What Is a Phantom Text Message?

Teenage girl with cell phone

The term "phantom text message" applies to two aspects of text messaging, both of which result in the mistaken assumption that an incoming text message has arrived on your mobile phone. One of these aspects is due to a malfunction of the mobile phone, while the other is due to the phone user's imagination.

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Malfunction

A phantom text message that is the result of a mobile phone's malfunction appears when checking your device for incoming messages. In these situations, the phone's indicator reports there is an incoming message, but attempting to access the incoming message shows there is no message after all. Sometimes, these types of messages come on the tail of an actual incoming message. For example, if a text message arrives while you are reading another text message, the incoming message indicator activates, reporting an incoming message. If you read the newer message before leaving the text message box, the indicator may remain activated even after you leave the message inbox. Re-entering the message box usually fixes this glitch.

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Imagination

A phantom text message that is the result of a mobile phone user's imagination occurs when the user thinks he feels his mobile phone's vibration setting alerting him about an incoming message, when, in fact, there is no message. Users who experience this type of message usually have the phone set on vibration mode and rely on the vibration of the phone to monitor their incoming messages. Although most people who use their mobile phone's vibration feature do so in an attempt to keep the device from becoming a distraction, they often find the arrival of phantom text messages disruptive.

If your phone frequently alerts you of incoming phantom text messages that aren't there, your phone may be experiencing technical difficulties that can be remedied. Uninstalling the messaging application and then reinstalling it can provide the needed fix for this type of phantom text message issue. Get into the habit of using your phone's audible message indicator setting to break the habit of relying on the device's vibration setting.

Similar Message Type

A less frequent and similar type of phantom text message is one that arrives in your inbox but has no content. This type of message is caused by a person who is sending you a text message and is the result of the person sending the message before entering any text. Unlike the other types of phantom text messages, these types of messages exist, but they are devoid of any content.

  • Urban Dictionary: Phantom Text Message

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Phantom text messages were sent around the country last night

Christian de Looper

Did you get a strange text from a known number early this morning? Apparently, so did a number of other people. According to posts from Reddit and Twitter , a number of phantom texts from February 14 were re-sent to their recipients. These texts can’t be seen on the senders’ phones — only on the recipients’ devices.

According to one report from a Maine radio station , the issue was caused by a glitch in an update to a cross-carrier messaging system, causing some people to receive early-morning messages. The issue does not seem to have been related to one carrier — with reports having emerged related to users on Verizon, Google Fi, U.S. Cellular, and more.

The issue could have been related to the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative, which is set to start rolling out soon, and will improve group messages when sending photos and videos. The system was developed by all four major U.S. carriers.

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There are conflicting reports as to whether the texts are being sent for a second time, or if they never made it to the recipient in the first place. According to a report from The Verge , some reports indicate that users never received the texts in the first place, however, some users suggest that the messages are duplicates of messages originally sent on February 14 — Valentine’s Day.

We’ve reached out to Verizon and Google and will update this article if we hear back.

It doesn’t seem as though the issue was related to one single text, either. One Reddit user noted that they received three messages from their boyfriend, all from February 14.

Of course, the issue may have caused confusion for some, but will have been a little more consequential for others. For example, according to a report from The Verge , some users received messages supposedly from dead friends and relatives.

Generally speaking, if you received a message, or are being accused of having sent one such message, there’s little reason to worry about hacking or a privacy issue of any kind — beyond the fact that carriers may be storing your messages longer than you want. Hopefully, the issue has been resolved and you won’t receive any messages going forward.

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Christian de Looper

During CES 2024 in Las Vegas, Google announced a collaboration with Samsung to make file-sharing easier through a new feature called Quick Share. This feature is designed to create a unified cross-Android solution, enabling seamless sharing of files within the Android and Chromebook ecosystems. Additionally, Google intends to pre-install the Quick Share app on Windows PCs, further expanding its reach.

A list of nearby devices will appear when you tap the Quick Share icon. You can then choose which files to share with whom without compromising your privacy. You have complete control over your phone's settings and can decide whether to share files with everyone, only your contacts, or just your own devices.

Google is bringing a great combination of features to Android Auto and cars with Google built-in, particularly for those who drive an EV.

Google Maps is adding more EV-centric features for those who use Android Auto from their connected phone. Starting with the Ford F-150 Lightning and Mach-E, you'll now see information on expected state of charge on arrival to your destination, as well as charging station locations and expected charging times for longer trips. This is a feature that's been available for EVs running Google built-in (aka Android Automotive), and in my experience, it's extremely helpful and helps alleviate charging anxiety. It's wonderful to see this brought to the much wider-reaching Android Auto version of Maps, and I hope it expands to more cars soon.

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First up is Fast Pair, which makes it simple to pair accessories like the Pixel Buds Pro to devices like an Android phone or Chromebook. Over the next month or so, Fast Pair support is expanding to Chromecast With Google TV. And it’ll expand even further later in the year to additional Google TV devices.

Phantom Text Messages Were Sent Around The Country Last Night

  • Mobile Phone
  • Tech Support & Troubleshooting

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Have you ever experienced the eerie feeling of receiving a text message from an unknown sender, only to find out that countless others across the country had received the same mysterious message? This phenomenon, known as phantom text messages, has been making waves recently, leaving people puzzled and intrigued. These unexplained messages seem to appear out of thin air, causing confusion and curiosity among recipients. What could be the source of these ghostly texts, and why are they being sent? In this article, we will delve deep into the world of phantom text messages, exploring their origins, possible explanations, and the impact they have on our daily lives. Get ready to uncover the secrets behind these elusive digital messages!

Inside This Article

The phenomenon of phantom text messages, reports of phantom text messages, possible explanations for the phantom text messages.

Phantom text messages, a mysterious and perplexing occurrence, have been causing a stir across the country. Individuals from various regions have reported receiving text messages that they did not initiate or intend to send. These phantom messages seem to materialize out of thin air, leaving both recipients and telecommunication experts bewildered.

The phenomenon of phantom text messages has raised numerous questions and sparked intense curiosity among mobile phone users. People are eager to understand how and why these mysterious messages are appearing on their devices. Is it a glitch in the system? A prank? Or something more unusual?

Reports of phantom text messages have flooded social media platforms and discussion forums, with users recounting their confusing experiences. Some have shared screenshots of text conversations that display messages they claim to have never sent. Others have received replies to messages they never composed in the first place, leaving them baffled by the apparent communication from their own phone numbers.

Telecommunication companies and experts have been diligently investigating these reports to identify the cause behind the phantom text messages phenomenon. So far, no definitive explanation has been found, leading to further speculation and intrigue.

One theory suggests that these phantom messages could be the result of technical glitches within the mobile network infrastructure. It’s possible that a malfunction in the system is causing messages to be rerouted or duplicated without the user’s knowledge or consent.

Another possibility is that the phantom text messages are the work of pranksters or hackers. With advancements in technology, it has become increasingly feasible for individuals to manipulate and exploit mobile devices. These individuals may be sending fabricated messages to confuse and cause disruptions for unsuspecting recipients.

It’s also essential to consider the potential impact of software bugs or malware. Malicious software could be infecting certain mobile devices and generating these phantom text messages as a means of gathering information or causing chaos in the digital realm.

Whatever the cause may be, the phenomenon of phantom text messages continues to perplex both users and experts alike. As technology evolves, new challenges and anomalies arise, and it is crucial for telecommunication companies to address and resolve these issues promptly.

Over the past few months, there have been numerous reports of an unusual phenomenon in which people claim to have received “phantom” text messages on their mobile phones. These messages appear to be from unknown senders and often contain cryptic or nonsensical content.

The recipients of these phantom text messages are left perplexed and puzzled, as they have no recollection of sending or receiving any such messages. In some cases, the messages contain bizarre combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols that make no coherent sense.

What makes these phantom text messages even more intriguing is that they seem to be sent simultaneously to multiple recipients across different geographies. People from various parts of the country have reported receiving identical texts at the same time, despite not knowing each other or having any connection.

These reports of phantom text messages have generated a considerable amount of curiosity and concern among mobile phone users. Many have taken to social media platforms to share their experiences and seek answers from others who may have encountered similar situations. The mystery surrounding these messages has sparked intense discussions and debates, with people speculating about supernatural explanations, government experiments, or even glitches in the mobile network.

Despite the growing number of reports, mobile network providers have remained relatively silent on the issue. Some users have reached out to their service providers to investigate and find an explanation, but responses have been limited and inconclusive. As a result, people are left wondering if there is a technical glitch or if there is something more mysterious at play.

