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Old 8th November 2012, 09:49 AM   #1
Cainkane1
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The demise of the payphone

Cell phones offer many advantages over pay phones but pay phones did have one redeeming quality. You could make an anonomous call. Not necessarily a crank call but if you wanted to call the police and give them a tip about something the police wouldn't be able to trace the call back to you.
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Old 8th November 2012, 09:57 AM   #2
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I've been slow to get a cell phone, my first was in 2009 and I only used it about 6 months. I don't talk on the phone enough to warrant the cost of a cell phone and a data plan when I get phone service with my internet and tv.

I am very annoyed however when my cable is out and I can't find a payphone within 10 miles that works anymore when I've needed to call the cable company.
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Old 8th November 2012, 10:44 AM   #3
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Yeah, some people won't get the reference in this song.
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Old 8th November 2012, 10:58 AM   #4
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There used to be a thriving criminal trade in "boosting" pay phones. The money boxes on the old-style dial jobs were quite easy to pick, and a slick operator could quickly open the box, dump the change into an under-the-coat bag, and move to the next one.
Often, these guys would keep change-counting machines in their cars...
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Old 8th November 2012, 11:05 AM   #5
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And where is Superman supposed to get into uniform now?
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Old 8th November 2012, 11:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
Cell phones offer many advantages over pay phones but pay phones did have one redeeming quality. You could make an anonomous call. Not necessarily a crank call but if you wanted to call the police and give them a tip about something the police wouldn't be able to trace the call back to you.
Postcards?
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Old 8th November 2012, 11:20 AM   #7
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Can't you block your ID on a cell phone making it more difficult for anyone to trace a call? Aren't there other ways to truly make an anonymous call?
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Old 8th November 2012, 11:29 AM   #8
The Fallen Serpent
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Originally Posted by marksman View Post
And where is Superman supposed to get into uniform now?
Isn't he a blogger now? I assume he just lounges in his superhero attire all day now anyway.
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Old 8th November 2012, 11:35 AM   #9
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I hate that there are no pay phones in Dallas. What do you do if you're from Canada and have pay-as-you-go phone? I couldn't make a call.
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Old 8th November 2012, 11:37 AM   #10
The Fallen Serpent
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Originally Posted by Almo View Post
I hate that there are no pay phones in Dallas. What do you do if you're from Canada and have pay-as-you-go phone? I couldn't make a call.
http://www.payphone-project.com/numbers/usa/TX/DALLAS/

Best bet is usually outside a chain convenience store.
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Old 8th November 2012, 11:53 AM   #11
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Did I just wake up in 2005?
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Old 8th November 2012, 11:54 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Almo View Post
I hate that there are no pay phones in Dallas. What do you do if you're from Canada and have pay-as-you-go phone? I couldn't make a call.
Move to the US.
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Old 8th November 2012, 11:57 AM   #13
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Why not mail your anonymous tip to the police station?
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Old 8th November 2012, 12:02 PM   #14
The Fallen Serpent
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Originally Posted by truethat View Post
Why not mail your anonymous tip to the police station?
When I worked in a 7-11 periodically someone would come inside to inform me of a crime or danger but refuse to call the police themselves. I am not sure every clerk would, but I would always make the call even though I found it annoying. By and large police won't respond to hearsay like that unless it is something fairly serious. Even when they sounded serious they usually turned out not to be, but you have to make sure for the rare times it is.
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Old 8th November 2012, 12:06 PM   #15
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It's quite simple to have a cell phone and remain anonymous. Simply buy a Tracfone with cash and always buy minutes with cash.
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Old 8th November 2012, 12:08 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
It's quite simple to have a cell phone and remain anonymous. Simply buy a Tracfone with cash and always buy minutes with cash.
Works for Tony Soprano...
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Old 8th November 2012, 12:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
It's quite simple to have a cell phone and remain anonymous. Simply buy a Tracfone with cash and always buy minutes with cash.
May work in some places, but not in Australia where to buy a phone you need ID. The only way to make a call that is sure to be anonymous is to use a stolen phone. But lucky there are a few pay phones left.
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Old 8th November 2012, 05:36 PM   #18
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I've loaned a couple of my cell-phones to old ladies.. one in the hospital, and another with no phone service. A phone is really a modern necessity.
I won't go anywhere without mine now that I've gotten used to them.
Tracphones are inexpensive for occasional use. The contract phones with their useage options are reasonable.
I had a Net10 for awhile but got 80 or more marketing calls on it in a couple months.
The Tracphones I loaned had a double-minute, double-time feature when adding time. The old ladies got those useable until 2013 on one, and 2014 on the other they used them so often. I use them now for backups, in emergency.
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Old 9th November 2012, 02:46 AM   #19
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I hope we don't lose them all in Hull. They are part of our heritage.

