786-879-6669 is a phenomenon you don’t want touching you.
786-879-6669 is evil.
786-879-6669 is real. 


If you are a Cingular or Sprint cellular subscriber you may have
already been unwittingly capped by 786-879-6669 — check your phone
logs to make sure — or you may soon get hit. Thousands have been
struck in the last week alone.

Do not answer a call from 786-879-6669.
Do not place a call to 786-879-6669.
Some believe 786-879-6669 is one of three things:

1. A viral terrorism attack to aggravate people and disrupt
the ordinary flow of phone service in response to the immigration
policy debate currently going on in the American government.

2. An automated sales pitch in Spanish for a Florida timeshare.

3. A
random War Dialing campaign intended to annoy you and cost you cellular
air time answering the call or calling into your Voice Mail to delete
the call.

The past five nights at exactly 6:56pm Eastern, Janna’s cell phone
rings with a call from 786-879-6669. Sometimes you get a recording in
Spanish. Sometimes no one is there. Sometimes a Voice Mail message in
Spanish is left if you do not answer the phone. The 786-879-6669 calls
are predictable and bothersome and lots of people are complaining but
no one can yet figure out how to stop the calls. No one has yet been
able to decipher or understand the brand of Spanish being spoken.

People are getting calls from 786-879-6669 on cellular phones that have
never been shared, publicized or given to anyone outside the immediate
family. There are laws in place to stop this kind of unbridled
harassment/solicitation but the phone number is still in service as of
this writing. 786-879-6669 is a Miami, Florida number.

If you call that
number you get an automated response in English that you cannot leave a
message. No one ever answers 786-879-6669. 786-879-6669 is the phantom
in your phone: Have you been haunted yet?
Have you ever had a problem with someone or something constantly
bothering you via your cellular phone? Did you do anything about it or
did you just let it slide?
Are there any cellular scams going on out there that bit you or someone
you know?

75 Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of that one before but I don’t normally answer calls outside my own area code anyways unless I know for sure who is calling me. Something should be done about all these spam phone calls though because as opposed to your house phone, cell phones are using your minutes. I have even been getting more and more automated phone calls at work. Lately, when I start to hear the speil I slap it on hold and see how long it lasts lol

  2. Hi hterry!
    I like how you are fighting back!
    Isn’t there some federal law against sending unsolicited faxes because it costs the receiver paper and time and it ties up the line? Is there the same protection from cell phone SMS/text Spamming and unsolicited phone calls? If not, there should be because as you so rightly state, we pay per minute for our cell phones and unwanted calls cost us money.
    Be on the lookout for 786-879-6669 — it’s pretty new – because once you get found, it doesn’t let go of you!

  3. Oh ya I get spam on my fax on a daily basis anywhere from 5-10 pages. How the heck do they get these numbers? I work at a state run hospital and you would think something could be done about it. It’s funny when I get a human and they start that speil, I cut them off and say this is a hospital and they profusely are apologetic about calling. One of these times I should ask them how and why they keeping calling a hospital and see what kind of response I get.

  4. Hey hterry —
    I think there are dialing programs that just dial random numbers until they get a “response” back from a fax machine and then that phone number is doomed to get junk for the rest of its time in service.
    As I understand it, you can file suit against those fax companies. If they fax you something trying to sell you something you did not request you can go after them in court.
    I would ask them how they pulled your number the next time they call you via voice. I bet they won’t know. I think they just sit down behind their computer every day and the computer randomly dials for them.

  5. I’ve registered for the Do Not Call Registry on both the state and federal level. It seems to work pretty well.
    I’ve found the best way to avoid strange phone calls is to have two phone lines at home. One line is listed in my wife’s maiden name and is used as a fax line. The other super-secret line is the one that we answer. Only friends and businesses we deal with have that number.
    I try to never give out my cell phone number.
    Of course, none of this works to prevent a call from a war dialer churning through telephone numbers.