It is important to note that while these reports of phantom text messages may seem alarming, there have been no known instances of harm or danger caused by these messages. They appear to be more of a perplexing and intriguing anomaly rather than a malicious attempt to deceive or harm individuals.

As mobile phone users continue to share their experiences and search for answers, the phenomenon of phantom text messages remains shrouded in mystery. Whether it is a technical glitch, a prank, or something beyond our current understanding, only time will reveal the truth behind these bizarre occurrences.

The phenomenon of phantom text messages has left many people puzzled and curious as to what may be causing it. While there is no definitive answer, there are several possible explanations that can shed some light on this mysterious occurrence. Let’s explore some of the potential reasons for the phenomenon:

1. Network Glitches: One possible explanation is that network glitches or technical issues within the cellular network infrastructure could be causing these phantom text messages. These glitches could result in messages being sent to unintended recipients or appearing as if they were sent from a different number altogether.

2. Software Bugs: Another possibility is that software bugs in messaging apps or the operating systems of mobile phones could be responsible for the phantom text messages. These bugs could cause messages to be inadvertently sent or displayed incorrectly, leading to the appearance of phantom texts.

3. Spam or Phishing Attempts: It’s also worth considering the possibility that the phantom text messages are part of spam or phishing attempts. Cybercriminals may be using innovative techniques to send out mass messages or deceive recipients into clicking on malicious links. These messages might be designed to appear as normal texts but are actually sent without the user’s knowledge or consent.

4. Cross-Platform Compatibility Issues: In today’s interconnected world, people often use different messaging apps and devices. It’s possible that compatibility issues between different platforms or devices can lead to the generation of phantom text messages. For instance, a message sent from one messaging app could be displayed as a phantom text on a different app or device.

5. User Error: While less likely, it’s important to consider the possibility of user error. Sometimes, people may unintentionally send messages to incorrect recipients or experience technical glitches when using their devices. These errors could lead to the creation of phantom text messages that appear mysterious but have a simple explanation.

6. Pranks or Hoaxes: Lastly, the phenomenon of phantom text messages could be the result of pranks or hoaxes by individuals seeking to create confusion or amusement. These messages might be intentionally sent with the aim of baffling recipients or stirring up controversy.

It’s important to note that each of these explanations is speculative, and the true cause of phantom text messages may vary from case to case. To gain a better understanding, further investigation and analysis by mobile network providers, device manufacturers, and cybersecurity experts may be necessary.

For those experiencing phantom text messages, it is recommended to report the issue to their mobile service provider and exercise caution when responding to or interacting with suspicious messages.

Phantom text messages sent around the country last night raised alarm and confusion among millions of people. While the exact cause of these mysterious messages remains unknown, it highlights the inherent vulnerability of our modern-day communication systems. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining strong cybersecurity measures and ensuring the reliability of our technological infrastructure. Furthermore, it underscores the need for individuals to be cautious and vigilant in their digital interactions and to educate themselves about potential risks.

As we continue to rely heavily on our mobile devices for both personal and professional communication, it is crucial for users to stay informed about the latest security threats and to take appropriate measures to protect themselves. By adopting best practices such as using strong passwords, regularly updating software, and remaining cautious of suspicious links or messages, we can help mitigate the risks associated with potential security breaches.

Ultimately, the incident of phantom text messages serves as a wake-up call, prompting us to reassess our dependence on technology and the importance of maintaining a robust and secure digital ecosystem. It is essential for individuals, organizations, and policymakers to work together to address these vulnerabilities and ensure the safety and integrity of our communication networks.

Q: What are phantom text messages? Phantom text messages are SMS (Short Message Service) messages that are sent to mobile phones without the knowledge or consent of the recipient. These messages can appear on the phone as text messages from unknown numbers or even from contacts in the recipient’s address book.

Q: How widespread is the issue of phantom text messages? The issue of phantom text messages is relatively rare but not unheard of. There have been isolated incidents where texts were sent to multiple recipients across the country. However, it is important to note that these occurrences are not widespread and are often the result of technical glitches or network issues.

Q: What are the possible causes of phantom text messages? Phantom text messages can have various causes. One common reason is a technical glitch in the mobile network or the messaging system itself. In some cases, certain applications or software bugs may also be responsible for sending these phantom messages. It is also worth considering the possibility of hacking or unauthorized access to the messaging service.

Q: Are phantom text messages a security concern? While the phenomenon of phantom text messages can be alarming, they are generally not considered a significant security concern. However, if the messages contain malicious links or suspicious content, they could potentially be used as a means of phishing or spreading malware. It is always advisable to exercise caution and refrain from clicking on any unknown or suspicious links.

Q: What should I do if I receive a phantom text message? If you receive a phantom text message, the first step is to stay calm and avoid panicking. It is recommended to delete the message without opening or replying to it. If you notice a pattern or frequent occurrence of phantom messages, it is advisable to contact your mobile service provider and report the issue. They can investigate further and provide guidance on how to mitigate the problem.

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SpaceX and T-Mobile send the first text messages from orbiting Starlink satellites

Posted: January 11, 2024 | Last updated: January 11, 2024

SpaceX sent and received its first text messages sent via T-Mobile using its D2D (direct-to-device) Starlink satellites launched just over a week ago, the company announced . First revealed in August 2022 , the project aims to provide satellite internet connectivity to regular cell phones so that T-Mobile customers can stay online even when they're in a terrestrial dead zone. 

T-Mobile said that it aims to publicly launch text services with T-Mobile in 2024, with voice, data and IoT (internet of things) plans coming in 2025. Globally, SpaceX has partnered with Rogers in Canada, Australia's Optus, KDDI in Japan and others. 

The scheme requires larger, special versions of the Starlink satellites with D2D capability. SpaceX launched the first six of those on January 2, completing early tests with no issues. "On Monday, January 8, less than 6 days after launch, we sent and received our first text messages to and from unmodified cell phones on the ground to our new satellites in space using TMobile network spectrum... [indicating that] the system works," SpaceX wrote in a blog post. 

When the plan was announced, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said the technology is like putting a cellular tower in the sky. He added that it could one day eliminate dead zones, allowing people to easily get in touch with loved ones even if they're in the middle of the ocean. 

SpaceX said that the system, which uses LTE/4G (not 5G protocols) is a bit more complicated than cell towers in the sky, though. Since the satellites move at tens of thousands of miles per hour relative to the Earth, data must be handed off seamlessly between them. Doppler shift, timing delays and the relatively low transmission power of smartphones must also be accounted for. 

The two companies aren't the first to test such a system. Working with communications specialist AST SpaceMobile, AT&T successfully conducted the first two-way satellite audio call on its network in April, calling a number in Japan with a stock Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphone. AT&T also complained to the FCC that SpaceX and T-Mobile's plan was "woefully insufficient" regarding the risk of harmful interference to ground-based networks. 

SpaceX and T-Mobile send the first text messages from orbiting Starlink satellites

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What's behind Phantom Cell Phone Buzzes?

Many of us experience this phenomenon 

By Daniel J. Kruger & The Conversation

The following essay is reprinted with permission from  The Conversation , an online publication covering the latest research.

Have you ever experienced a phantom phone call or text? You’re convinced that you felt your phone vibrate in your pocket, or that you heard your ring tone. But when you check your phone, no one actually tried to get in touch with you.

You then might plausibly wonder: “Is my phone acting up, or is it me?”

Well, it’s probably you, and it could be a sign of just how attached you’ve become to your phone.

At least you’re not alone. Over 80 percent of college students we surveyed have experienced it . However, if it’s happening a lot – more than once a day – it could be a sign that you’re psychologically dependent on your cellphone.

There’s no question that cellphones are part of the social fabric in many parts of the world, and some people spend hours each day on their phones. Our research team recently found that most people will fill their downtime by fiddling with their phones. Others even do so in the middle of a conversation. And most people will check their phones within 10 seconds of getting in line for coffee or arriving at a destination.

Clinicians and researchers still debate whether excessive use of cellphones or other technology can constitute an addiction. It wasn’t included in the latest update to the DSM-5 , the American Psychiatric Association’s definitive guide for classifying and diagnosing mental disorders.

But given the ongoing debate , we decided to see if phantom buzzes and rings could shed some light on the issue.

A virtual drug?

Addictions are pathological conditions in which people compulsively seek rewarding stimuli, despite the negative consequences. We often hear reports about how cellphone use can be problematic for relationships and for developing effective social skills .

One of the features of addictions is that people become hypersensitive to cues related to the rewards they are craving. Whatever it is, they start to see it everywhere. (I had a college roommate who once thought that he saw a bee’s nest made out of cigarette butts hanging from the ceiling.)

