Be careful calling discarded toll-free numbers
According to an Associated Press story, the moment a company gives up a toll-free phone number, a phone sex purveyor might just buy it up.
From the article: “…over the past 13 years … PrimeTel Communications has quietly gained control over nearly a quarter of all the 1-800 numbers in the U.S. and Canada, often by grabbing them the moment they are relinquished … many, if not most, of those 1.7 million numbers appear to be used for … redirecting callers to a phone-sex service. … Dial 1-800-Chicago and instead of reaching a tourism hotline for the Windy City, you will hear a woman offering “one-on-one talk with a nasty girl” for $2.99 per minute. A similar thing happens if you punch in the initial digits of 1-800-Metallica, 1-800-Cadillac, 1-800-Minolta, 1-800-Cameras, 1-800-Worship or 1-800-Whirlpool.”
Doubtless many if not most callers blush and hang up. But apparently there are enough who stay on the line and pull out their credit card to make this tactic worth PrimeTel’s while.
Just imagine the conversation at home. “Honest, hun, all those calls were to 1-800-WORSHIP. I’ve been feeling spiritual lately.” In any case, let’s hope PrimeTel never gets ahold of a discarded J. Crew number. (See my April 16 post to read about the nonsense billowing up around J. Crew.)