  6. Chris —
    You keep getting caught in my Akismet Spam Trap. I don’t know why. Are you connecting to the internet via a different method? I wonder if your IP is on a blacklist?
    ARE YOU SPAMMING OTHER BLOGS?
    :mrgreen:
    Your email, name, website are unchanged. You are not posting a lot of links in your comments. I’ll have to try to figure out what’s happening here.
    ***
    I didn’t know states had their own Do Not Call list! Here is New Jersey’s:
    http://www.state.nj.us/donotcall/
    You click on Register and it takes you right to the Federal site! Is your state the same way? Here’s an interesting file on how New Jersey just plugs into the Federal database:
    http://www.state.nj.us/donotcall/factsheet.pdf
    Yes, protecting your cell phone number is important. I think that’s why a lot of people prefer to regularly get new cell phone numbers instead of keeping one forever.
    War Dialers are terrible.

  7. Hi David,
    I connect from home using a different ISP than from work. I wonder if that causes a problem?
    I haven’t commented on many blogs this year and nothing that would be considered spam. Very strange.
    I’ll have to post from home to see if it makes any difference.

  8. Grrr!
    You got caught again, Chris. I wrote to Akismet support for advice since this just started happening yesterday. Your IP looks fine to me but maybe it is wrongly identified in a database somewhere as being insecure or something.
    I was kidding about you being a Spammer elsewhere.
    😀
    Is there any way you can re-boot your computer or reset your internet router connection for awhile to see if you can get a different IP assigned to your machine? Your IP address is the only thing that has changed in your setup.
    Well, I just paged back through all your comments and the IP you’re on now was just fine days ago so there’s no explanation I can find right now that would cause this problem.
    I will turn off Akismet and we’ll see if you can get through or if your comment gets held for moderation. I have a brief meeting so if you get caught I will clear you as soon as I’m free.
    Best,
    db

  9. I wonder if everyone in the office uses the same IP. I bet it’s always the same since I’m connecting through a network.
    At home, I can turn off the DSL modem and I’ll get a new IP. I don’t think the system admin will let me do that here.

  10. Hi Chris!
    You’re here! So it is Akismet that doesn’t like you and not WordPress itself. Yay! That was an easy fix for now…
    I bet your entire office is on the same IP so if one of you is doing something strange — or if one of the computers is infected and is unwittingly sending out Spam or something, the entire IP range might be getting marked somewhere down the line. Does your office have a SysAdmin you can ask about this?
    Getting a new IP on my DSL line can be tricky. Sometimes I have to turn off the entire modem for 2-8 hours to get my old IP released and a new one assigned.

  11. I might have to log onto another computer and check the IP to see if it is the same (or in a similar block).
    I’m always leery of speaking to the system admin folks since all work on the internet is always supposted to be work related. They probably wouldn’t tell me anything, but would probably start keeping an eye on my net usage. (I consider this a mental excercise that helps me to be more productive at my job — I’m not sure if they’d see it the same way).

  12. Hi Chris!
    Here is the speedy reply from Matt Mullenweg concerning my Akismet inquiry:
    This false positive should be fixed now. Sometimes you have to submit the FP several times for it to kick in.
    I think you got caught five times between yesterday and today and I cleared you each time by choosing “Not Spam” from the Akismet interface– so maybe a few more false positives from here “clearing” you from the Akismet spam queue would have self-remedied this.
    I just re-installed Akismet and activated it.
    Chris, can you post another comment to see if you’re clear with Akismet active again?

  13. Hi Chris!
    YAY! It worked!
    I think it had to be the IP address because everything else was unchanged and the last time you had an unmoderated post you were on a different IP address. Matt didn’t say anything about what, exactly, was causing you to get tagged.

  14. Man! This is weird. I just got a call from that number on my cell. Okay, no prob, go to reverse phone lookup and it shows Miami Fl, blah blah. Just for grins, I go to Yahoo, paste it in just as is, and viola! Your page and a bunch of other hits come up. Okay, I think, autogenerated html pages, dynamically built pages, etc. Try changing the Yahoo search by one number… No relevant hits. So we’ve got a real page, and a real number. Weird. I see that the conversation has gone off into the realm of the Do Not Call list and your LAN configuration. The central question: what the heck is this phone number!?!

  15. Hi Slappy —
    Welcome to the blog!
    The conversation degraded into Do Not Call lists and such because your question is unanswerable: We do not know what that number does or where or why it comes from because when a message is left the Spanish dialect is indistinguishable and muddled — probably on purpose.
    I’m beginning to think it is an organized protest against the immigration bill weaving through congress as discussed in point one in my article above.
    Did that number leave a message for you in your Voice Mail? If so, did you understand what was being said?