Telephone boxes should be cream coloured. Unless you have an Olympic gold medal winner nearby , in which case it gets painted gold.

http://s0.geograph.org.uk/photos/68/...8_8b097e70.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8427/7...6132e58a_z.jpg
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Old 9th November 2012, 02:58 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
May work in some places, but not in Australia where to buy a phone you need ID. The only way to make a call that is sure to be anonymous is to use a stolen phone. But lucky there are a few pay phones left.
I am not sure this is true, I think the ID requirement is for purchasing the sim card, but I believe all mobiles are required to be able to contact emergency services without a sim, so you should be able to make an anonymous call, by using a mobile phone without a sim.
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Old 9th November 2012, 03:52 AM   #21
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As a Brit, I miss these:



Although not the smell of wee in them.
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Old 9th November 2012, 04:37 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
Cell phones offer many advantages over pay phones but pay phones did have one redeeming quality. You could make an anonomous call. Not necessarily a crank call but if you wanted to call the police and give them a tip about something the police wouldn't be able to trace the call back to you.
Throw away cell phone paid in cash.
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Old 9th November 2012, 04:41 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
May work in some places, but not in Australia where to buy a phone you need ID. The only way to make a call that is sure to be anonymous is to use a stolen phone. But lucky there are a few pay phones left.
Yeah because false ID don't exists :P.
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Old 9th November 2012, 05:01 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Works for Tony Soprano...
Criminal associations aside, a "pay-go" phone like that is a good option for people who don't make a lot of calls and don't want to fork out $30-50/month for either a land-line or "plan" cell phone. Just make sure you get one with a good Area of Service based on where you most plan to be.
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Old 9th November 2012, 05:02 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by 23_Tauri View Post
As a Brit, I miss these:

http://forums.randi.org/picture.php?...pictureid=6912

Although not the smell of wee in them.
Did you ever open one up to find a big round room?
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Old 9th November 2012, 05:10 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by marksman View Post
And where is Superman supposed to get into uniform now?
He's been using his superspeed when people turn away for about twenty years now.


Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
It's quite simple to have a cell phone and remain anonymous. Simply buy a Tracfone with cash and always buy minutes with cash.
Yep. Just by dozens of prepaids, like Michael Westen, who used to be a spy.
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Old 9th November 2012, 05:16 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by marksman View Post
And where is Superman supposed to get into uniform now?
Well, the old-fashioned, fully enclosed phone booth disappeared long before the pay phone.
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Old 9th November 2012, 05:27 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Muldur View Post
Did you ever open one up to find a big round room?
You are thinking of a Police Box. A little different.
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Old 9th November 2012, 06:15 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by 23_Tauri View Post
As a Brit, I miss these:

http://forums.randi.org/picture.php?...pictureid=6912

Although not the smell of wee in them.
Still got one in my village. It doesn't take coins.
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Old 9th November 2012, 06:25 AM   #30
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There's a phone box just up the road from my house. What really confuses me is that I quite often see people using it, with their car parked on the road next to it. So you can afford a car, but can't afford £20 for a pay as you go phone? I find that unlikely. It probably costs more in petrol to drive there.

As for the OP, in what way is that an advantage of pay phones? Unless you were actually involved in the crime yourself, why would you be so desperate to hide from the police when you tell them about it?
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Old 9th November 2012, 06:41 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
As for the OP, in what way is that an advantage of pay phones? Unless you were actually involved in the crime yourself, why would you be so desperate to hide from the police when you tell them about it?
In major crimes there is a tendency in law enforcement to treat a tipster as a likely suspect. There are psychological reasons why certain perpetrators report their own crimes, sometimes anonymously and sometimes not. Even if the police treat their suspicions rationally and themselves do not disrupt a tipster's life, the media themselves can.