So might people who crave the messages and notifications from their virtual social worlds do the same? Would they mistakenly interpret something they hear as a ring tone, their phone rubbing in their pocket as a vibrating alert or even think they see a notification on their phone screen – when, in reality, nothing is there?

A human malfunction

We decided to find out. From a tested survey measure of problematic cellphone use , we pulled out items assessing psychological cellphone dependency. We also created questions about the frequency of experiencing phantom ringing, vibrations and notifications. We then administered an online survey to over 750 undergraduate students.

Those who scored higher on cellphone dependency – they more often used their phones to make themselves feel better, became irritable when they couldn’t use their phones and thought about using their phone when they weren’t on it – had more frequent phantom phone experiences .

Cellphone manufacturers and phone service providers have assured us that phantom phone experiences are not a problem with the technology. As HAL 9000 might say, they are a product of “human error.”

So where, exactly, have we erred? We are in a brave new world of virtual socialization, and the psychological and social sciences can barely keep up with advances in the technology.

Phantom phone experiences may seem like a relatively small concern in our electronically connected age. But they raise the specter of how reliant we are on our phones – and how much influence phones have in our social lives.

How can we navigate the use of cellphones to maximize the benefits and minimize the hazards, whether it’s improving our own mental health or honing our live social skills? What other new technologies will change how we interact with others?

Our minds will continue to buzz with anticipation.

This article was originally published on  The Conversation . Read the original article .

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Such texting —

“such signal, much wow”: starlink’s first texts via “cellphone towers in space”, starlink's direct to cell satellites to fill in dead spots in t-mobile network..

Jon Brodkin - Jan 11, 2024 9:03 pm UTC

A batch of Starlink satellites prior to launch

SpaceX is showing off the first text messages sent between T-Mobile phones via one of Starlink's low Earth orbit satellites. "On Monday, January 8, the Starlink team successfully sent and received our first text messages using T-Mobile network spectrum through one of our new Direct to Cell satellites launched six days prior," a Starlink update said.

SpaceX last week launched the first six Starlink satellites that can provide cellular transmissions to standard LTE phones. The service from what Starlink calls "cellphone towers in space" is expected to provide text messaging sometime this year for customers of T-Mobile in the US and carriers in other countries, with voice and data service beginning sometime in 2025.

SpaceX posted a photo of the two iPhones that exchanged the texts, which included messages such as "Such signal" and "Much wow." The process that allowed those texts to be sent was pretty complicated, Starlink said.

"Connecting cell phones to satellites has several major challenges to overcome," Starlink said. "For example, in terrestrial networks cell towers are stationary, but in a satellite network they move at tens of thousands of miles per hour relative to users on Earth. This requires seamless handoffs between satellites and accommodations for factors like Doppler shift and timing delays that challenge phone to space communications."

Mobile phones have "low antenna gain and transmit power," making it "incredibly difficult" to communicate with satellites hundreds of kilometers away, the company said. But Starlink's new satellites "are equipped with innovative new custom silicon, phased array antennas, and advanced software algorithms that overcome these challenges and provide standard LTE service to cell phones on the ground."

The satellite-to-phone service should work just about anywhere on the planet, but there would be no point in using it when you can connect to a ground-based cellular tower. As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk pointed out , the limited bandwidth means that "it is not meaningfully competitive with existing terrestrial cellular networks."

T-Mobile said last week that field testing of Starlink satellites with the T-Mobile network will begin soon but did not announce a start date for actual service. T-Mobile said the Starlink connectivity will be useful in areas of the US where it has no coverage "due to terrain limitations, land-use restrictions," and other factors.

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Channel ars technica.

What’s behind phantom cellphone buzzes?

phantom text phone

Research Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

Disclosure statement

Daniel J. Kruger does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

University of Michigan provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

View all partners

phantom text phone

Have you ever experienced a phantom phone call or text? You’re convinced that you felt your phone vibrate in your pocket, or that you heard your ring tone. But when you check your phone, no one actually tried to get in touch with you.

You then might plausibly wonder: “Is my phone acting up, or is it me?”

Well, it’s probably you, and it could be a sign of just how attached you’ve become to your phone.

At least you’re not alone. Over 80 percent of college students we surveyed have experienced it . However, if it’s happening a lot – more than once a day – it could be a sign that you’re psychologically dependent on your cellphone.

There’s no question that cellphones are part of the social fabric in many parts of the world, and some people spend hours each day on their phones. Our research team recently found that most people will fill their downtime by fiddling with their phones. Others even do so in the middle of a conversation. And most people will check their phones within 10 seconds of getting in line for coffee or arriving at a destination.

Clinicians and researchers still debate whether excessive use of cellphones or other technology can constitute an addiction. It wasn’t included in the latest update to the DSM-5 , the American Psychiatric Association’s definitive guide for classifying and diagnosing mental disorders.

But given the ongoing debate , we decided to see if phantom buzzes and rings could shed some light on the issue.

A virtual drug?

Addictions are pathological conditions in which people compulsively seek rewarding stimuli, despite the negative consequences. We often hear reports about how cellphone use can be problematic for relationships and for developing effective social skills .

One of the features of addictions is that people become hypersensitive to cues related to the rewards they are craving. Whatever it is, they start to see it everywhere. (I had a college roommate who once thought that he saw a bee’s nest made out of cigarette butts hanging from the ceiling.)

So might people who crave the messages and notifications from their virtual social worlds do the same? Would they mistakenly interpret something they hear as a ring tone, their phone rubbing in their pocket as a vibrating alert or even think they see a notification on their phone screen – when, in reality, nothing is there?

A human malfunction

We decided to find out. From a tested survey measure of problematic cellphone use , we pulled out items assessing psychological cellphone dependency. We also created questions about the frequency of experiencing phantom ringing, vibrations and notifications. We then administered an online survey to over 750 undergraduate students.

Those who scored higher on cellphone dependency – they more often used their phones to make themselves feel better, became irritable when they couldn’t use their phones and thought about using their phone when they weren’t on it – had more frequent phantom phone experiences .

Cellphone manufacturers and phone service providers have assured us that phantom phone experiences are not a problem with the technology. As HAL 9000 might say, they are a product of “human error.”

So where, exactly, have we erred? We are in a brave new world of virtual socialization, and the psychological and social sciences can barely keep up with advances in the technology.

Phantom phone experiences may seem like a relatively small concern in our electronically connected age. But they raise the specter of how reliant we are on our phones – and how much influence phones have in our social lives.

How can we navigate the use of cellphones to maximize the benefits and minimize the hazards, whether it’s improving our own mental health or honing our live social skills? What other new technologies will change how we interact with others?

Our minds will continue to buzz with anticipation.

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Trials Project Lead

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Equitable Learning Advisor

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Director, Global Digital Farm

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Provost and Senior Vice-President, The Australian National University

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0113942 Associate Lecturer/Lecturer in Psychology (Identified) and Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Health (Identified)

The Phone That Wasn't There: 11 Things You Need to Know About Phantom Vibrations

No, "Phantom Vibrations" are not a terrible "Beach Boys Meet the Munsters Cover Tribute Band."

buzzmadrigal615.jpg

You're sitting at work. Your phone vibrates in your pocket. As you reach for it, you look up... and see your phone, sitting on the table.

You just experienced a phantom vibration.

A new study was released this week on the phenomenon. Led by IU-PU Fort Wayne's Michelle Drouin, it was published in the journal of Computers in Human Behavior. It's only the third study on this new phenomenon of the mobile age, so we can fairly say that these are the eleven things we know about phantom vibrations:

1. Many, many people experience phantom vibrations. 89 percent of the undergrad participants in this current study had felt phantom vibrations. In the two other studies on this in the literature -- a 2007 doctoral thesis, which surveyed the general population, and a 2010 survey of staff at a Massachusetts hospital -- majorities of participants experienced phantom vibrations.

2. They happen pretty often. The survey of undergrads and medical professionals agree: about ten percent experience phantom vibrations every day. 88 percent of the doctors, specifically, felt vibrations between a weekly and monthly basis.

3. If you use your phone more, you're more likely to feel phantom vibrations. The 2007 graduate study found that people who heard phantom rings roughly used twice as many minutes and sent five times as many texts as those who didn't.

4. No one's really bothered by them. 91 percent of the kids in this new study said the vibrations bothered them "a little" to "not at all." 93 percent of the hospital workers felt similarly, reporting themselves "slightly" to "not at all" bothered. But this is where age differences start kicking in, because:

5. Among those surveyed, working adults try to end the vibrations much more often than undergrads. More than eighty percent of the undergrads made no attempt to stop phantom vibrations. This doesn't match the hospital workers's number at all: almost two-thirds of them tried to get the vibrations to stop (and a majority of that set succeeded, though the sample gets so small lessons become unclear).