  16. Same story as slappy.. I was called by the 786-879-6669 number today (Apr 4) at 3:27pm. I didn’t recognize the number so I didn’t answer, no voicemail message left. I’m a Sprint wireless customer in NC, and my # shouldn’t be floating around anywhere; I give it only to friends, never businesses. Getting a call from a number I don’t recognize is rare enough that I felt like googling it and ended up here… Hopefully someone runs across some answers soon.

  17. Hi efbee and welcome to the blog!
    Wild stuff!
    It is a freaky experience, for sure — especially when you do a search and find this phantom is touching others in the same way.
    I wonder why the carrier responsible for that phone number hasn’t shut it down yet?
    Let us know if you get another call or if you hear more about it!

  18. I have also been receiving calls from this number. The first one came yesterday. I just thought it was strange and dismissed it. The second call came this morning. Same number and recording in spanish. I googled the number and here I am. At least if this call keeps coming in my phone will let me block calls from that number. Very strange.

  19. Welcome to the blog, mharvey!
    What a wild story! Are you located in the South or on the East Coast?
    You are lucky your phone will block unwanted numbers. Many of us are stuck with the torturous calls!
    Keep us informed!

  20. I have not blocked the number yet… because I am curious. I am a SprintPCS customer in the 703 area code (Northern VA). Thanks for posting this so I know I am not the only one who is haunted.
    Mike

  21. Remember the Simpsons episode when Homer Simpson got a hold of an autodialer and proceeded to annoy everyone in Springfield?
    I wonder if there is a real-life Homer Simpson causing all of the problems Sprint customers are facing right now?

  22. Chris —
    I did not see that Simpsons episode. That’s funny!
    I have no idea what’s going on with this phone calling — the strange thing is the phone number is still active after all this harassment — which makes me think there is no phone to turn off and that there is something deeper and more sinister going on…
    I bet the number being sent that is driving us all crazy is being faked via a Caller ID device that allows you to put in any phone number you wish as the “number” you are calling from…

  23. That’s the Caller ID faking device, Chris! It’s a scary thing.
    I was surprised to learn 800 numbers – and other toll free exchanges — have the right and the ability to see your phone number even if it’s blocked or marked private? By making a toll-free call you give up the right to keep your phone number private.

  24. Hi David,
    It’s too bad the same thing doesn’t apply to all cellular calls as with the 1-800 calls. Since cell users are paying to receive the call, they should know where it is really coming from, even if the number is blocked.
    I’ve noticed that my carrier has been sending “unavailable” when I receive calls lately. I wonder if there is something wrong with the phone system.

  25. Chris —
    I agree we pay for our cellular calls coming and going and it would be a nice feature if every phone had a number-by-number block available for unwanted calls. That way we could add avoid those annoying calls and not be charged for them.
    Hmm… I wonder if your carrier is having trouble… or are more and more people hiding their phone numbers when they call in the hope that you will answer and they can sell you something without having to talk to your Voice Mail?

  26. I just got it myself.
    I googled the damn number and here I am. Rather, here you all are.
    My cell was called, I am on Verizon here in Phoenix, AZ and I don’t know how these people got my number. This is all very strange.

  27. Hi TrailerPark and welcome to the blog!
    I thank you for standing with us against this disturbing phone Phantom.
    What did we do in the days before we could Google our tormentors?
    Please let us know if you get a return visit.

  28. 786-879-6669
    what does it mean?
    I live in colorado, and a virgin mobile customer (cell phone) and about 20 close friends and family are all that know my number
    my area code is 719…
    – now lets think logically –
    if it were a random number generation thing then why would those plagued be seemingly restricted to – or numbers influenced by carrier? I seem to be the first virgin mobile customer to report on this blog, and sprint seems to be more targeted. This leads me to believe its not random at all.
    – now lets think logically –
    just about all of us have said that we have never given our number to a business (me included), and only close friends know our number. This leads me to believe our numbers are not being sold.
    – now lets think logically –
    i dont know if im going to be the first to report this, but i have recieved PICTURE messages (text messages with pictures) via this number on top of recieving phone calls. If you are not aware, picture messaging for virgin mobile people can only be sent to and recieved by other virgin mobile customers. This leads me to believe that 786-879-6669 isnt an individual number, but perhaps many different numbers masked behind this number, as virin mobile is a pay-as-you-go service, it would be very costy to spam people with this service, which just adds to the confusion.
    – now lets think logically –
    i started recieving these calls and messages before the mexican – american ‘unrest,’ and that tells me it probably has nothing to do with that.

