Over the years, my fellow phone losers and I have had countless hours of fun by monitoring cordless telephone conversations.
Years ago it was a simple task to tune into a cordless phone conversation. You could simply tune in your police scanner (available at Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, etc) and listen to anyone within a 2 block radius. These days it's not so easy.
Back in the 80's, your only choice in cordless phones were the 10 Channel models which worked in the 43 - 44 megahertz (MHz) range. Once the 10 channel cordless phone starting becoming a popular household item, they came out with 25 channel phones, where they added an extra 15 channels to the existing 10. Both 10 and 25 channel phones can be picked up on just about any police scanner without any modifications. You simply tune your scanner to the following frequencies:
|Channel 1||43.720 MHz||48.760 MHz|
|Channel 2||43.740 MHz||48.840 MHz|
|Channel 3||43.820 MHz||48.860 MHz|
|Channel 4||43.840 MHz||48.920 MHz|
|Channel 5||43.920 MHz||49.000 MHz|
|Channel 6||43.960 MHz||49.080 MHz|
|Channel 7||44.120 MHz||49.100 MHz|
|Channel 8||44.160 MHz||49.160 MHz|
|Channel 9||44.180 MHz||49.200 MHz|
|Channel 10||44.200 MHz||49.240 MHz|
|Channel 11||44.320 MHz||49.280 MHz|
|Channel 12||44.360 MHz||49.360 MHz|
|Channel 13||44.400 MHz||49.400 MHz|
|Channel 14||44.460 MHz||49.480 MHz|
|Channel 15||44.480 MHz||49.500 MHz|
|Channel 16||46.610 MHz||49.670 MHz|
|Channel 17||46.630 MHz||49.845 MHz|
|Channel 18||46.670 MHz||49.860 MHz|
|Channel 19||46.710 MHz||49.770 MHz|
|Channel 20||46.730 MHz||49.875 MHz|
|Channel 21||46.770 MHz||49.830 MHz|
|Channel 22||46.830 MHz||49.890 MHz|
|Channel 23||46.870 MHz||49.930 MHz|
|Channel 24||46.930 MHz||49.990 MHz|
|Channel 25||46.970 MHz||49.970 MHz|
As you see, there is a frequency for both the base and the handset of the phone but you should only need to program in the base since that picks up both sides. If you program in the handset, usually you'll only hear one side of the conversation but sometimes when they're finished with their call, you can still hear what's going on inside their house. The sound quality usually isn't too great, though. Channels 1 through 25 are the 25 channel phone freqs (of course) and channels 16 through 25 are the original 10 channel freqs.
At some point during the 1990's they came out with 900 MHz cordless phones. Since most cheap scanners didn't pick up anything in the 900 MHz range, these were considered "secure" by the cordless phone companies. Scanner companies began making scanners that picked up these 900 MHz frequencies, but that was soon outlawed. Today it's still illegal in the United States to sell a scanner that picks up 900 MHz cordless phones. But you can find them in Canada or on Ebay if you really want one.
Unfortunately for cordless phone listeners, most people are going with 2.4 or 5.8 gigahertz (GHz) phones these days. It's hard to find too many people still using the old 10 and 25 channel phones since they usually don't offer modern features like flash buttons and caller ID. At the very least, the average home phone user has a 900 MHz phone or better. The days of listening in on cordless phones seems to be numbered. But you can still try!
Below are some transcripts of actual telephone calls, showing some of the chaos we used to cause with cordless phone users.
The most well-known cordless phone story is the story of a cordless phone user named Dino Allsman, who we managed to turn into an internet celebrity with just one night of monitoring. Be sure to read that story. But here are more transcripts for your enjoyment...
- HIM: So you got your pictures back or not?
- HER: Well, we got the proofs from Sears when we had them
taken but I don't have the money to purchase them yet.
- HIM: Bummer.
- HER: I was thinking of just taking the proofs down to the
copy shop and having color copies made & getting them
blown up and stuff.
- HIM: Well, you can't do that because there's a copyright
on the proofs and I doubt the copy shop would do that
- HER: Oh, like they'd care. It's self-service so they won't
- HIM: Heh.
- HER: I don't know if they'd come out very good if we enlarged
them that way, though. ...Hold on, I got another call...
- HIM: Alright.
- ME: Yes, this is Steve from the Copy Super Center downtown.
- HER: Yes?
- ME: Well, I'll be blunt with you. We know all about your
dishonest ploy involving the copyright infringement of your
photographs from Sears. This is just a friendly warning,
but you'd better stay the hell out of our store and take
your illegal activities elsewhere.
