Unlisted Numbers

So, please, tell me- what’s the deal with unlisted telephone numbers?

What exactly are people with unlisted numbers scared of? Stalkers? Crazy ex-boyfriends? Telephone salespeople? Daleks? The Russian Mafia? Greenpeace? Heavy breathers?


Let me list the ways in which your having an unlisted number is annoying to me:

  • First of all I can’t see who is calling. This is very irritating, in case you are somebody I want to avoid.
  • It gives you a feeling of superiority – oh, you can’t show me your number, for some reason or another, because you have earth-shattering secrets to protect, and will therefore make my life just that bit more difficult.
  • It takes away the whole point of having a telephone number – of allowing people to reach you.
  • And if I get a mobile number, and want to check who it is, or verify that it is correct – well, I just can’t, because that person is PRIVATE, UNLISTED and DOES NOT EXIST TO MERE MORTALS LIKE ME.

Well here’s a tip to all the unlistables out there – if you find yourself being harassed by people who you have given your mobile number to, then try this – just BE CAREFUL who you give your mobile number to! And don’t take sweets from strangers either.

My mobile number is fully listed, and has been the same one for 10 years. And yes, I get a telephone seller once in a while, but generally not. Because I think it is useful if people can find me.

And I haven’t had a heavy breather yet either. Not even one, dammit.

/ paddy


23 thoughts on “Unlisted Numbers

  1. How about this then: My daughter has a cellphone, and her number is unlisted. The reason is that, like it or not, there are real paedophiles out there, who go to places like hitta dot se looking for young kids who have cellphones.

    Because believe it or not, when one buys a mobile telephone subscription for a child, however young that child may be, the number is immediately made public and listed, so that the would-you-like-a-sweetie brigade can easily find them, ‘phone them up, and er… offer them sweeties. Outrageous!!

    • SirPe: Yes, that would be an excellent reason! And that’s very bizarre that it is like that. However, I was wondering about ADULTS with private numbers – any thoughts on that one?

  2. Well, adults with unlisted numbers are people like Madonna, famous people who get harrassed a lot, people with protected identities due to threats or abusive partners and so on…

    However, why mere mortals don’t list their phone numbers is a mystery…

  3. Since the early dawn of humankind, our brains have been evolving increasingly more accurate ways of reading facial cues and body language so that we may gauge accurately whether someone’s a raving lunatic or not.

    Now phones and email are helping us devolve that skill as we’re left with no important cues whatsoever to determine a person’s creepy level except perhaps an inappropriate use of emoticons here or there.

    (*°∀°)=3 私はマグロを食べる (*°∀°)=3 !!!

  4. The last time I had a land line with an unlisted phone number, I got calls non-stop from solicitors, mostly automated ones. Oh, and collections agents. And old boyfriends. Turns out the damn phone company gave me a number owned until a few days before by some poor woman. Pretty sure there’s some sort of law against that…

  5. I’ve come across several people from southern climes — Chinese, Lebanese, Eritrean — who have unlisted numbers as a matter of course. It may be that in some countries it’s a good idea.

  6. “What exactly are people with unlisted numbers scared of? Stalkers? Crazy ex-boyfriends? Telephone salespeople? Daleks? The Russian Mafia? Greenpeace? Heavy breathers?”

    Basically – yes.

    One lady friend of mine was harassed by a heavy breather. Actually she thought that he was only a very silly man, so she wasn’t so worried. Another lady I read about was harassed by a crazy, criminal organization, threatening her, so she was really at risk. It might also be worthwhile remembering that if such people start harassing you, they will also harass your children. In such a situation, you will not be happy. Some people are stalked by ex-boyfriends or girlfriends threatening to hurt them, having even had to move to another city. Wanting to get away from drunkard “friends” and neighbours who impose upon you is also a good reason for a secret number. Or somebody who gives your number away every place and lies about it, making zillions of people phone you about everything from selling soap to buying sex.

    Also, telesales companies have secret numbers. Thats mainly because there are forty persons phoning out from that number, so it’s impossible to phone in to it.

    Also, government and local authorities may have secret numbers. Once Arbetsförmedlingen, the swedish state unemployment agency authority (compulsory if you want unemployment support) phoned me on my mobile phone. That call came from an unregistered, secret phone number, so I didn’t answer. I didn’t want to risk any costs from being coupled to a pay number. Later they contacted me at home and asked why I didn’t answer their calls…

    You can always refuse to accept a call from a secret number. If it’s somebody you know, they might even tell you their number aforehand. It doesn’t seem such a gigantic problem to me – unless you really want to fret about it. :-)


  7. Lucky you, nobody uses the phone to harass you.

    Some people just are not as fortunate; perhaps you shouldn’t mock them.

    Or, maybe you could add just that little bit extra to their misfortune by implying that they don’t actually have a problem–your call.

    • Amiable Dorsai: I think you are under the illusion that my blog is to be taken very seriously. I would go and get that seen to, it can develop into a nasty condition.

      • Paddy, Paddy… Have you already forgotten how seriously we swedes take things…? Perhaps another week at Skriva or Korkek would open your eyes again to deadly serious interpretations? :-)


    • For a while it was Skriva the soap opera. I don’t remember when you left Skriva, but Skriva split into Skriva and Korkek, Skriva being the new, improved, genuine and only Skriva, helmed by Mr A, and Korkek being a big chunk of the rest of us. I won’t diskuss the latter-day Skriva, but Korkek has for a while suffered from a lack of stamina, leading us to post comments like “the list is dead, long live the list”. The situation for today is that Korkek now has 1411 postings for august, and counting. Of course we always run the risk of taking each other seriously, especially since a new member of the list has a boisterous sense of humour and an assertive personality. Ah well, it could have been worse. The list could have been alive and kicking… :-)


      • Yeah I recall the split, it was surreal, to say the least. Good that Korkek is surviving, but how goes it for The Real Skriva? Is Mr. A still soldiering onwards?

  8. Yes. Lots of on-topic postings from Mr. A, and the occasional response from one or two others. The jury is still out on the case whether Skriva is a mailing-list or Mr A’s personal blog.


    • I still remember his spirited defence of why he didn’t use paragraph breaks in his texts, making them basically unreadable. Which was just as well, actually.

  9. I used to have a published number. Now, it’s unlisted. I was getting annoyance and harassment calls. The police were called after a trace on my old number and the person was charged with uttering death threats.
    I am no longer annoyed, harassed and have my piece of mind back and my personal safety is secured.

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