  29. so it now seems that a good array of people are getting hit – this could support the random number theory, except it took time to hit everybody whereas it started out too ‘focused’ for a random number generator. I have thought alot about this and the best theory i have seems a little… out there, but that somebody has sequentially been hacking into large phone companies databases and finding peoples numbers and adding it to a list, which random calls are sent to people on the list, therefore it is random but focused. They have, then, recently been hacking into more companies to get their numbers.
    dont worry, i think that idea is bogus too. (no im not a paranoid conspiracy theorist)

  30. Thanks for the update, Kivu!
    I still think it’s a war dialer randomly calling numbers. I don’t think any databases have been violated. I think it’s related to the immigration protests scattered about the country.

  31. These calls have been going on longer than that. I have several from 6669 in April, but also several in early March from 786.718.9058, also Spanish-sounding vmail.

  32. I have gotten two or three a month for the past few months from both numbers I posted above. I have never answered the calls; let them go to vmail. I think they have all been during my workday (east coast US).

  33. I got similar calls from 615-522-69xx and I have Tmobile, its kinda troublesome specially since the service provider can’t block the calls nor can my phone. Is there some one somewhere that I can notify since its seems like a new number from the same kind of people.
    [Edited by David W. Boles]

  34. My boyfriend and I have both been receiving calls on our Sprint cell phones from this number for months, usually around the same time of day. We live in the 413 area code in Massachusetts. Sometimes it’s a blocked ID, sometimes the number is displayed.
    Here’s something I haven’t seen anywhere else in the comments, though. I just received an identical call… from a completely different number. The new number was 480-xxx-9x7x. Google couldn’t find the number, though it did tell me that 480 is an Arizona area code.
    Has anyone else received this recording from another number?
    [Edited by David W. Boles]

  35. I have also been receiving strange Spanish-speaking calls, but they are from the Miami area code. They come in a few times/month on both my Sprint cell phone as well as my husband’s cell phone. I have tried to call back to complain, but either the number is busy or rings once and disconnects on the other end. I called and complained to Sprint, but they said that I can’t block all incoming calls from an area code. Unfortunately, the last four digits seem to change frequently or I would simply block the number (if possible on my phone).
    I am very frustrated as these calls come in during my peak time usage and waste my minutes. I don’t have any solution…just wanted to add my experience to the pot.

  36. We have gotten the same calls all the time, they are also coming in from 207 and 469 area codes…my husband just called cingular they said they were updating our svc! (Ha) we will see.

  37. i get a ton of these on my cell phone. i just got one a few minutes ago from 708-999-8989 (somewhere in Illinois), which prompted the web search. I’ve gotten the same (I believe) call from area codes in Arizona, Nevada, California and Florida. They always start the same way: “Hola” at which point I hang up because I don’t speak Spanish (well, not since I was in high school 15 years ago).
    I have Sprint.

  38. I keep getting a call on my work cell from 787-787-9876. This number is based out of Puerto Rico, and delivered the same weird Spanish recording you all are talking about. When I dial back nothing happens, other than “you call cannot be completed at this time”. A web search for spanish recording phone calls led me to this site, and I have learned that many others are finding this a problem too. I guess now you can consider it to be an international issue, as I have gotten this call 4 times in the past three weeks, and am finally getting sick of it. Beware- answering a call from this number could mean you pay international rates for the call, hopefully my employer will not get angry. BTW we have Cingular as well.

  39. Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Todd, and thanks for that heads up on the new phantom!
    This is a strange phenomenon. It seems to have pretty much ceased on our phones. It’s good to hear reports from others who are still getting bothered.
    Point your employer to this article and comments, Todd. This is a real happening and it has nothing to do with your or your behavior!