- HER: Who is this?
- ME: I told you, I'm Steve from the Copy Center here in town.
We'll have the feds staking out the store front so don't
even think about trying to make copies of your kids'
photographs here. *click*
- HER: *click* Oh my god, are you there, Shane?
- HIM: Yeah, I'm here.
- HER: Shit, you're not gonna believe this...
- ME: Yes, this is Steve from the Copy Super Center downtown.
We were at a friend's house and I just happened to turn on the scanner when a guy was reading off all of his personal information including his name, address, phone number and creidt card number. I missed the name and address but that didn't matter. I wrote down his phone number and it turned out that he was ordering a magazine subscription over the phone - one of those hunter manly-type magazines or something. So they say their goodbyes and hang up. I immediately call him back and use my deep, manly hunter voice.
- ME: Yes, this is John from the subscription office. I'm just calling back
because we're having problems verifying your credit card number.
- HIM: You mean it's not going through?
- ME: I mean we're having problems because you're a stupid shit for subscribing
to a boring magazine like that so we're going to make you happier by
changing the subscription to MAD magazine instead.
- HIM: I-
- ME: Have a nice day. *click*
The poor guy must have taken the whole thing seriously because he called back
the subscription office and started explaining that he really wanted the
magazine he ordered. The lady who answered was the same lady who took his
order and was baffled by his story. "We don't even sell Mad magazine here."
So they go on and on and on about how somebody must have tapped their office
phones and somebody is listening in and getting everyone's credit card numbers
and the guy is convinced that is must be one of those activists who are
against hunting as a sport. I would have called him while he was talking to
the lady but the idiot didn't have call waiting.
After he hangs up with her, he calls the phone company and explains his
problem to her. She asks if maybe he has a cordless phone and he says yes but
there's no way anybody could listen in because it's a special scrambled
security phone. Actually, it was just a ten channel cordless phone that
switches channels each time a new call is placed. All cordless phones try to
make you feel safe by throwing those important sounding words on the box.
A lady calls GTE to tell them that when she's having problems connecting to
her work's computer system with her laptop. GTE says they'll have to upgrade
her line status which will cost an extra $6.50 a month. Gee, that sounds like
a scam to me. After she gets off the phone, of course I have to call her.
- HER: Hello?
- ME: Hi, this is Steve with GTE repair. I understand you're having some
problems with your computer connections?
- HER: (Begins to explain her problems to me...)
- ME: Hmmmm, well, a line upgrade might not be neccessary. What brand of
computer are you using?
- HER: It's a Toshiba laptop.
- ME: Ah! That's you're problem right there. We've had this before.
- HER: What's that?
- ME: A Toshiba. That's a fucking piece of shit of a computer you own. Throw
the fucking thing in the god damned garbage can a buy yourself a new
- HER: (laughs) Well-
- ME: *click*
She sits on the phone for a minute, then hangs up. Then she dials "0".
- OPERATOR: GTE, may I help you?
- HER: (sounds REALLY pissed) I need to talk to your supervisor.
- OPERATOR: Please hold.
She ends up getting transfered to the billing office where she yells at the
people there. They ask if she's on a cordless phone perhaps and she replies
yes. The operator advises her to unplug her cordless phone and not to use it
anymore. Right them she switches phones and I never hear from her again.
I turned on the scanner and an old man was talking to some catalog company and
ordering a jacket for his son-in-law. He read off his full information which
included his Discover card and his son's information for shipping. After he
hung up, I immediately called him:
- HIM: Hello?
- ME: Yes, this is Jim from the shipping department. We're having a little
trouble with the jacket you ordered?
- HIM: Yes?
- ME: Well, you wanted the Dark Navy Teil and we seem to be out of that color
so we're going to have to substitute it with Turquoise.
- HIM: What color is that?
- ME: It's kind of a day-glow blue color. Very pantsy-looking.
- HIM: I don't think I'd want that color...
- ME: Well, you don't have a choice. That's what we're shipping. (During all
this I'm cracking up and I keep having to hold down the mute button so I
- HIM: (muttering) Let's see what else you have here...
- ME: No, I said we're sending you the pantsy color and that's what you're
getting. We also don't have the 35" sleaves so you're going to have to
settle for a 10". Sorry.
- HIM: What?
- ME: And this is also going to cost a little more on your Discover card. (At
this point I slam down the phone because I'm laughing so hard.)
