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-Riv-
04-19-2015, 03:45 AM
Hi there,

How does a payphone show up on caller ID?

I'm specifically needing it for a payphone in the same area code as the cell phone. Some internet sources say it's the number if it's local, but I didn't find anything definitive. I'm probably not going to get a reader's knickers in a twist by saying it's the number, but I like accuracy whenever possible.

If anyone knows, I'd be grateful for the info. (I don't know where a payphone is around here to test it! They used to be everywhere.:) )

Thanks in advance!

All the best,
Riv

bombergirl69
04-19-2015, 04:45 AM
I don't know if this helps or not but when I get pay phone calls it comes through as UNAVAILABLE.

-Riv-
04-19-2015, 05:10 AM
I don't know if this helps or not but when I get pay phone calls it comes through as UNAVAILABLE.

Thanks!

Everything helps. :)

.303 Bookworm
04-19-2015, 05:22 AM
I found a payphone locator (http://www.payphone-directory.org/) if you wanted to test it. Don't know how accurate the site is, though.

-Riv-
04-19-2015, 06:45 AM
I found a payphone locator (http://www.payphone-directory.org/) if you wanted to test it. Don't know how accurate the site is, though.

Woo! It lists one at the 7-11 nearby (the only one within miles :) ). I'll check it out this week.

You rock. Thanks.

All the best,
Riv

sorabji
04-21-2015, 02:05 AM
Calls from payphones can show up on caller ID in a variety of ways. I don't know the technical reasons behind all that but I've been doing an art project for some time which involves making calls to voicemail boxes from payphones, and I've seen a lot of vagaries in how caller ID identifies them.

If I call a cell phone from a New York City payphone it shows only the number of the phone, and the state from which the call originated (New York), nothing else. No UNAVAILABLE or UNKNOWN, just the number and the state name. The same was true for a New Jersey payphone we used a couple of weeks ago. It just showed the number and "New Jersey".

I don't know exactly when this changed but calls from NYC payphones used to show up as "PAYPHONE", followed by the number of the phone. This is no longer true but it was never consistent so maybe the PAYPHONE identifier will return.

Occasionally a payphone call shows up as "undisclosed_pstn" or "+NoNumber" but I don't know that those obfuscated caller IDs are unique to payphones.

This might not address what you're after but an element of intrigue that might interest others whose work includes payphones is that payphone service providers -- the folks who own and maintain pay telephones -- are able to program the number that shows up on caller ID to whatever they want. As far as I know they cannot program the text portion of caller ID to show up as "PAYPHONE" or something descriptive like "7-11 PAYPHONE" but they can (and frequently do) send out bogus telephone number info. I think it's actually illegal but only on a technicality, and I've never understood why they do this. I was once unwittingly responsible for a payphone service provider being ordered to reprogram thousands of its phones to send out actual and accurate phone numbers to caller ID, so on account of that I've maintained an interest in this rather obscure matter.

The most commonly used fake caller ID associated with payphones in the U.S. is 702-992-9550. Most calls made today from Boston area payphones show that number, causing many unwitting people to think the calls are coming from Las Vegas. It's a source of confusion and mistrust as people making the calls are accused of being in Vegas when they are actually in a Boston train station or at any number of places across the country. Thousands of U.S. payphones send out 702-992-9550 as caller ID.

If you were thinking of using an actual phone number in your piece then 702-992-9550 might be a safe choice, and would look more credible than the 555-555-1234 format so commonly used. If you call 702-992-9550 today you get a recorded message saying "If you received a call from this number then the call originated from a payphone in the United States". This might help keep it real for your readers should they actually call the number.

Hope this helps, or at least inspires. -mt

-Riv-
05-11-2015, 09:28 AM
Sorry for the delayed response.

THANK YOU! This is great info.

All the best,
Riv