Fake Calls

James Katz, a professor of communication at Rutgers University, has studied the phenomenon of people who fake calls on cell phones. He's found that a very high number of people do this (above 90%). Reasons include: to avoid talking to someone nearby, to look important, or to look busier than they are. Katz has been quoted as saying: "They are taking a device that was designed to talk to people who are far away and using it to communicate with people who are directly around them."

Two apps available for the iPhone demonstrate the robustness of this trend: Fake Calls will make it look like you just received a call. Similarly, Fake Text will make it look like you just received an SMS text message.

Since I don't have a cell phone, let alone an iPhone, I won't be needing these.


Posted on Tue Feb 10, 2009


You don't have a cell phone!? :ohh:

Is that like my next door ex-Canadian neighbour who "doesn't drive a car" when it's really that she "can't"?
Posted by Joel B1  on  Tue Feb 10, 2009  at  11:59 PM
Ah, so I am part of a proud 10%. How pathetic are you when you fake a phone call to try to look important?
Posted by LaMa  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  02:25 AM
I am proud to say that I, too, am part of that honorable 10%.

I don't think this is that new of a phenomenon. I remember back in the (early?) 90's when the only cell phones available were car phones, that there were fake car phones being sold so you could look like you were talking and driving at the same time.
Posted by Vern  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  05:49 AM
Oh, Alex. Next thing you know, you'll be bragging that you don't have a TV and that your pants are made of organic fibres. I really don't know where I'm going with this...
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  08:33 AM
I'm beginning to think that the report itself is a hoax. Do you really think that 9 out of 10 people pretend to have conversations on their cell phone?
Posted by homeward  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  11:01 AM
I don't have a cell phone either. I have to walk around pretending to talk to my keys.
Posted by Blondin  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  12:14 PM
Vern - Do you remember the fake car phones they use to sell? It even came with a fake antenna to help make it look authentic. More like pathetic.

I am proud to announce that I too am a 10%er.
Posted by Madd Maxx  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  02:17 PM
If the percentages were reversed, I'd believe it. Although I have little faith in humanity, I just can't swallow that 90% of us act like that.
Posted by Joe Schmoe  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  04:29 PM
I've done that before. Sometimes there are people standing around when I'm walking to my condo from the parking lot, and I don't want to talk to them, so I just act like I'm on my cell phone. What can I say, I'm just anti-social I suppose.
Posted by Sakano  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  04:36 PM
The only time I've ever seen anybody fake being on the phone was Lucy trying to fool Ricky in some caper, but the phone rang and Lucy was found out. As I remember, Lucy was then afraid that Ricky would beat her up.
Posted by Fred Mertz  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  04:38 PM
Three cheers for those of us brave enough to not have a cell phone. I hate the damn things.
Posted by Joe  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  04:51 PM
In the post immediately before this one you seemed to imply that you have a FaceBook account, and you did say you have a twitter account. And you don't like cell phones? I'm no expert, but I would say that sounds pretty hypocritical.

Back to the point -
While it is pretty pathetic and so far I have never done it, there are one or two people that, if I ever saw them again, would certainly force me to fake a call in order to avoid talking to them. Yes, I am somewhat anti-social, but if you ever met them you would leave the Honorable 10% too...
Posted by obi1kenobi1  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  07:42 PM
umm,Kenobli...the webmaster hs no cell phone, it was Cranky who has twitter.
Posted by Fred Mertz  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  07:53 PM
Ok, I guess I was just confused about the last post. Never mind.
Posted by obi1kenobi1  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  07:56 PM
If there's a serial killer out there who hasn't yet picked a type of victim, could I suggest people who use cell phones in public? You'd better hurry, I'm about to start killing them myself.
Posted by Mark  on  Wed Feb 11, 2009  at  08:54 PM
I've definitely faked receiving both calls and SMSs. To look inportant? No - how can a mobile phone call make you 'look important' these days anyway? But to escape from an unsolicited and unwanted conversation with a verbose stranger, say, or to have an excuse to duck out of a tedious and irrelevant meeting... sure.
Posted by outeast  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  08:58 AM
It's just another form of lying. And people have faked being on the phone since the invention of the phone.