As soon as he realizes I've hung up, he calls back the catalog company and
gives them his information and explains to them what just happened. The lady
at the company doesn't know what to think and says she'll ask her supervisor
and call back if there were any changes in the order. After that call, I call
his son-in-law. He's not there so I get to talk to his wife instead.
- ME: So this is Mrs. xxx?
- HER: Yes it is.
- ME: Well, your father just placed an order with us and we're out of the color
he wanted so we just wanted to let you know that we've substituted it
with a very girly-looking light blue color with yellow polka dots and
this will only increase the charge on his Discover card by a mere $25.
- HER: Yeah, right. (chuckles) I can tell you right now that my husband won't
want that color.
- ME: Well, it's not his decision, is it? His polka-dot coat will arrive there
sometime before January 21st. Thank you for ordering with us.
About this time, the old man calls up his daughter and they swap stories and
think that this is really all kind of strange. The old man calls the catalog
company once again to tell them his new story. They have no clue and tell him
that his order hasn't been touched. Unfortunately, this is a very calm old man
and he doesn't yell or anything which made it quite boring.
After awhile he stops using the phone and I get really bored. I remember that
the first time he called, he told the lady he was shipping it to his daughter's
house because he was going on a vacation in Hawaii. So I called him again:
- HIM: Hello.
- ME: Yes, this is Kahoona Jim from the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce. I under-
stand that you're planning on vacationing down here in a few weeks?
- HIM: Yes, I am.
- ME: Well, I'm just calling to inform you that we don't want you here and not
to come to Hawaii. Maybe you could vacation in Kansas instead.
- HIM: No, I've already bought plane tickets to Hawaii.
- ME: Well, you're gonna have to get a refund on those. You're not welcome here.
- HIM: Why not?
- ME: Because you might interfere with the hoola girls dancing or something.
- HIM: (starts giving me an old man laugh) Well, I'm commin' anyway.
- ME: Well, I'll just have my supervisor meet you at the airport and tell you
to go home! *click*
Lack of cordless activity in your area got you down? Sick of flipping through
your scanner's cordless phone channels only to hear a couple of them in use,
usually by old ladies talking about their bladder problems? Well cheer up
because your listening pleasure is about to get a lot more exciting where you
The reason your police scanner is so boring is because not enough people in
your neighborhood take advantage of the modern convenience of a cordless
phone. Hopefully this file will help your neighbors overcome this problem and
bring your city out of the dark ages, spawning a whole new world of fun for
scanner buffs all over town.
Getting to Know Your Neighbors:
First of all you need to figure out which of your neighbors need to get
cordless phones. Any inexpensive scanner will pick up a 2-3 block range, even
further if you invest in an antenna to mount on top of your house. (Or you tap
into the next door neighbor's 80 foot CB antenna.) Find a map of your city,
usually located in the front of your phone book. Using the map, figure out
which houses you could pick up on your scanner if they owned cordless phones.
Now tromp on over to the public library and ask to borrow the reverse-search
directory for your city. Going street by street, write down the name, address
and phone number of every house within a 3 block radius of your own house.
Now that you have this list of names, you must do everything in your power to
make sure that these people purchase cordless phones. Let's say to start out,
you're just going to take care of the people on your own block and that
includes six houses. It's a small block, okay?
House #1: Stake out their house and whenever they go somewhere, follow them.
Continue to do this until they take a trip to Wal-Mart, or another department
store that sells cordless phones. This may take several weeks to accomplish
but will be well worth it in the end.
Go into the electronics section of Wal-Mart and pick out the least expensive
cordless phone on the shelf. Tell the cashier that you're going to pay for it
at the front. If she objects, mace her and run away with the phone. Now follow
your target all over the store, paying close attention to what they buy. If
they don't happen to buy a cordless phone, walk by their cart and casually
toss the phone into their cart.
Hopefully they won't notice this and won't think anything of the cashier
charging them an extra $30 - $40. Stand out in front of the store and when
they walk out the door, run over and grab the receipt out of their bag, then
take off. This way they won't be able to get a refund on the phone.
When they get home, they will see the phone and think, "Hey, I didn't buy a
cordless phone. They must have put it in my bag by mistake." They will try to
be sneaky and keep the cordless phone, thinking they really pulled one over on
Even better would be to cut the UPC box off of the back of a candy bar, steal
some glue and glue the candy bar UPC over the cordless phone's UPC so the
cashier will ring up about 59 cents for the phone. Oh no, she won't notice
this at all.
