I live in France. About 5-10 times, once every 1-2 months, I receive an automated computerized call that listens to me say "hello" there is silence for 5 seconds, and then there is a voice recording of a British woman saying "good-bye".

If it isn't a sales call or a phishing call, then what is this kind of call? Why do I receive this call with a UK automated voice from France on a French ISP landline number?

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    I think they have a list of numbers that they want to keep up-to-date. When they call you and you pick up, they know the number is active. It's just a guess. But if its true, why the hell they wont send a sms and wait for delivery report? I have never heard something like that before. Try searching the number on google maybe?
    – Batuhan
    Jun 1, 2015 at 11:49
  • @Batuhan: Landlines cannot get SMS. Jun 1, 2015 at 12:12
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    @curious_cat They can in Canada, carriers here do a text-to-speech conversion and deliver the SMS to your voicemail. Jun 1, 2015 at 12:27
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    Maybe you are saying "Allo" or "Bonjour", instead of "Hello"? The machine might be programmed IF greeting=="Hello" THEN main() ELSE endcall().
    – dotancohen
    Jun 1, 2015 at 14:05
  • @dotancohen I doubt they are translating to parse the language - it's simply listening for non-phone equipment noise
    – schroeder
    Jun 1, 2015 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


We get these too in Australia. The consensus in the Internet seems to be that these are automated calls from cold call telemarketers. These automated callers calls random numbers and wait for the call to be received. When you pick up the phone, what's supposed to happen is that your call will then be routed to the next available telemarketer agent within a few seconds. In this case however, what happens is that at the time you picked up, there is no agents available, so the auto-caller waits a few more seconds for the agent to pick up, and finally gives up and plays the "Goodbye" message and disconnects.


Another option is that they are waiting for someone to call back, intrigued by the mysterious call. The original phone number is actually a premium-rate number, so they profit from these calls by confused people. I know this has happened in Spain (link in Spanish).

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    Perhaops @ufomorace could provide the first few digits of the number and see if it is premium rate
    – Freiheit
    Jun 1, 2015 at 15:23
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    If that were true they should at the very least say something more tempting like 'I am calling to tell you that your order is ready to be picked up'. That would make 10 times as many people call back.
    – Jeff
    Jun 1, 2015 at 16:43
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    @Jeff I'm not discussing the optimality of these scam calls. I know for certain that is true, since I myself received one and checked the number. The second link I give is a news article about Spanish national consumer association reporting exactly this.
    – cygnusv
    Jun 2, 2015 at 7:09

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