  40. got a phone call from 708-999-8989 at 4:06pm, i’m on T-Mobile. It’s somewhat vierd, I use to get a lot of this phone calls, but then they stopped calling. Probably some time in mid-summer. But now i got a new one today (12/10/06). May be they resumed the service? …

  41. I also got a call this weekend from the same
    number as Andrew.
    I almost answered it since I have a friend whose
    number ends in 8989. Glad I didn’t. Hope I
    don’tget anymore calls.
    I am with Nextel.

  42. In Chicagoland area myself, just got a call on my Sprint cell from 708-999-8989. I answered “Hello”, to which they hung up. Don’t know what prompted me to do a Google search on that number (for real, no kidding, don’t know what prompted me, as I don’t normally do that) but lo! I found you guys with this weird phantom number problem, and at least two of you with calls from that very same number.
    I hope I don’t start getting more calls from the same. Otherwise, this may require intervention from authorities of both the phone company and governmental agencies.
    If any others of you are having a recurring problem, may I suggest you do the same?

  43. I just got the 708-999-8989 on my Cingular phone but I missed the call and I haven’t set up my voice mail. When I had a home number in the Bronx we used to get calls from everywhere, and the ID would come up the name of the state. So supposedly Utah was calling us, or Florida was calling us. It was really odd and being on the no call list didn’t work.

  44. i just got a call from the 708-999-8989, as i answered, they hung up. stupid. i did the search and turned up a westchester number. i called it back and it says number out of service.

  45. I also just got a call from 708-999-8989 (Paging Phone IL) at 1:43 pm 5 Jan 2007, Central Time. I missed the call but when I called them back I get the typical “this number is not in service” response. Also, my phone number is listed on my website, but not in any phone book. I am also using Vonage, not a cell phone. Hope this helps give another point of reference!

  46. I received a call this afternoon from 708-999-8989, but I was away from my desk and didn’t get to my cell phone. I was worried it might be FedEx contacting my about an overnight package I sent, and came online to try and find the source of the number. Thankfully and oddly, I found this site which put my worries to rest. I’m on Verizon, and this is the first time I’ve received a call like this.

  47. YEAH I GET THESE CALLS FROM TWO DIFFERENT NUMBERS AN ILLINOIS NUMBER I CALLED IT BACK AND IT KEPT FORWARDING ME TO DIFFERENT PEOPLES PHONE NUMBERS WHERE AS THEY WOULD HANG UP AND THEN FINALLY STOPPED AND WENT TO SILENCE . THIS WAS 708-799-8989 THE NEXT CALL WAS A SO CALLED FIDELITY CREDIT SERVICES WHERE AS THEY FFER YOU A CREDIT CARD FOR 129$ AND YOU GET A 5000 CREDIT LIMIT WOW , CATCH IS THEY NEED YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT INFORMATION ,,, HMMMMM? STRANGE THAT NUMBER WAS 727-585-4762 NOW THE QUESTION IS WHY WOULD THEY HAVE A DC # WITHIN THE NEXT THREE MINUTES SOUNDS PRETTY CRAZY TO ME I THINK THE CLAIM NEEDS TO BE MADE AGAINST SPRINT BEING THAT THEY ARE THE LARGEST HIT CUSTOMERS THAT ARE EXPERIENCING THIS, POSSIBLE LOSS OF RECORDS ? MAY HAVE LEAKED OUT TO THE WRONG PEOPLE. TIME TO TAKE ACTION I HAVE CALLED THE LOCAL POLICE WHERE AS MY CITY HAS RECEIVED 56 COMPLAINTS TODAY ALONE FROM THIS NUMBER EVERYONE BEING A SPRINT CUSTOMER ???? SO WONDERING IS THAT WHERE IT STARTED

  48. I got from the number 708-999-8989 just minutes back. I normally dont answer these calls on cell but regularly do a google when ever I get call from these numbers. I am in cingular and have an IL 847 area code number.

  49. I’m in Alaska (907) and I use Sprint and I got hit by 708-999-8989. I speak a fair amount of Spanish, and I couldn’t understand it. Quite odd that other people have gotten this phone call, too.