Some questions regarding Unlisted Phone Numbers

This is half General Questions and half IMHO, so I’m putting it here. My wife and I are looking to have our number unlisted. I also searched the board for “unlisted phone” and found nothing.

  1. How does one do this?

  2. How much does it cost?

  3. Does it work? When I searched the web for “unlisted phone number”, I saw a ton of sites that claim to search unlisted phone numbers, apparently defeating the point of having one.

  4. What are your experiences with having an unlisted number?

There’s a distiction between “unlisted” and “non-published”. I have a “non-published” number and the charge is seventy five cents per month. My number is not in the book and you cannot get it from information. My name does not appear on the average people search. I believe that “unlisted” only means that it is not in the phone book, but can be had through information and other sources. I don’t think there’s a charge for “unlisted” numbers.

This probably varies by phone company. The easiest way to find out is just to call yours and ask.

I’m sure anyone willing to do enough searching could find an unlisted number; usually doctors and lawyers and whatnot don’t list their numbers so that random clients or whatever can’t call them at home and bug them.

I’m not sure that all states distinguish between unpublished and unlisted. I’m in the only category my state offers, and neither google nor reverse lookup associates my name and number. This is enough to thwart casual searchers. (I do have a business listing under my name, so I can be found, but not at home.)

They’re called “silent” numbers in my part of the world, and are only available at a fee. I’ve never heard of any different levels of privacy before, other than “silent” and “listed”.

Bear in mind though, that your unlisted phone number might be a recycled one. A previous person could have had that number, and it may have been listed. This means that your number could appear on all manner of databases even now (or so a Doper telemarketer told me - you know who you are!).

I believe the “unlisted” category was created (in the U.S.) in response to single women, complaining that they were being required to pay to protect themselves from harassment.
Neither of these will protect you from telemarketers as they use autodialers. I’ve also heard that the phone companies, in the U.S., sell “active numbers” to telemarketers. The claim is reputed to be that they are not violating their contract w/ customers because they do not identify the numbers to specific names.

We’re unlisted. You’re corrent about non-published - not in the phone book our phone info line. But unlisted IS in the phone book, and NOT on 411. :slight_smile:

Back when I had a land line I refused to pay for an unlisted number. So I was listed under my dog’s name. Most people could remember this and it didn’t cost me anything. Whenever the caller asked for “Mr. Pig Dog” I knew it was a telemarketer. It worked pretty well.


So did this guy. He is famous among readers of the Post’s Style Invitational.

There are even cities where you cannot get an unlisted or unpublished number. However, they don’t care what name you give them. Folks who want to remain anonymous can still be listed as Elmo E. Elmo or Bobbie Soxer.