Ghost call

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A ghost call is a telephone call for which, when the recipient of the call answers, there is no one on the other end of the call. A ghost call is also a term used in managing IP PBX systems. Ghost calls on the lines that cannot be explained or are some residual output of one Real-time Transport Protocol or RTP stream interacting with the PBX.


This is generally caused by a neglected Autodialer or indirectly through consequences of restrictions applied to autodialers used for telemarketing by the FCC that restricts how long they can tie up a phone line without causing inconvenience to the receiver or blocking emergency services. It could also fall under the accidental Pocket dialing category.


A ghost call sometimes can be repetitive or completely tie up a phone line making it impossible to call 911 in an emergency. You may receive a ghost call sometimes once an hour, once a day or once a week. At a certain level when an Autodialer is completely overlooked and unmanaged or in extremely rare cases where a company goes under and an autodialer gets left running for years before it's discovered, this can be especially annoying as there is no one to complain to.

Stopping the calls[edit]

Several websites collect reports of ghost calls.[citation needed] Repeated reports of the same number provide insight into where the machine is located and hopefully aid in getting it shut down (especially the abandoned ones.)


Today's Autodialer supposedly runs a smarter batch of software boasting a claim of less than a 2% hangup rate. Most telemarketing companies place 1000's of calls an hour bringing that 2% back up to an annoying level however.

In fiction[edit]

Ray Bradbury had at one time written a story about a telephone switch box that gained sentience. Its first order of business in the world, stalking. Eventually the person documenting the calls traced it down to a specific phone box and was summarily executed by said box through electrocution.