House #2: Some people own cordless phones but they rarely use them because
the other phones in the house are more conveniently located. Hang out on their
sidewalk, inconspicuously playing hop-scotch or some other innocent-looking
game so as not to draw any undue attention to yourself. Wait for your
neighbors to leave.
When they finally leave, break into their house and take note of where all of
their phones are located. Rearrange the location of all the phones so that
their cordless phone will be in the spot where it will get the most use.
An even better idea would be to steal all of their other non-cordless phones
so that they would have no choice but to use the cordless one. If you feel bad
about stealing their phones, bring a supply of cordless phones with you and
replace all of their old phones with cordless's.
House #3: Get a t-shirt and use a permanent marker to write "Phone Upgrade
Committee" in big letters on the front so you'll look official. Now take your
driver's license or student ID card, white out the "ID Card" part and pencil
in the letters "Phone Upgrade Committee" so that you'll have an ID incase
you're carded. You can also use this ID to get beer at 7-Elevens.
Go to their door and explain to the lady that you're with the Phone Upgrade
Committee in case she doesn't know how to read your shirt. Now comes the social
engineering part. A conversation will usually go like this:
*knock knock* HER: Yes? YOU: Hello, ma'am, I'm with the Federal Telephone Upgrade Committee and it's come to our attention by an anonymous source that the equipment inside your house may not be up to standards. May I have a look around? HER: Why yes, of course you may. Nose around her house a bit and pretend to be taking notes. YOU: Well, ma'am, it does seem that two of your telephones are not up to code. The one in the kitchen and the one in the bedroom are both in very hazardous conditions. HER: Hazardous? YOU: Yes, the new Telecom Bill of 1995 states that no phone in the house should have any visible wiring around it, meaning that you have no choice but to go buy a cordless phone right now. By owning these old phones you're clogging up the phone lines and using up resources that could cost lives if there were an emergency. HER: I had no idea... YOU: Well, I've heard that one before. Since this is your first offense, I'm only going to write you a warning but I will have to visit you again in 48 hours to ensure that you've upgraded your equipment. You'll need to buy standard 10 or 25 channel cordless phones on both of those lines.
House #4: Call up your neighbor and say in a really fast voice, "Hi, this is
Ken McCarthy from KPLA radio and you're live on the air! You've got a chance
to win one of ten fabulous prizes this morning if you can answer our trivia
question. Are you ready!?! ...Okay, now listen carefully...what time is it
right now? You've got ten seconds..." - "Uh... 10:43?" - "You're absolutely
correct!!! You've just won yourself a brand new state of the art cordless
telephone! How do you feel??!"
Go on like that for awhile, take down his name and address so it'll sound
official, then use a stolen credit card and mail-order a cordless phone to his
house. Hopefully he won't think anything of the invoice attached to the box.
A good catalog to card a cordless phone from is Damark. Their phone number is
House #5: Get your little sister to dress up in her girl scout outfit and
start going door to door selling Girl Scout Cordless Phones really cheap. Most
people have a hard time saying no to little kids. If you don't have a little
sister, either kidnap one or dress up in the outfit yourself.
House #6: Call these people pretending to be a telemarketer selling cordless
phones. Keep going on and on and on until you sell one. If they hang up, call
back. Explain to them that this particular cordless phone has a feature called
annoyance block which blocks all incoming calls from all telemarketers. Tell
them the phones are earth-friendly. Tell them that 90% of the profits go to
help poor kids in New Jersey. If after a week of bartering them they still
won't buy a phone, ship one to them anyway, COD.
Cordless Returns - Tricking Employees:
In a few of the examples above, you replaced people's old rotary dial phones
with cordless phones. If this is something you cannot afford to do then you're
going to have no other choice but to scam Wal-Mart.
You've all heard of the old "turning your 2400 baud modem into a 28.8 baud
modem" trick where you buy a nice, modern modem, take it home and return your
2400 baud modem for the same price. Well, this also works with cordless phones
and is very easy to pull off.
First you'll need to buy a good supply of replacement antennas for cordless
phones from the nearest Radio Shack. Any kind will do, just get a lot of them.
Shoplifting is optional. Now go home and open your closet. If you've been
doing a good job at replacing your neighbors' phones then a pile of old crappy
phones will tumble out of the door when you open it.
Hopefully when you bought the cordless phones you saved the boxes and receipts.