7. If you react strongly and emotionally to texts, you're more likely to experience phantom vibrations. Droulin's study found that a strong emotional reaction predicted how bothersome one finds phantom vibrations. Emotional reactions to texts have been researched before: in a 2008 study of Japanese high school students, it was found to be a key factor in text message dependence.

8. And that strong emotional reaction means personality traits given to emotional reactions correlate with increased phantom vibrations. People who react more emotionally to social stimuli of any type will react more emotionally to social texts. And people who react more emotionally to social stimuli can be sorted into two large groups (with the usual attached caveats about the usefulness of psychological groups): extroverts and neurotics. But they can be sorted into these two huge groups for two totally different reasons.

Extroverts have many friends and work hard to stay in touch with them. Social information carries more import for them because they care deeply about it, they're directed to it, and their regular emotional reaction to social stimuli carries over into texts. And since a strong emotional reaction to texts predicts increased phantom vibrations, it makes sense -- and indeed, it correlates -- that extroverts experience more phantom vibrations.

But what correlates stronger, across the board, are neurotic traits. Neurotics fret about their social relationships, they worry about texts and fear each might signal social doom. Droulin's study found that neurotic traits strongly correlated -- even more strongly than extroversion -- with an emotional reaction to texts.

9. But you can luck into fewer phantom vibrations. In this 2012 study, conscientious undergrads, capable of greater focus, reported fewer text messages than the rest of the undergrad population.

10. We don't have great ways to study this yet. The three main studies all depend on people self-reporting their own phantom vibrations when they're taking surveys. In all three cases, the researchers just gave surveys to people -- 320 in the 2007 doctoral study, 169 in the medical survey, and 290 in this newest study -- and asked them to remember. "[A]t present," write the new study's authors, "the technology does not exist to measure individuals' perceptions of phantom vibrations in 'real time.'" They hope to apply brain scanning techniques in the future, and also that better technology will come along which will make phantom vibration reporting possible -- perhaps this technology will rely on mobile technology itself.

11. Scientists don't seem to know whether this is a disease. The 2010 survey goes out of its way to declare "phantom text syndrome" a "Holy Roman Empire" involving neither phantoms nor syndromes. The newer study, though, classifies the perception of a vibration without the sensation of it a hallucination , and undertones, "typically hallucinations are associated with pathology." The study's authors wonder aloud if the doctors and nurses at the hospital were more eager to train themselves out of phantom vibrations because they worried about disease and abnormal symptoms, or because they were just old. And throughout the rest of literature, scientists have protested recently that aural hallucinations aren't a big deal, that they're not associated with a disease. The 2012 survey's authors compare phantom vibrations with hearing your name called when it wasn't.

Brains hiccup, they parse sense wrong, and the result is a phantom vibration. Write the authors:

Presumably, if individuals considered these imagined vibrations 'pathological tactile hallucinations,' they would feel bothered that they had them. Instead, it is likely that individuals consider these phantom vibrations a normal part of the human-mobile phone interactive experience.

PCMag editors select and review products independently . If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing .

  • SpaceX's Cellular Starlink Successfully Beams First Text Messages to Phones

After launching into orbit last week, one of the satellites transmits the text messages during a test using T-Mobile's spectrum.

Michael Kan

It works: SpaceX’s cellular Starlink system has successfully relayed text messages to and from smartphones on the ground. 

SpaceX announced the achievement today, a week after the company launched six Starlink satellites that are designed to operate as orbiting cell towers in space. "On Monday, January 8, less than 6 days after launch, we sent and received our first text messages to and from unmodified cell phones on the ground to our new satellites in space using T-Mobile network spectrum,” the company said in a report .

SpaceX didn’t elaborate on the test, such as the speeds, latency, or what the texts said. But the  messages on Jan. 8 were initially transmitted over just one of the “Direct to Cell” Starlink satellites. Whether the other five satellites ended up relaying text messages too was left unclear; SpaceX didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Still, the report notes that "launch and early tests of the technology were all completed without issue." The company adds that it had overcome serious challenges to transmit the text messages from phone to satellite. This includes how many of today’s consumer smartphones only come with “low gain antennas” meant to connect to nearby cell towers, not satellites orbiting high above. 

phantom text phone

In response, SpaceX has been outfitting some Starlink satellites with newly developed equipment that can relay phone signals even while orbiting the Earth at 340 miles away. “Our team developed custom silicon onboard the satellite that is optimized for this application and reduces power and cost on the satellite,” the company wrote. “We also developed large 2.7 m x 2.3 m advanced phased arrays that use extremely sensitive radio receivers and high-powered transmitters for communicating with cell phones from space.”

The same satellites can also communicate using 4G technology using an LTE modem onboard. But unlike stationary cell towers, Starlink satellites orbit the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour, making it difficult for them to maintain a steady signal to someone on the ground. 

“For the vehicles to perform like a true cell tower in space, handoffs between vehicles and on the ground must be completely seamless to the user,” the company said. “To accomplish this, we architected the system including satellite altitudes, beam size and placement, elevation angles, and number of satellites, such that we are just at the edge of physics where LTE is achievable and reliable.”

The ability to successfully complete the handoffs will be crucial since each Starlink satellite only stays visible in the sky for several minutes before orbiting out of view. The FCC has cleared the company to start testing the cellular Starlink system in over two dozen locations using 840 satellites that will launch in the coming months. But the company is still waiting for full FCC approval to operate the service commercially in the US, amid concerns about the technology causing radio interference.

In the meantime, SpaceX added that it plans on expanding the testing to include greater coverage. The company is aiming to launch the cellular Starlink service for T-Mobile customers, starting with text messages, later this year. SpaceX then plans on expanding the service to support voice and data in 2025.

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About Michael Kan

I've been with PCMag since October 2017, covering a wide range of topics, including consumer electronics, cybersecurity, social media, networking, and gaming. Prior to working at PCMag, I was a foreign correspondent in Beijing for over five years, covering the tech scene in Asia.

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phantom text phone

What is Phantom Vibration Syndrome?

Introducing a New Video Series From Georgia Tech

What is phantom vibration syndrome? If black holes are invisible and emit no light, how can scientists see and study them? You’ve heard of science fiction, but what about “skiffy” (spoiler alert: flying sharks!)?

These are among the questions and topics Georgia Tech researchers will answer and address in the Institute’s new, bi-monthly video series: TECH+knowledge+Y.

Kicking off the series, Robert Rosenberger , assistant professor of Philosophy in the School of Public Policy , discusses the “ phantom vibration syndrome .” The phantom phone vibration syndrome occurs when a person thinks his or her phone is ringing or vibrating from a text message when it actually is not. As a society increasingly dependent on mobile devices, the phantom vibrate easily becomes a phenomenon of worry for users.

phantom text phone

Those among the worriers fear that the dependency on technology involves rewiring the brain and altering human behavior. Rosenberger says otherwise.

“There are ways to talk about technology without reducing everything to brain rewiring talk,” he says. “Yes, your brain’s involved, but your brain’s involved in everything. There's a weird scientific legitimacy that comes from saying it's changing your brain, as opposed to just claiming it’s changing your behavior or society. If I'm teaching you to drive, we wouldn't talk about brains. I would just say, OK, take hold of the steering wheel.”

He concludes that the tendency to check phones arises from basic human nature to obsess. For instance, constantly checking the driveway to see if a guest has arrived or a commuter straining to hear the arrival of a subway.

Here's Why You Might Have Received a Phantom Text Message Last Night

Light, Finger, Hand, Lip, Night, Technology, Gadget, Electronic device, Photography, Nail,

On Thursday morning, Gena Kaufman was woken up by a ghost. OK, not a ghost technically, but when her husband turned over in the morning to ask why she had texted him "STOP IT" at 3 A.M., she was thoroughly confused. Kaufman, a former ELLE.com staffer, had gone to bed at 10 P.M. and had no recollection of sending such a text. What's more, the two had spent the whole night together. After he showed her the text message on his phone, Kaufman grabbed hers to check, but there was no record of the message in her chat history.

A few states away, ELLE.com contributing editor Hannah Morrill was on the other side of the same problem. After having a normal conversation with her friend Kim about her new manicure, Morrill had texted "pretty."

But then, at 4:25 A.M. Morrill got a response from Kim, a short text that said "something like that." Not understanding if her friend was being sarcastic, she texted her a few hours later to ask why she'd sent the message. But the thing was: Kim had never sent it and had the screen grabs to prove it.

Product, Text, Finger, Hand, Font, Thumb, Technology, Website, Gesture, Photo caption,

And these four weren't alone. While many of us were sound asleep on Wednesday night, across the nation, lots and lots ( and lots ) of people found themselves victims of a mysterious and disturbing tech glitch, waking up to see that they had either sent or received strange, out-of-context texts.

