Returning Unwanted Presents Instead of Unwanted Calls
Posted Dec. 29, 2010
Written by Timothy McClanahan
Now that Christmas is over, the annual returning of presents begins. The present of choice these days is usually some electronic gadget, be it a game console, an iPod or an iPad, or a cell phone. Whether grandma got you or your kid the wrong thing, or you just need the money more than the gift, in the return pile it goes. In this time of financial difficulties, gifts that are used are not uncommon, even cell phones. The potential problem even with a wanted used cell phone is the potential for unwanted calls - because of the SIM card.
The problem with the used SIM card in cell phones - though not all cell phones use them - is that it can bring along with it the electronic baggage of the previous user. The SIM card determines the phone number of the phone, and you may be getting unwanted calls on your "new" cell phone as an added gift, from people who you don't know.
A coworker recently had this happen to her, and she was receiving calls on her cell phone as a result of the used SIM card in it - phone calls from people using Middle Eastern languages. The chances of these being calls from terrorists are about the same as winning the lottery, but it's best to not get on any watch lists based on incoming calls that have nothing to do with you - plus, nobody needs the hassle of unwanted calls.
The options at this point are few and simple: use your cell phone to screen calls from those you don't know; use your phone company's features to block calls from specific numbers, or any unknown number; buy a new SIM card; or run a reverse phone lookup to find out who these people are, and perhaps contact them to let them know the number has a new owner.
A reverse phone number lookup is a pretty easy thing to do now - you simply enter the phone number into a free reverse phone lookup site, and if the information is available, you can get the name of the owner, and possibly their address. You can even enter your own "previously owned" phone number into the system to see who had it before - it may have been a business.
If it turns out that previous owner was a Persian Rug shop that actually did go out of business, it's probably best to just get a new SIM card or change your phone number - people will be calling that number for years, based on outdated information.