1-800 Numbers Lead to More Phone Sex Hotlines, Embarrassing Wrong Numbers
Charisma / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Please, please, please let her answer the phone.
A little-known company out of Philadelphia has been snatching up 800-numbers like they're going out of style, and interestingly enough a good chunk of them redirect callers to phone sex hotlines.
PrimeTel Communications controls nearly 25 percent of these toll-free numbers in the U.S. and Canada, and according to MSNBC designated more 800-numbers than Verizon or even AT&T between March and April of last year. That means phone numbers you once punched in to get a hold of a helpline or make an appointment to have your oil changed might lead you to an unexpected aural threesome with what may or may not be an Alabama grandmother.
Apparently 1-800-FIRETIP, which once directed callers to the New York City Fire Department, later greeted you with a "one-on-one talk with a nasty girl" for only $3 per minute. 1-800-CHICAGO did the same. Even the number for a small-town auto repair shop was dropped and designated to an "Intimate Encounters" chat line at one point.
These phone sex services are run by National A-1 Advertising, which happens to share an office building and (convenient) common ownership with PrimeTel, and it appears PrimeTel is amassing these numbers with their roommates primarily in mind. Shady, though not illegal.
Charisma / FreeDigitalPhotos.net You hope that's what's waiting on the other end...
But if the company is collecting lots of numbers to direct to a single line, that's against the law. And the FCC is suspicious, having subpoenaed and investigated National A-1 several times in the last two years.
But regardless of the evidence they didn't find, PrimeTel maintains its direct access to the 800 Service Management System, which makes discarded 800-numbers available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
PrimeTel obviously pays attention -- new numbers reportedly can be reserved within 95 milliseconds of becoming free, and as of April 2011 the company has about 1,667,000 of 7.87 million 800-numbers in action.
Not sure how many of those are National A-1 sexy-time hotlines, but if you're really curious you probably could find out by dialing from the top.