the Relay is in their state. I called it once & got 911 (in California) instead…

??? What is ‘war-dialing’? Never heard of it.

“War-dialing” is setting up an automated dialer (usually a computer with a modem) to rapidly dial a range of numbers and see if anything answers. It can be used to find voice mail systems, dial-in modems, fax machines, etc, etc…

Thank you.