Urban Legends

Dial 9-0-#

The Legend

Found on the Internet in June 1998


Last Saturday at the Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans' Quarterdeck, Commander's Office, Secretary's Station, Line 4, a telephone call was received from someone who said he worked for AT&T and was testing the telephone lines. The person on the phone said that the person who answered the call should press nine (9), zero (0), pound sign (#), and hang up, and that if an operator answered, he should say to go ahead and give the caller unlimited access to outside phone lines for the remainder of the year.

The officer who answered the phone was a little suspicious (he was a Sergeant) and refused. He contacted the phone company and the FBI. The phone company told him that when you dial 90# on a phone, you give the person who called you access to your phone line and let them place unlimited long-distance phone calls that you will be billed for. The FBI traced the call and told him that it had been placed from the stockade at the other end of the base. The Sergeant went over there and beat the crap out of the guy.

People have been using this scam for a while, particularly people in jail or prison because by getting someone to give them access to an outside line in this way they can make unlimited phone calls and it still counts as their one phone call after getting arrested.


Submitted in April 2005

Listen to this if you use a mobile phone!

If you receive a call to your mobile phone from someone saying that they are a phone-company engineer or telling you that they need to check your mobile phone line, and they want you to press #90 or 09# or any other number, hang up right away!

This is a fraud perpetrated by a company that makes its living by tricking people into dialing secret numbers on their cell phones. The secret numbers give the caller access to your phone's SIM card -- the card that has all of your personal information, like your phone number, name, call history, medical history, credit card numbers, photos, etc.

Once this company has your SIM information, they can post your private photos on the Internet, check where you have been for the last few days (which can be a mess if you've been lying to your boss or spouse), charge things to your credit card, or, even worse, change your ringtone!!!

This happened to the baby sitter of a friend of ours and the phone company said that they had thousands of dollars of long-distance calls on their phone, and that the call had come from upstairs where the children were!



Received May 2002

If U get a text MSG from the # 15477 that U have 1 a trip & must text #90 r #09 hang up! If U do it they get UR SIM code & U R XX!


Found on the Internet January 2003


If you have a car that uses number buttons beneath the door handle for access, listen to this: when you are walking up to your car, if someone asks you to push nine (9) zero (0) on your car's entry system and then pound (#) on the door, don't do it! If you do, this special code gives the stranger unlimited access to make long-distance trips in your car.


Found on the Internet March 2003

Want free food? Go into a doughnut place and ask for nine (9) crullers, a doughnut (0), and some pound (#) cake. Because of the rules of the secret order of doughnut bakers, they have to give it to you free! Awesome!

Behind the Legend

The mystical powers of 90# have been known ever since the pound symbol was invented in the 13th century. The Knights Templar are known to have used this code to send messages across the continent using the carrier pigeons of their enemies. The mystic numbers are immortalized in Alexander Graham Bell's famous quotation, "Mr. Watson, come here, I need you to dial 9-0-#."

We recommend that you avoid this mystical combination of numbers, lest you unintentionally give power to your enemies. While you're at it, you can help protect yourself from telephone fraud by taking a few cautionary steps:

  • If a stranger offers you the chance to let them make lots of long distance calls on your phone, decline
  • If someone calls and says that they are with the phone company but caller ID says that they are calling from a "men's colony," use caution
  • Remember that phone company personnel will never call you up and ask you to help them fix something without first getting you to join the union. Also, the police will almost never call your place of employment and ask you to strip search a coworker because they are suspected of shoplifting
  • If you suspect that the person who called you may be up to no good, continue to be polite and do not become belligerent or rude -- they may have a gun.

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