According to The Verge , many of those messages were originally sent on or around Valentine’s Day 2019 but were never received at the time, and the glitch occurred across all different phones and carriers. (For context, Hannah and Kim have Sprint and Verizon, respectively, though they both have iPhones. Kaufman and her husband use Verizon and T-Mobile, respectively, but only Kaufman has an iPhone. Kaufman also points out that while her "STOP IT" text wasn't out of character, she has no idea why she would've sent it on Valentine's Day and does not remember getting into any sort of Valentine's Day fight.)

The Verge reports , of those affected, "A few spoke to much more distressing repercussions of this error: one person said they received a message from an ex-boyfriend who had died; another received messages from a best friend who is now dead.”

The good—and less spooky—news is, if this happened to you, you most likely weren't hacked. A representative from Sprint told ELLE.com that on Wednesday evening a maintenance update occurred to part of the messaging platforms of multiple carriers in the United States, including Sprint, which caused some people to have old text messages sent to their phones. The representative says the issue was resolved shorty after it occurred. Similarly, T-Mobile informed Popular Mechanics that the glitch was the fault of a "third party vendor," while a Verizon representative told ELLE.com to direct questions to Syniverse, a third-party text message service provider, which works with several large U.S. carriers, though not Verizon.

But also, after some more sleuthing, we at ELLE.com have come to the conclusion that the most likely reason for all of this text message nonsense is obviously that Mercury is in retrograde. After all, as Forbes points out, the planet Mercury is named after the Roman's Messenger of the Gods. Let's blame this on astrology. Case closed!

Headshot of Madison Feller

Madison is the digital deputy editor at ELLE, where she also covers news, politics, and culture. If she’s not online, she’s probably napping or trying not to fall while rock climbing.

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What's Behind Phantom Cellphone Buzzes?

This is your brain on plugs.

This article was originally published at  The Conversation.  The publication contributed the article to Live Science's  Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights .

Have you ever experienced a phantom phone call or text? You're convinced that you felt your phone vibrate in your pocket, or that you heard your ring tone. But when you check your phone, no one actually tried to get in touch with you.

You then might plausibly wonder: "Is my phone acting up, or is it me?"

Well, it's probably you, and it could be a sign of just how attached you've become to your phone.

At least you're not alone. Over 80 percent of college students we surveyed have experienced it . However, if it's happening a lot – more than once a day – it could be a sign that you're psychologically dependent on your cellphone.

There's no question that cellphones are part of the social fabric in many parts of the world, and some people spend hours each day on their phones. Our research team recently found that most people will fill their downtime by fiddling with their phones. Others even do so in the middle of a conversation. And most people will check their phones within 10 seconds of getting in line for coffee or arriving at a destination.

Clinicians and researchers still debate whether excessive use of cellphones or other technology can constitute an addiction. It wasn't included in the latest update to the DSM-5 , the American Psychiatric Association's definitive guide for classifying and diagnosing mental disorders.

But given the ongoing debate , we decided to see if phantom buzzes and rings could shed some light on the issue.

A virtual drug?

Addictions are pathological conditions in which people compulsively seek rewarding stimuli, despite the negative consequences. We often hear reports about how cellphone use can be problematic for relationships and for developing effective social skills .

One of the features of addictions is that people become hypersensitive to cues related to the rewards they are craving. Whatever it is, they start to see it everywhere. (I had a college roommate who once thought that he saw a bee's nest made out of cigarette butts hanging from the ceiling.)

So might people who crave the messages and notifications from their virtual social worlds do the same? Would they mistakenly interpret something they hear as a ring tone, their phone rubbing in their pocket as a vibrating alert or even think they see a notification on their phone screen – when, in reality, nothing is there?

A human malfunction

We decided to find out. From a tested survey measure of problematic cellphone use , we pulled out items assessing psychological cellphone dependency. We also created questions about the frequency of experiencing phantom ringing, vibrations and notifications. We then administered an online survey to over 750 undergraduate students.

Those who scored higher on cellphone dependency – they more often used their phones to make themselves feel better, became irritable when they couldn't use their phones and thought about using their phone when they weren't on it – had more frequent phantom phone experiences .

Cellphone manufacturers and phone service providers have assured us that phantom phone experiences are not a problem with the technology. As HAL 9000 might say, they are a product of "human error."

So where, exactly, have we erred? We are in a brave new world of virtual socialization, and the psychological and social sciences can barely keep up with advances in the technology.

Phantom phone experiences may seem like a relatively small concern in our electronically connected age. But they raise the specter of how reliant we are on our phones – and how much influence phones have in our social lives.

How can we navigate the use of cellphones to maximize the benefits and minimize the hazards, whether it's improving our own mental health or honing our live social skills? What other new technologies will change how we interact with others?

Our minds will continue to buzz with anticipation.

Daniel J. Kruger , Research Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

This article was originally published on The Conversation . Read the original article .

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Phantom phone vibrations: so common they've changed our brains.

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Phantom Vibration Syndrome: That phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating when it's not. iStockphoto.com hide caption

Phantom Vibration Syndrome: That phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating when it's not.

Phantom vibration — that phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating but it's not — has been around only since the mobile age. And five years ago, when its wider existence became recognized, news organizations, including ours, covered the "syndrome" as a sign of the digital encroachment in our lives. Today, it's so common that researchers have devoted studies to it.

For Valerie Kusler, who works on a 2,200-acre cattle ranch, the sensation is complicated by the cows. "The cows' moo is very muffled, it kinda sounds like ... errrrrr," she says. "So that's very similar to what my phone sounds like when it vibrates on my desk or in my purse."

If you heard the comparison, you could understand how she gets confused. "Definitely other people have experienced it, too," Kusler says.

Other people may not confuse cows for their phones, but research shows phantom vibration syndrome, or its other nicknames — like hypovibochondria or ring-xiety — are a near-universal experience for people with smartphones.

Nearly 90 percent of college undergrads in a 2012 study said they felt phantom vibrations. The number was just as high for a survey of hospital workers , who reported feeling phantom vibrations on either a weekly or monthly basis.

"Something in your brain is being triggered that's different than what was triggered just a few short years ago," says Dr. Larry Rosen, a research psychologist who studies how technology affects our minds.

"If you'd ask me 10 years ago, or maybe even five years ago if I felt an itch beneath where my pocket of my jeans were, and asked me what I would do, I'd reach down and scratch it because it was probably a little itch caused by the neurons firing," he says.

Now, of course, the tingle triggers him to reach for his phone. Rosen says it's an example of how our devices are changing how our brains process information.

"We're seeing a lot of what looks like compulsive behavior, obsessive behavior. People who are constantly picking up their phone look like they have an obsession. They don't look much different from someone who's constantly washing their hands. I'm not saying that it is an obsession, but I'm saying that it could turn into one, very easily," Rosen says. While 9 out of 10 participants in the study of college students said the vibration feeling bothered them only a little or not at all, Rosen still recommends backing away from our phones every once in a while to keep our anxiety levels down.

"One of the things I'm really adamant about in spite of being very pro-technology, is just weaning ourselves off of the technology for short periods," Rosen says. "And by short periods, I mean, maybe just 30 minutes or an hour."

That kind of mindfulness is something the Tennessee-based Kusler says she's working on.

"That is a personal goal of mine," she says, "to try and have a better boundary between my life and my phone."

But as long as muffled moos are part of her workday, she has a better excuse than the rest of us for feeling those phantom vibrations.

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Psychologists explain phantom notifications and ‘ringxiety’

By Evan Killham • 4:31 pm, February 4, 2016

iphone-4-closeup by alejandro escamilla ringxiety

More often than I care to admit, I’ll think I feel a tap from my Apple Watch. But then when I check the screen, I’ve received nothing: no texts, no phone calls, no notifications of any kind. It’s really weird and makes me feel like I’m finally losing it.

I usually just assume the watch shifted a little on my wrist, and that I’m not hallucinating at all. But psychologists are suggesting that what’s happening to me and others (you can admit it; this is a safe place) may be the technological arm of some actual psychological issues dealing with attachment, fear of rejection, and a chronic need for validation.

People are calling this symptom “ringxiety” because I’m pretty sure that we’ve really lost our sense of pride in portmanteaus as a culture.

In a recent study, University of Michigan research assistant professor Daniel Kruger and research assistant Jaikob Djerf attempted to correlate the phenomenon of phantom calls and texts with conditions like attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance. Of their 411 volunteers, all of whom suffered from either anxiety or avoidance, 80 percent reported feeling false vibrations. Almost half said they had actually heard their phone ringing.

