These Numbers Are For Surprise Phone Sex

The AP reports that a shady alliance between a toll-free service operation, PrimeTel, and a company that operates phone sex lines, National A-1, has enabled the widespread redirection of popular 800 numbers to phone sex lines.

Two things that are odd about this longstanding phenomenon: We thought talking on the phone was totally dead. And also: This works? Enough to put some effort into it, apparently.

PrimeTel has managed to grab almost a quarter of the 800 numbers in the U.S. and Canada, including:

  • 1-800-Chicago
  • 1-800-Metallica
  • 1-800-Cadillac
  • 1-800-Minolta
  • 1-800-Cameras
  • 1-800-Worship
  • 1-800-Whirlpool
  • 1-800-Beatles
  • "Cook County Jail in Chicago when it canceled its toll-free inmate information line."
  • "Rape counseling hotlines in Maine and New Mexico."

The last one is, of course, not in the least bit funny. But this sentence is: "Critics of the company say it isn't the sex that bothers them, but the acquisition of so many numbers."

In other words, PrimeTel is making it hard to find 800 numbers that it hasn't already grabbed. So why are they doing this?

Many people who mistakenly dial a phone-sex line probably just get red-faced and hang up as quickly as possible. Others apparently respond to the come-on and supply their credit card number.

Another toll-free company executive tells the AP, "I guess enough people go for it that it makes business sense." Really? You're calling 1-800 Beatles and thinking you'll stay around for Barely Legal chat? Have any of these people heard of the Internet?

Porn Company Is Amassing 800 Numbers [AP]