Hang on, I got a call...
Posted by Dan Sz.  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  10:14 AM
I'll admit that I've done that before, but not for any of those reasons. Sometimes when I am leaving work late and I have to walk a distance to my car, I'll pretend like I'm talking on my phone if I see some creepy vehicle.
I'm sure that if someone was going to try to hurt me that my cell phone wouldn't matter, but it makes me feel safer. lol
Posted by Nikki  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  11:17 AM
Mark - Why are you against people using cell phones in public? Isn't that what they are for? If you are at home or work then you use a land-line. Where should they use cell phones?

With that said, I hate cell phones and only got one to shut my wife up. I've got about 8,000 roll over minutes because I never use it and we got rid of our land-line at home.
Posted by Madd Maxx  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  11:44 AM
"umm,Kenobli...the webmaster hs no cell phone, it was Cranky who has twitter."

Um, how'd I get in the middle of this? Actually, I think I DO have a Twitter account but I've never used it.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Feb 13, 2009  at  02:42 AM
I am currently part of the 10%...but have not always been. When I was younger and wanted to be sure no one talked to me in public, or bothered me...I would pretend to talk to my phone...especially saying stuff like, "Okay, so we can meet up in a few minutes..." So there was a possible time that I was expected somewhere...so if someone jumped out of the bushes to attack me...I could tell them that so-and-so knows I'm coming and will send the police if I don't arrive.

I used to work nights at a video store on a major road.
Posted by Maegan  on  Fri Feb 13, 2009  at  03:06 PM
The cell-phone "hoax" isn't just about avoiding social interaction. 😉
Like, if I see a rather lovely person when I'm driving I can pull over to the side of road and "take a call"... while checking out the eye-candy (as you Americans put it?)
It's a hoax but a fun one.
Posted by Joel B1  on  Sat Feb 14, 2009  at  02:46 AM
Maxx, "Public" is probably too broad--it's more when they make a show of talking on a cell phone (like no one has ever seen that before) or talk too loud or talk while driving or ...

When idiots pull out a cell phone in the middle of a check out line and stop everything to make sure they have the right brand of shampoo. And when they can't walk and talk at the same time and wind up blocking everyone behind them. Or when they blab about idiotic topics that they have no real need to talk about in the first place but are so loud they make sure everyone knows it.

Maybe "public" was the right word afterall.
Posted by Mark  on  Sat Feb 14, 2009  at  09:32 AM
I have become annoyed enough with the Bluetooth Zombies that I want to start going out in places, wearing a Bluetooth earpiece and just yell at people. I can use the excuse that I am on the phone and it will be ok.

"How can you be so STUPID???!!"
(by-stander looks)
"Sorry, on the phone"
Posted by Bob Mime  on  Tue Feb 17, 2009  at  05:15 AM
I have a facebook and a twitter, but I do not need the cell phones to look important. I let my Manly Bulge do the talking for Raoul, okay? Look out, Raoul and Bulge coming through. Make the room, for I am important. Rrrraoul
Posted by Raoul  on  Sun Feb 22, 2009  at  09:54 AM
when i am riding a taxi (or any public vehicle) alone, yes, i fake calling my parents and informing them of the vehicle's plate number and the driver's physical description. sure, i've already actually texted the details to them, but i want the driver to know that i got his vehicle number and he's gonna be in big trouble if he does something bad to me.
Posted by vivien  on  Wed Mar 25, 2009  at  12:11 PM
I'm one of that 10% that don't use fake calls )
Posted by Apache  on  Mon Jul 27, 2009  at  05:22 PM
I don't see why people these days need prank calls ? Sooo last year people !!!!
Posted by why ?  on  Sun Sep 13, 2009  at  03:38 PM
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