“Phantom ringing and phantom notifications in one sample were significantly predicted by attachment anxiety,” Kruger said.

And you don’t just have to worry about feeling like you’re going out of your mind, either. Ringxiety might also produce physical symptoms.

These include “headaches, stress, and sleep disturbances,” according to Brenda Wiederhold, editor-in-chief of the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking , which published Kruger and Djerf’s findings .

While the new report suggests that people may be predisposed to ringxiety based on their psychological profiles, it might also just be a result of always carrying around the devices that keep us in touch with the world.

Wearables like the Apple Watch, with its gentle, notifying taps, make our notifications more prevalent and physical. And because we know that we could get a notification at any second of the day, some people may just come to anticipate them and create the phantom vibrations or rings, although being especially twitchy or anxious certainly won’t help your case much.

Via: Telegraph

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What is Phantom Vibration Syndrome?

While staying connected with friends and family is healthy, many people take social connectivity to an extreme. This has lead to Canadian social scientists coining the term “hyperconnectivity.” This refers to humans utilizing multiple modalities of communication such as: email, instant messaging, face-to-face communication, Facebook, texting, and cell phones.

It is estimated that for every 100 people in the world, 96 of those individuals own cell phones. In some countries, it’s the norm for people to own and use multiple cell phones. While the number of cell phones in the world doesn’t exceed the total Earth’s population, it’s getting close; there are nearly 7 billion people on Earth, and nearly 6.8 billion cell phones.

Technology, regular cell phone usage, and constant access have rewired the brains of most. Nearly everyone is constantly checking their phone for the latest Facebook update, text message, app update, or even just browsing the web for news. Most people have inadvertently become dependent upon cell phones to navigate the world.

The increasing usage of cell phones has lead some individuals to experience a phenomenon known as “phantom vibration syndrome.” The syndrome known as “phantom vibration” is characterized by an individual falsely perceiving that their cell phone is either vibrating or ringing at a time when it clearly isn’t . Those that experience phantom vibration syndrome may be engaging in an activity away from their cell phone, yet believe that it’s ringing.

In other cases people may believe that their cell phone is vibrating in their pocket, when it isn’t.  The phone may be completely off or display no activity, yet the person perceiving the vibration believes with full conviction that they felt their phone vibrating.  It’s almost as if their mind (and phone) are playing tricks on them.

The term is believed to have originated from the “Dilbert” comic strip (1996) in which “phantom pager syndrome” was referenced. This condition didn’t gain much attention in the media until the early 2000s. Those that have written about the condition have questioned as to whether it’s a result of cumulative nerve damage, unfavorable brain chemistry alterations, or simply a harmless sign of technology dependence.

It is likely that those exposed to sensitive tones or vibrations on a consistent basis, regardless of the source, may have experienced variations of this condition long before cell phones. Many people have likely experienced this same condition with standardized landline phones and certain electronic devices.

Various related terms for this condition include:

  • Ringxiety : Is a term representing anxiety associated to the ringing (or lack thereof) of a cell phone.
  • Hypovibochondria : This is a blended term combining the psychological condition of hypochondria and vibration (vibro).
  • Fauxcellarm : This creative term combining “faux” (fake) and “cell” (for cell phone) with the pronunciation similar to that of “false alarm.”

What causes phantom vibration syndrome?

There are numerous hypotheses regarding the specific cause of phantom vibration syndrome. Many believe that the brain becomes so conditioned to hearing frequent rings or vibrations, that the same neural pathways activated when it actually is ringing falsely burst with activity even when it isn’t. Individuals with phantom vibration syndrome are so accustomed to hearing their phone vibrate or ring, that their brain expects more.

Factors influencing phantom vibration syndrome…

In part there are likely several factors that play a role in influencing this phenomenon known as “phantom vibration.” These factors include: average number of vibrations/rings, volume, sound frequency, time span over which a person has been conditioned, as well as individual brain chemistry.

1. Avg. daily vibrations/rings

If your phone doesn’t ring or vibrate, your brain isn’t going to expect it to ring or vibrate. While this isn’t confirmed, it would make sense that the greater number of daily vibrations and/or rings a person is exposed to, the more likely they are going to perceive phantom vibrations. Just think about it, playing a song on repeat for hours will probably leave the song stuck in your head.

It may be difficult for you to get the song out of your head because your brain had begun to expect the song. When the song stops, the neural loop keeps firing, and you keep hearing it in a slightly different way. Even though the reverberations aren’t hitting your ear drum, your brain is still firing. Those with phones that are frequently ringing (from calls) or vibrating (from notifications) are more likely to experience this phenomenon.

2. Cumulative cell phone usage

It should also be speculated that the number of years over which a person consistently uses their phone with ringing and/or vibrations may also play influence this condition. In previous generations, this was highly unlikely to occur due to the fact that most people didn’t have cell phones, and those that did, rarely used them. The newer generations (e.g. “Y” and “Z”) don’t even know what it’s like to function without them. Using cell phones over a longer term may increase the likelihood that you’ll experience phantom rings.

3. Brain chemistry

It is important to consider the individual in regards to experiencing phantom vibes or rings. Genetics, neural activation, and neurotransmitters are all likely to increase a person’s susceptibility to experiencing this phenomenon. Some experts believe that the condition is related to psychological anxiety and that those with an anxious predisposition may be more likely to experience the phantom vibes.

Some people have used their cell phones for decades and haven’t experienced a phantom vibration, yet others who have only used their phones for a short-term have experienced these. This is why individual neurochemistry is likely among the most influential factors. While you probably won’t experience this phenomenon without owning a cell phone, it may be more likely in certain individuals over others due to brain chemistry.

4. Vibration or Sound Frequency

It is known that humans have sensitivities to certain sound frequencies. Most cell phones elicit tones for rings or vibrations within the range of 1000 Hz to 6000 Hz – the exact frequencies that tend to shock the auditory system. When we blast our cell phone ringers and vibrations, get frequent notifications or calls, and this occurs often – we are essentially jolting our auditory cortex to sensitive frequencies.

It is known that the frequencies within this range tend to be difficult to pinpoint during spatial navigation. This is why when many people hear a cell phone ringing or vibrating, they have a tough time pinpointing its specific location. Although being unable to pinpoint the location isn’t that big of a deal, the sensitivity to these frequencies may leave a conditioned neural imprint – priming our brains for a sensitive sound.

5. Skin receptors

A majority of cell phones are thought to vibrate between the frequencies of 130 Hz and 180 Hz. Each time your phone vibrates in your pocket, you feel the vibration on your skin, which contains receptors that send your brain signals that there’s an alert on your phone. The particular receptors that process this sensation are referred to as the “Pacinian corpuscles.”

It is these same receptors that become activated when clothes brush up against the skin. When a phone vibrates in your pocket, it is likely that the same skin receptors are activated. Some experts believe that since your phone is vibrating and setting off activity in the same skin receptors as the ones which brushing clothes activate, your brain can wire to falsely perceive a vibrating phone, even when it’s just clothes brushing up against your skin.

In other words, the stimuli of the clothes and phone become intertwined, leaving your brain to (sometimes) associate one with both. This likely occurs within the primary somatosenxory cortex, paired with areas which process tactile sensations (for false pocket vibrations).

When does the phantom ringing or vibrating occur?

There’s no particular time when the phantom ringing or vibrating is most likely to occur. It is likely subject to significant individual variation. Some have experienced the phantom ringing when watching TV or while doing something relaxing like taking a shower. It is speculated that after using the cell phone for prolonged periods, when a person attempts to take a break, their brain is so accustomed to hearing the “rings” and/or “vibrations,” that it falsely perceives them – hence their description as phantoms.

Other people may experience them when using a noisy device or in a noisy environment. In this case, the brain may be subconsciously primed to expect a cell phone beep. Although no beep actually occurs, since the neural correlates are primed, they may simply go off in similar regions to when the phone actually beeps. People become so desensitized to their cell phones, that using them frequently on a daily basis trains their brain to expect them.

Think of it like a gun that is loaded (neural pathways are primed after hearing the cell phone) being stored in a car during a bumpy ride. Although nobody is attempting to pull the trigger, you hit a bump in the road (something nudges the primed neural pathways) and boom, the gun goes off (neurons fire so that you hear a vibration or ringing from the phone – even though it’s not coming from the phone.

Yet others that experience the phantom pocket vibrations may be more likely to experience them when they wear certain clothes (e.g. tight pants). If the theory that the skin receptors tie the stimuli of certain clothes, with a vibrating cell phone, it makes sense that tight clothes may trigger the false vibrations because the skin receptors become bombarded with pressure.

