South Korean woman's phone rings non-stop thanks to a phone number faux pas in Netflix...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,210   +882
Staff member
In context: For as long as I can remember, the Hollywood standard for including a phone number in a film or TV show has been to give it the phony "555" prefix. The industry understandably wants to keep innocent number holders from receiving unwanted calls. On rare occasions that a valid number does slip through, the consequences for the owner can be more than frustrating.

In South Korea, using fake numbers in a movie or show is slightly different. Instead of using 555, the country has a government regulated directory of unused phone numbers. A show that is currently trending on Netflix called Squid Game ignored using one of these fake phone numbers. Now a woman in South Korea cannot keep her phone charged because she is receiving thousands of calls and text messages a day from viewers of the Netflix original.

"After Squid Game aired, I have been receiving calls and texts endlessly, 24/7, to the point that it's hard for me to go on with daily life," the woman anonymously told Korean news outlet Money Today.

She explained that she has had the phone number for more than 10 years and cannot change it because she uses it to communicate with clients for work. Since the show aired on September 17, she has "deleted" (blocked) over 4,000 callers.

"It's to the point where due to people reaching out without a sense of day and night due to their curiosity, my phone's battery is drained and turns off," the woman said.

The fiasco started because the show's producers thought that if they left off the first three digits, the call would not go through. However, as we all know, the first three numbers are just the area code, and dialing without them places a call under the local area code.

Korean entertainment blog Koreaboo notes that revealing someone's telephone number is illegal under the country's privacy laws. Netflix is quickly working on editing the number out of any scenes where it appears in the show. However, it seems like a situation where the damage is already done.

"Together with the production company, we are working to resolve this matter, including editing scenes with phone numbers where necessary," a Netflix spokesperson said. The streaming giant also politely asked viewers to stop phoning the number.

However, it's not just one person that has been affected by the telephone number leak. The Korea Times reports that another individual with a number that is only one digit off the one shown in the series is also receiving tons of unwanted calls.

"The stress from incessant prank calls is driving me crazy," said the unnamed person.

Reuters asked Netflix if it would compensate the phone number owner, but it refused to comment. It also noted that the woman indicated that she was offered one million won ($839) in compensation but refused it and was later offered up to 5 million won ($4,196). However, Reuters did not indicate if Netflix Korea or some other entity put forth the compensation.

Permalink to story.

 

VitalyT

Posts: 6,028   +6,390
Netflix is quickly working on editing the number out of any scenes where it appears in the show
That's not gonna help anyone now, a year too late it is.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,164   +205
If it were me I'd have netflix pay me 10 grand for my hassle and get myself a new "nicer" number. and then I'd have the phone number auctioned (if it's legal in korea) for charity.

let's face it, genie's out of the bottle. there's no way you can keep using the same number in peace. now it's spam calls that's coming, soon it's gonna be an endless waves of spam texts I reckon.
 

Adorerai

Posts: 93   +57
She should use that number for marketing or something. Sell some merch, sell the numbers, make a few bucks off the callers.
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,891   +2,271
867-5309
I would of HATED to be someone with that number, when that song/MTV was popular!

One of the machines I work on, the enginners that programmed it, must have been a fan
of that song. The service password, for over 15 years was 8675309
 

brucek

Posts: 941   +1,363
How free from any meaning must someone's life be that they call a phone number they see on TV?
Pretty often when producers include an actionable destination like phone number, website, email, etc it is a link to bonus content. So while I guess you could argue that TV itself is often devoid of any meaning, following the breadcrumb isn't that much different from watching the main show and it least it indicates some level of active engagement and enjoyment.

Years ago when an acquaintance of mine was graduating from law school and sending out resumes to law firms, he included on a lark the implied address of a fictional law firm at the center of a big TV show at a time. I don't know if they had an official program to to this, but he got back a really funny rejection notice signed by the fictional senior partner. He had it framed.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,732   +1,788
TechSpot Elite
Pretty often when producers include an actionable destination like phone number, website, email, etc it is a link to bonus content. So while I guess you could argue that TV itself is often devoid of any meaning, following the breadcrumb isn't that much different from watching the main show and it least it indicates some level of active engagement and enjoyment.

Years ago when an acquaintance of mine was graduating from law school and sending out resumes to law firms, he included on a lark the implied address of a fictional law firm at the center of a big TV show at a time. I don't know if they had an official program to to this, but he got back a really funny rejection notice signed by the fictional senior partner. He had it framed.
I still think it's silly, but I have to say you have shown me another view that my stubborn, sometimes self-absorbed side didn't consider. (y) (Y) to you brother.
 

Markoni35

Posts: 1,318   +534
She should make it a pay number, say $5 per minute. And install a chatbot that keeps the caller busy for a few minutes. It's a gold mine.
 

RaXelliX

Posts: 26   +27
She should make it a pay number, say $5 per minute. And install a chatbot that keeps the caller busy for a few minutes. It's a gold mine.
A better choice would a phone that supports call whitelisting. That way only predetermined numbers can call her. All others are automatically blocked.