Strange phone number and bogus message

This is a thread about unusual phone numbers. I just had a call from (358) 745-1546, which I let my answering machine handle because I was suspicious, and the caller hung up. Checking google, it appears that the number is an egregious robo-dialer, so I have no reservations mentioning it here. Let’s all nuke the bastards.

Just for kicks, I did a *69, and it verified the number that appeared on my caller ID box (no name showed). So I dialed the number, prefaced by “1”, and before I completed the digits, heard the phone company message “We’re sorry, you must first dial a ‘1’…”. Well, maybe I misdialed, so I tried it again. Same message, seemingly premature.

So very carefully, I dialed 1 3 5 8 7 4 5 1…and the message began before I had reached the last 3 digits. I tried this repeatedly, with exactly the same results at exactly the same place.

So something about that number is triggering the message. Are all phone numbers that begin (358) 745-1xxx somehow known robo-dialers? And the message is the wrong one, anyway. Is that deliberate?

I called the same number from my cellphone, being careful to include the “1” prefix. The message was different: “Welcome…the number you called is no longer in service…”

There must be a factual answer to this. Anyone know what it is?

In case it matters, my outgoing line is a landline thru Charter Communications.

According to this website area code 358 is unassigned (though there are some other references to it being PA elsewhere).

A little more experimentation…dialing 1 3 5 8 7 4 5 followed by ANY digit 0…9 triggers the same “We’re sorry…” message. I tried them all.

I wonder if the caller ID is spoofed, both at the display level and the *69 level, and the actual number the call came from is not that one.

Doing *69, then “1” (which should call it back) gets “We’re sorry. The number cannot be reached by this method. Please hang up now.”

From the link PacifistPorcupine gave,

That doesn’t sound like a phone company message, but I could be wrong. It could be that that is a message that is played by the spoofing caller’s equipment for all incoming calls.

If the area code and/or number is unassigned, it wouldn’t be possible to reach that equipment. I think it’s generated by the phone company.

A more helpful message would be, “We’re sorry, but that number is unassigned.” It looks like the “you must dial 1 first” message is the default for non-programmed conditions.

358 is the country code for Finland, but I don’t suppose that helps. It is unassigned as a North American area code.

Scammers can program any number at all into the outgoing caller-ID of their robocalling equipment. It doesn’t have to be a real number; it isn’t checked or anything. This capability was intended to allow agents to call out using other numbers and still display the main contact number for the company, but scammers took it and used it for evil.

How did this verify the number? I’m wondering if it verified the spoofed number, rather than the actual originating number.

Just a coincidence. In the USA, whatever follows the initial “1” is interpreted as an area code and exactly 7 digits are expected after that.

Unless them evil Finns are robodialing us? :eek:

You are correct – *69 verified the CID display number, not necessarily the real number – but at least the systems are in sync.

No, that is a normal message you sometimes get, usually when caller ID has been blocked.

Which message is “normal”?