How to reduce, prevent, or overcome phantom vibrations or rings

If you want the phantom vibes or rings to stop, it’s common sense what needs to be done: either turn the sound and vibrations off or avoid using your cell phone. In fact, you could even consider doing both – fasting from cell phone usage for some days and the days that you use your cell phone, keep it on silent.

1. Cell phone fast

Clearly this phenomenon never existed in the past because we didn’t have cell phones and those that did, didn’t use them as much. These days nearly everyone and their kids are glued to their cell phones, sometimes unable to interact with society because they are so caught up living in a hyperconnected form of cyberspace on their phone. To avoid, prevent, or overcome the phantom vibes, try scaling back on cell phone usage or “fasting” from your phone.

  • Hours per day : For those who want to do the bare minimum, try fasting from your phone for several hours per day and determine whether it reduces the occurrence.
  • Entire day : Many people force themselves to go one full day per week without their cell phones. This helps train the brain to become less dependent upon technology and makes it less likely that you’ll experience phantom vibrations.
  • Multiple days : For those that are a bit more extreme, you may want to take a multiple day cell phone fast per week. Go for a couple days per week with no phone – it should help reduce the phantom vibrations.

2. Turn off the ringer/vibration

A less extreme approach than giving up your cell phone for hours per day or days per week is to simply turn off your ringer and/or vibration. If your brain isn’t constantly bombarded with rings and vibrations from your cell phone, you’re probably not going to experience phantom vibrations. Many people are so dependent on their phones, that no matter the activity they’re doing, they’ll stop for any alert in the form of a beep, buzz, or ring.

Turning off the ringer and vibration completely is a good strategy. Not only will you reduce the likelihood of phantom vibration syndrome, but you’ll also be able to check for notifications on your own terms. Often times we perceive the ring or vibration as being top-priority like an emergency, despite the fact that they are general notifications.

3. Airplane mode

If your phone is on airplane mode, it’s not going to randomly ring or vibrate. Additionally, having your phone on airplane mode more often may reduce the likelihood that you’ll develop health problems stemming from RF-EMF (radio-frequency electromagnetic field) radiation. There is some evidence that the radiation from cell phones is linked to brain tumors – particularly “glioma.”

While the likelihood that you’ll develop a tumor from cell phones is low, there is a clear association. Airplane mode allows us to have our phone with us in case there’s an emergency and usage is necessary, but doesn’t bombard our brain with constant notifications in the form of sound and vibrations.

4. Reduce the volume

If you don’t want to shut off the ring or vibration, consider turning off one or the other. If you’re having a problem with phantom rings, turn off the ring. If you’re having a problem with vibrations, turn off the vibrations. Those who aren’t willing to turn off the ringer, could compromise by reducing the volume.

Many people have their phones jacked up to the maximum volume, and the frequency of the notification ringer is within the sensitive range. This is like training your brain to perceive cell phone notifications as being more important than anything. Adjust the volume to an appropriate range or consider altering and/or decreasing the style of vibration.

5. Clothing alterations

Some people have reported experiencing phantom pocket vibrations – a specific subtype of phantom vibration syndrome. These individuals often find that when they wear certain clothing, particularly restrictive pants, that they experience an increase in the number of phantom vibes. This may be due to the fact that the brushing of clothes against your skin stimulates the same sensory receptors as the vibrating phone.

Your brain comes to associate the contact of these tighter clothes (typically pants) with the vibrating phone. Even when the phone isn’t vibrating, the restrictive clothing primes the skin receptors, which stimulates a particular neural pathway to elicit the phantom vibration. You may find that adjusting your clothes to looser fitting pants alleviates the problem.

6. Adjust carrying strategies

Another obvious tip for those who experience phantom pocket vibrations is to adjust the carrying strategy. In other words, if you are carrying your phone in your pocket, try carrying it for awhile in your backpack or in your hand. Don’t store your phone in a pocket that allows the vibration to stimulate your skin receptors. If you have other pockets such as in a sweatshirt or jacket, store your phone there and make sure that the phone doesn’t come in contact with the skin.

How common is phantom vibration syndrome?

It appears as though this emerging phenomenon is relatively common, especially among individuals that frequently use their cell phones. Research psychologist Dr. Michelle Drouin discovered that nearly 90% of college undergraduates at IUPU (Indiana University-Purdue University) experienced phantom vibrations about once every couple weeks. It was discovered that most of the students weren’t that upset by them – only about 10% of students thought they were a nuisance.

Have you experienced phantom vibration syndrome?

If you’ve experienced phantom vibrations or rings from your cell phone, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below. Mention whether you found these phantom sensations bothersome and how frequently you’ve experienced them. Also feel free to mention what you believe caused your brain to falsely perceive the ring or vibration, even when it didn’t occur.

While many people have experienced phantom vibrations/rings, most people don’t know that they are relatively common and overall pretty harmless. But they might be a sign that you have become a little too dependent on your cell phone. To decrease the likelihood that you’ll experience these, simply turn off the ring/vibration alerts on your phone, and spend more time away from technology.

Related Posts:

  • Long-Term Cell Phone Usage Linked To Brain Tumors (Glioma)
  • Myths Of Things That Kill Brain Cells: Alcohol, Cell Phones, Marijuana, et al.

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5 thoughts on “what is phantom vibration syndrome”.

I personally experience phantom vibration during any hour of the day. It is normally when I am expecting or hoping for a text message. I have a hypothesis, but let me preface this with stating that I am not any way trained in medicine or psychology. I believe that, in some cases, certain chemicals of pleasure fire in the brain (dopamine I believe) when one receives a text message.

When this person is bored or is wanting a “dopamine-rush,” their brain creates a false vibration in the appropriate spot of the body. I’ve noticed that I feel the vibration where it should be (on my arm if my phone is on the table, stomach if it is in my coat pocket, etc.). But, again, I am in no way qualified to answer this question with any sort of validity. Just thought I’d throw my hat into the ring.

It happens to me & my S/O. It often happened to me at work, standing behind the counter when I didn’t even have my phone in my pocket.

I have been experiencing it lately. Mine is more of the vibration illusion in my pocket. After reading this article, I came to realize that it may be attributed to the tight pants that I’m wearing, combined with the over-all jumpsuit I wear at my work. This combination puts pressure on my upper leg where my phone was always secured. As recommended from this article, I will try to turn-off the Vibration alert and also change the phone location.

For the last two years I have been woken up by a sound similar to a single cell phone vibration. It varies in volume. Could this be phantom vibrations? I recently noticed that when I power off my iPad and iPhone I don’t hear it. When my devices were on in the past, they were in sleep mode, with the volume off and in different rooms.

I experience these phantom vibrations very often. Usually many times a day. I do find them very annoying because it causes me to check my phone for a notification that does not exist. It happens when I have loud music on, when I’m watching a movie, or just simply doing school work.

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How-To Geek

Why did your iphone beep or vibrate here's how to find out.

Has your iPhone ever vibrated or beeped---but there were no notifications when you looked at the screen? Here's why that can happen.

Quick Links

Phantom vibrations (and sounds), an app has invisible notifications playing sounds, a notification appeared and vanished.

Notification settings are relatively complex on a modern iPhone or iPad. It's possible for an app to play sounds or vibrate your phone without showing any visible notifications. Here's how to pin down the offender.

It's worth remembering that phantom vibrations are a common phenomenon. Many people have felt their iPhone vibrate in their pocket, only to pull it out and realize it hadn't vibrated at all. Phantom sounds can also occur, especially in noisy locations. Did your phone's notification sound really play? Perhaps that was just another sound amidst the din of noise---or the same notification sound coming from someone else's phone.

But that's not the only issue. Your iPhone could have vibrated or played a sound even if there are no notifications on your notification center or lock screen when you check it.

Apps can have invisible notifications that vibrate your phone or play your notification sound.

To check for this, head to Settings > Notifications. If an app is set to "Sounds" without "Banners," it will play a notification sound without showing you any visible notifications. If an app is set to "Sounds" without banners, but with "Badges," it will show a red notification badge with a counter of new items on the app. It plays a sound when the badge increases, but it won't show a visible notification.

Scroll through the list and look for any such sneaky apps. If you see one or more set only to "Sounds," they're likely the cause of your iPhone's mysterious beeps and vibrations.

If you find such an app, tap it, and then choose what you want to do. For example, you might want to disable notifications for that app entirely by toggling "Allow Notifications" or enable visible notification banners under "Alerts."

It's possible your phone might ding and wake up only for the notification to vanish a few moments later.

This isn't too common, but it does happen. The same app that sent a notification to your phone can "unsend" it and clear it from your phone later. You can see this in action when using messaging apps on multiple platforms. If you view an unread message on another device, the app will often clear that message's notification from your iPhone. After all, you've already seen it on another platform; you don't need to see it again.

