Toronto Couple’s iPhone 4 from Rogers Gets Assigned with an Escort’s Number

We’ve heard some bizarre iPhone and iPad stories lately. First, there was the Toronto lawyer that sued Apple when his goods got stolen, along with the professor who claimed Apple should also be responsible when she was robbed of her iPhone. Then there is the ongoing story about iPad 2 models being purchased only to have customers find modelling clay inside.

Now, the Toronto Star’s Ellen Roseman reports on a story where an Ohio couple living in Toronto ended up with an iPhone 4 that was assigned an existing number that belonged to a prostitute:

Shah wrote to me when she heard I’d written about an 11-year-old girl who got a cellphone as a Christmas present. Bell Canada assigned her a number that once belonged to an escort service.

“Rogers has also assigned me with an escort’s number,” Shah’s email said.

As did the 11-year-old girl’s parents, Shah and her husband did a search on the Internet and found their phone number listed at websites such as and

The person who had Shah’s number was a “pre-operated transsexual,” whose website address started with “shemale.”

Shah and her husband got embroiled in a battle with a Rogers dealer, Batteries & Gadgets, and Rogers itself over a $200 credit she was supposed to receive as part of her signed contract, which she final received after the Toronto Star stepped in.

She is waiting to have her number changed, and the reason she still gets calls is because her current number is still listed throughout the internet. The dealer that assigned the number mentioned Rogers usually disconnects old numbers for six months, then reactivates them later to provide to customers.

Rogers responded they would be looking into retiring old numbers to prevent similar situations from occurring:

Phone numbers stick around for longer than ever because of the Internet. Companies such as Rogers and Bell update information in the phone book and at only when a number is assigned to someone else.

“We don’t want this to happen to customers, so we’re reviewing our policy,” Trott said.

“We’re thinking of retiring frequently called numbers for an indefinite period of time. That’s what we’re doing with Shah’s number as soon as she changes it.”

It’s also interesting to note a Bell Canada customer was also affected in a similar story. An 11-year old girl received a cellphone for Christmas, only to also have her assigned number belonging to that of a former escort service.

Nonetheless, in situations like these if you get a number that belongs to someone else–call in and get it changed to a new one. At the same time, old numbers should probably have their blackout periods extended to a couple years to avoid any future confusion. What do you think?