Another common reason why that also applies to minor crimes is because the tipster doesn't want to inconvenience themselves and have to fill out reports, talk to police for an extended amount of time, or possibly serve as a witness at trial.

The last major reason I can think of right now is exposure to danger. In the US and I know other countries an accused has the right to face their accuser. This means if you witness for a murder, the person you are accusing knows who you are.
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Old 9th November 2012, 06:45 AM   #32
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Actually, I remember in the late '80s thinking that payphones were on the way out. The "war on drugs" was driving dealers to use pagers and payphones as a way of avoiding wiretaps. As a result, they stopped allowing payphones to take incoming calls. Back in the old days, I was always able to call someone from a payphone and have them call me back to save my dimes (later, quarters). One day that didn't work anymore.
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Old 9th November 2012, 06:53 AM   #33
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Mailing an anonomous tip is fine but what if the police need to respond in a hurry?
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Old 9th November 2012, 07:30 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by The Fallen Serpent View Post
http://www.payphone-project.com/numbers/usa/TX/DALLAS/

Best bet is usually outside a chain convenience store.
Wow. I didn't see one; just the husks of them with no phones. Good info!
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Old 9th November 2012, 08:19 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
Mailing an anonomous tip is fine but what if the police need to respond in a hurry?
Use express mail.
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Old 9th November 2012, 09:03 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by The Fallen Serpent View Post
In major crimes there is a tendency in law enforcement to treat a tipster as a likely suspect. There are psychological reasons why certain perpetrators report their own crimes, sometimes anonymously and sometimes not. Even if the police treat their suspicions rationally and themselves do not disrupt a tipster's life, the media themselves can.

Another common reason why that also applies to minor crimes is because the tipster doesn't want to inconvenience themselves and have to fill out reports, talk to police for an extended amount of time, or possibly serve as a witness at trial.

The last major reason I can think of right now is exposure to danger. In the US and I know other countries an accused has the right to face their accuser. This means if you witness for a murder, the person you are accusing knows who you are.
.
Add the anonymous threatening phone call to the need for a pay phone list of useages..
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Old 9th November 2012, 09:17 AM   #37
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Pull the SIM-card out of your phone. You can still call emergency services.
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Old 9th November 2012, 08:05 PM   #38
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If the people you need to be in contact with while maintaining collective anonymity are all in the same general area, it's quite difficult to beat CB radio. As long as you don't directly mention any proper names, it's pretty much foolproof:

- No ID needed to buy or operate a transceiver, nor can units be "registered" in such a way that identifies them over-the-air.

- No possible way to forensically link a particular transmission with a particular transceiver

- Neither transmissions themselves, nor data pertaining to transmissions (time, date, location, the fact there even was a transmission) are saved on the transceivers themselves, or repeaters; nor is there anything analogous to a "cell tower" to independently record a log of these things for later access or review

- Transceivers do not have functionality which can be exploited by law enforcement or other government agencies to track or remotely operate specific units

- CB's are extremely cheap, never need to be activated and/or loaded; and they always have a "signal".

This is purely from a hypothetical perspective; I do not condone the use of CB radios to assist in breaking laws and so forth - bad!
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Old 9th November 2012, 10:48 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
If the people you need to be in contact with while maintaining collective anonymity are all in the same general area, it's quite difficult to beat CB radio. As long as you don't directly mention any proper names, it's pretty much foolproof:

- No ID needed to buy or operate a transceiver, nor can units be "registered" in such a way that identifies them over-the-air.

- No possible way to forensically link a particular transmission with a particular transceiver

- Neither transmissions themselves, nor data pertaining to transmissions (time, date, location, the fact there even was a transmission) are saved on the transceivers themselves, or repeaters; nor is there anything analogous to a "cell tower" to independently record a log of these things for later access or review

- Transceivers do not have functionality which can be exploited by law enforcement or other government agencies to track or remotely operate specific units

- CB's are extremely cheap, never need to be activated and/or loaded; and they always have a "signal".

This is purely from a hypothetical perspective; I do not condone the use of CB radios to assist in breaking laws and so forth - bad!
On the other hand anything said could be recorded. If you say "we will rob the bank in New York city at 10 am tomorrow" you can be confident that the police will know about it.
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Old 9th November 2012, 11:17 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by marksman View Post
And where is Superman supposed to get into uniform now?
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