The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
   
Hoaxes Throughout History
Middle AgesEarly Modern1700s1800-1840s1850-1890s
1900s1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s21st Century2014
867-5309
There's a well known urban legend about the phone number 867-5309. Supposedly phone companies no longer issue this number to customers because of the popularity of that Tommy Tutone song from the '80s, "Jenny (867-5309)", about a guy trying to call a girl named Jenny whose number he sees on a wall. Dan Wiki (not sure if that's really his last name) set out to prove this urban legend wrong. How? By dialing every 867-5309 in the country. He got a list of all the area codes and set to work. The results are posted on his site. He lists in bold the numbers for which someone claiming to be Jenny actually answered. I couldn't resist calling some of the numbers for myself. All my results were identical to his.
Entertainment
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 05, 2005


WoW, that kept me entertained for about a min. Was worth it!!
Posted by Stephen  in  McKinney; TX  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  01:07 PM
Damn you Tommy Tutone!!!
Posted by Stewie Griffin  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  03:08 PM
...cute?
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  04:07 PM
...Oh my god.

My boyfriend had a recycled number when he got his cell a few years ago, and he kept getting calls from drunk girls asking for "Steve" and then insisting that he was there and they had to talk to him. In the middle of the night. It was explained to them that Steve was a loser and couldn't pay his phone bill. Eventually they left us alone. It was fun while it lasted.
Posted by James D  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  04:07 PM
"...cute?"???

Had a similar experience James, only it was one girl that kept calling over and over again, ironically for Steve. I finally put on a gay accent and told her he's just not interested in her.
Posted by Craig  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  05:10 PM
I had a similiar experience as James and Craig, only it wasn't a recycled number. Some carpenter who wouldn't list an ad in the yellow pages had the same name as my dad, so people were always looking up his name and calling us. Oddly enough when he died my dad was attending calling hours for someone else in the same building that his were in. He said he wished he had a camera so he could pose under the sign with his name.
Posted by Rachael  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  06:18 PM
Dan's site isn't exactly a ringing refutation of the legend. The vast majority of 867-5309s he called were not in service, disconnected, or set up to block incoming calls one way or another. Of the ones that were answered, many seem to have sarcastic or joking references to the song, like

"519:
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  06:56 PM
Craig:

"gay accent"--come on, don't make me lecture you. smile

But it does kind of seem like there's a possibility of an epidemic of Steve's who have problems paying their bills.

As far as the topic of the post, wouldn't it have been easier for the guy to call phone companies requesting information about this?
Posted by James D  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  09:47 PM
Hey, it got her to stop calling and that's all that matters.

Phone companies may not be so willing to give out very much information because of privacy laws. On the other hand, they have no problem selling your information to businesses.

God my teeth itch.
Posted by Craig  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  08:23 AM
I got a recycled # when I moved into the place I'm renting now. People keep calling for Mr Tevaris Levarity. I try to (nicely) explain that he must have cancelled/lost the # & it was reissued to me. This way, they'll stop calling & figure something else out. One night, I'm in the middle of trying to breastfeed a tired, cranky, infant & someone calls. My caller I.D. wasn't working, so I had to interrupt the feeding time, & get the phone. Baby screaming, I begin to tell the man trying to sell me a mortgage that he called the wrong #. He hangs up MID explanation. I was ticked. HE got me up, HE called me...HE was going to apologize. I figured out how to get the caller I.D. back up & called him back. I felt really nice after he groveled for a few minutes...I also made sure the baby was very near the phone so he could hear how upset she was. That particular company has never called back. I only mention them not calling back, b/c the vast majority of people I have explained the "wrong #" story to, continue to call.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  10:09 AM
You could have just *67'd him a few dozen times, asking for Tevaris. Sound like a psycho.
Posted by Craig  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  10:32 AM
I had a recycled fax number for about two years. Every day after work I'd get home and have between 5-15 messages on my answering machine of fax machines beeping at me. Now, I don't have a land-line phone and never have a problem. I've had maybe half-dozen wrong numbers since 2002, when I cancelled phone service.
Posted by Bill B.  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  01:20 PM
A few of those numbers are in texas. But I don't want to run my cell bill and get in trouble.
Posted by Dany  in  Texas  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  06:41 PM
My grandma is always getting wrong numbers.
Posted by Dany  in  Texas  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  06:44 PM
The Rhode Island area code (401) is for Gem Plumbing and Heating... a real company (I've used them). It makes it easy to remember their number... and their TV ads feature the number prominently with a battalion of uniformed plumbing and heating guys jogging like an army group, chanting the number in a cadence like what military guys are supposed to...

KV
Posted by Karen  in  Pawtucket RI  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  07:34 PM
The 254 one is in my area. Now if I could only figure out what Bush is McCleanen county home's number is.
Posted by Dany  in  Texas  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  08:29 PM
i bet you the amount of misdialed numbers has decreased drastically in the past 5 years since most people just hit the send button on their cell phones to connect. no trying to remember numbers and mispunching buttons.
Posted by coffee  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  10:07 PM
I haven't gotten a misdailed number yet. I don't know if my number is recycled or not.
Posted by Dany  in  Texas  on  Fri Jan 07, 2005  at  04:07 PM
It was a terrible song to begin with.
Posted by John  on  Mon Jan 17, 2005  at  06:05 PM
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.