Take one of the old crank phones and using black electrical tape, attach one
of the cordless phone antennas to the handset of the phone. Looks just like a
cordless phone now, doesn't it? If the black tape is noticeable, try using
multicolored electrical tape.
Now shove the phone into one of the cordless phone boxes, find the receipt and
take it back for a full refund. The refund lady should give you no problems
because if she opens the box and sees your "cordless" phone in there, she'll
have no reason not to believe you. If the phone is bigger than the box, just
shove it in sideways or something and if the box bulges just tell the lady
that you couldn't figure out how to get it in there. If you have a large
enough assortment of phones and boxes, though, this shouldn't be too much of a
Feel free to post your own comments about this page below. If you'd prefer to make a general comment about phonelosers.org, try signing our guestbook instead.
12/28/05 - Me from Somewhere, US: Can any analog phone be monitored with a scanner capable of receiving FM transmissions?
11/30/05 - ashley from ontario,canada: While attempting to find something remotely interesting on the internet, i came across PLA...it's so funny!!! my fav is the blue christmas bows....let me transfer you to ssseeeaaasssoonnnaallll!!! rock on PLA!
11/25/05 - Ed from England: Very funny im gonna try it myself and do something like the Dino thing
10/28/05 - Kevin from Memphis: I dig the site i hate mci phone sevice get smart out there to do whatever you want to do soon we all should use a radio scanner for phone service
10/10/05 - InaNe from trailer park: Holy shit, the PLA is the best 'zine i have ever read and it makes me laugh my ass off everytime i read it.
10/07/05 - Bow wow wow from upinya: If they have the wright to beam x-rays thru the atmosphere and my body than i have the wright to intersept and listen to those waves
08/30/05 - madmike from USA: You can increase the range of scanner reception on all freq by hooking it up to the TV antenna. It's a little directional, but if your barely hearing good stuff on the back side, try a rotator. I am pulling reception from up to a mile or two.
08/03/05 - eure mom from momstown, eure mom: how can you pick up 2.4 ghz phones? how can you pick up Cell Phones? i can pick up my V-Tech 900 mhz telephone at about 905.600 and i wanna pick up my other 2.4 ghz phone but i dont know the freqs. and i dont know what kinda scanner you need.
07/14/05 - LSK from Chicago: They're the PLA, of course they're losers. And they know that this is illegal. But it's fun. Does anyone know where a web page is that tells me how to set up my own scanner?
07/13/05 - mike from cleveland: keep eavesdroping,trust me,your being listened to also
06/24/05 - vi from tallahassee: omfg u guys i think i need some meds for my laugher. im for real i cant fcuking stop laughing. how much r scanners?!?!?!
06/13/05 - 1 hot Mama from Canada: thanks for freaking me out - I'll never order a pizza again! Asshole!
06/12/05 - qwijibow from nosgoth: wow, most kids grow out of prank calls when there 14ish
06/01/05 - Xeron from Auzzie: this is soo cool!!!
05/07/05 - can from turkey: you guys r extremely perfect ? loved u guys
02/18/05 - doug from new york : found out that my neighbor is a prostitute
02/14/05 - Eric from Minnesota: Ours is a 900Mhz Panasonic. I can pick it up on my radio at about 903.13Mhz
02/07/05 - Derek from Port Orchard: ah ha ha ha...
01/27/05 - colin from australia : i nearly wet myself laughing this is soooooo funny
01/13/05 - Joel from Australia: How do you scan digital spread spectrum cordless phones?
01/12/05 - Chris from MA: You all need to lighten up...this is funny shit
01/02/05 - Assclown from Uranus: So how is it that not only do you hear these people but somehow get all of their phone numbers too? And none of these people have caller ID?
12/16/04 - Brad from Auckland, New Zealand: This has to be some of the funniest shit I have heard in ages. It inspires me to do the same. Awesome
12/10/04 - garbodelrefuse from ohio: ha! hilarious! that old man got p0wn3d!!! screw you old man!
12/06/04 - Jerm from Georgia: Kevin from NC ur the loser bro
11/29/04 - Matt from PA: I love scanning.......fuck you Kevin from NC,,,,,PLA forever!!!
11/23/04 - jetsetkid from where ever: to listen to 900mhz phones you need a older 900mhz phone mine is a sony and a wireless headset the kind you hook up to your music player so you can walk around the house naked and dance, anyways if you put the phone against the headset and scramble through the tunning you can pick up conversations. Well it worked for me!
11/10/04 - kevin from North Carolina: You people are really A bunch of losers. Your taking easdropping to an extreme and infact illegal.