Some messaging apps might also allow someone to delete a message they sent to you. Depending on how the messaging service is programmed, the app may also clear the notification from your iPhone or iPad. In other words, if someone sends you a message and deletes it, your iPhone may beep or buzz, but the notification might vanish before you look at it.

Again, this isn't too common---even some apps that let people delete messages won't automatically delete the notification associated with the message. There's a good chance that vibration in your pocket was just a phantom vibration and not associated with a notification that's since vanished.

On an Android phone, it's possible to look at the notification history to determine whether this occurred and see the text of the notification. However, Apple's iOS operating system offers no such feature. On an iPhone, there's no way to discover which app is sending and clearing notifications unless you happen to be looking at the screen when the notification appears and then vanishes.

Looks like no one’s replied in a while. To start the conversation again, simply ask a new question.

shouldagonewithandriod

"Phantom" text messages? It says I have unread texts when I don't (I have tried everything)

So here's the deal: I'm having the "phantom" message problem where, despite the fact that I have checked all of my texts, I still get the little (1) on the app (or in my case, 36!)

Funny thing is that when I go into the messages (the 36 are from 3 different people) like I have about 17 from a friend, call him Bill, and I go into Bill's messages, it says I have read those 17 and I have 19 left. But when I go back into the main text tab thing, all 36 are still unread. I can't even delete messages. I can't delete the conversation and have it STAY gone (it'll come back after a reboot.)

I have tried everything.

I have tried closing the app. I've googled this problem and have checked and done every solution that seemingly worked for those people. Plugging it into my computer. Holding home and power and letting it reboot. I've cleared the Notifcations bar (the one you drag down). Turning it completely off. I just finished restoring it and IT'S STILL THERE. I am at such a loss and i'm so ******.

The only thing I have left to do is go to an Apple store and demand they fix my phone, which I plan on doing in the next couple of days.

And then these JERKS at Apple say they can't do customer service via the internet unless I shell out $20. Seriously? I might have to get an Andriod when my contract is up.

I am PRAYING this is just some glitch that will go away...

iPhone 5, iOS 7.1

Posted on Mar 25, 2014 12:30 AM

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I’mnoexpertbut

Sep 30, 2014 7:12 AM in response to Billbob2003

Daveemmons had best solution. I had this same problem when I updated to the new iOS software last year. It obviously restored some old message that I may/may not have deleted, but was flagged as ‘unread’. i too went through all my messages (a lot easier on the iPhone 6 plus) and eventually found one from 2012?? I deleted this message which was automated from a service provider and now the alert is gone.

shelibaer

Apr 16, 2017 5:22 PM in response to shouldagonewithandriod

I followed the first comment of asking Siri "read my unread messages" and it found the message and the notification went away. I realized it was actually coming from the "Unknown senders" tab at the top of your Messages app. So if you're getting these, double check that portion of the app and delete/read any messages that are in there.

If one/both of these don't resolve the problem, i'm unsure what else to suggest as a phone restart or hard reset did not solve the problem for me (but it also wasn't technically "phantom" since i just wasn't paying attention that it actually existed within the "unknown senders"

florindo@85

Jul 19, 2017 9:51 PM in response to shouldagonewithandriod

Ask Siri to read your unread text messages and she will read you the unread text and then she will ask you if you want to respond to the text;

tell Siri NO and the phantom text will be gone. This worked for me.

smcnear

May 14, 2017 8:30 PM in response to neophilenyc

Thanks so much! I had 4 unread messages I couldn't see. 3 of them were from a phone my daughter was using while traveling in Greece, so I think that had something to do with it (I'm in the US). But Siri read it right out, and now the little number is gone. Thank you again!

kubajz896

Dec 17, 2017 2:34 AM in response to neophilenyc

User uploaded file

Mar 25, 2014 12:37 PM in response to shouldagonewithandriod

Have you tried:

Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings

Mar 25, 2014 6:50 PM in response to AmishCake

That I have.

I also went to the Apple store today. They suggested I use the Cloud thing instead to back up and restore my phone.

DIDN'T WORK.

Ha. So. I think I might have to give up on my phone because this is just...so annoying. Annoying is an understatement. I'm really hoping it just goes away.

If not, BYE BYE Apple phones, hello Samsung!

edkerner

Mar 29, 2014 4:11 PM in response to shouldagonewithandriod

I have the solution. Go to the person who sent you the text messages. In the conversation, delete a few of the messages that they sent you, then close the App. This should correct the problem. I just had the same problem with the App showing I had 17 unread messages, and now its back to normal. Best of luck!

PamisQueenie

Apr 8, 2014 4:06 PM in response to edkerner

This is the ONLY solution that worked - after having tried ALL of them! Thanks.

mlcek

Apr 30, 2014 2:02 PM in response to edkerner

This worked!!! I tried everything else first of course. You are a genius!

Apr 30, 2014 2:31 PM in response to edkerner

Yeah no. I tried deleting individual texts. I deleted the entire conversation. It kept coming back. Eventually I just had to wipe my phone and start from scratch.

Basem Sewiha

Jun 17, 2014 9:04 AM in response to edkerner

Followed the instructions edkurner wrote, and it worked!!

Thank you so much

fizzDripper

Jun 17, 2014 9:07 AM in response to shouldagonewithandriod

if all else has failed, do a sim swap, its a long shot but, never know, it might help

DaveEmmons

Jul 16, 2014 9:53 PM in response to edkerner

How would I tell who sent the message? I've scrolled through my messages top to bottom and see nothing that is unread.

SharonCocaine

Jul 18, 2014 11:54 AM in response to DaveEmmons

I just had the same problem. Also, on the Text symbol I can see unopened messages, but once when I go into the texts, there are none that are unopened. So I scrolled all the way down and erased, randomly, couple of old texts from before. Surprisingly, it solved my problem. 🙂

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How are robocallers getting your phone number?

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Does it ever feel like you’re getting more robocalls than calls from actual humans? Illegal robocalls aren’t just annoying — they’re also often scams. But you might be wondering — how did they get my number in the first place?

Sometimes robocalls are random. But sometimes, a company tries to trick you to get your information and sells it. That’s what the FTC says happened with lead generation company Response Tree LLC in a settlement announced today. People looking for a quote to refinance their mortgage gave the company their name and number. But instead of giving quotes, Response Tree took people’s information and sold it to telemarketers making illegal robocalls about things like fake auto warranties , solar panels, hearing aids, and Social Security disability services.

Here’s what to do to avoid and report robocalls and scams:

  • Protect your personal information. Before you enter your personal information on a website, research it. Search the name of the site plus “complaint,” “review,” or “scam.”
  • Read the fine print . Some websites might have small disclaimers that say if you click a link or check a box, you’re agreeing to having your information collected and sold to other companies.
  • Know your rights.  A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless the company has your written permission to call you that way.
  • Report illegal robocalls.  Reporting helps law enforcement and investigators stop illegal robocalls. Report them at  DoNotCall.gov .

For more advice on how to stop unwanted calls, check out  ftc.gov/calls . Also, learn about Operation Stop Scam Calls , the FTC’s latest joint effort with federal and state law enforcement partners in the fight against robocalls.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Wish this applied to politicians!

Very helpful. Thanks!

I have my numbers listed with Do Not Call and have reported callers. But what is not mentioned here is that unscrupulous enterprises do not use the Do Not Call list to update their databases. Also, the numbers that are faked using VOIP are never stopped because they are pretending to be a legitimate caller so we’re reporting a legitimate number that was faked. There’s no way to win this war. I use RoboKiller now and only numbers in my Contacts ring through. It’s been very helpful.

Easy for you to say to take their number and report it to the FTC. Most of the numbers they call from are faked anyway, so there's no way to learn the real number they're calling from. I actually got a call one time and the caller ID was my OWN phone number!!!

In reply to Easy for you to say to take… by Mary Seal

I had the same thing happen to me more than once.

I seldom answer the phone unless I am expecting a call back from my doctor. I answer to any call then and may get a spam call. The problem is that my doctor may call and cannot get through. Maybe the phone company should be held liable or my telephone bill be reduced by the number of spam calls they allowed.

In reply to I seldom answer the phone… by Garush

I totally agree

It happened to me somebody called my own number when I was a customer with Spectrum since 2006 to 2014. And the customer service charged me for long distance call in which they charged me in my plan $10.99 a month. When I called the Spectrum tel supervisor "she stated in their own system"nothing called me for long distance call". But the guy customer service continuously asking money from me" leads to nothing. Only the money put in their own pocket.

Up to 25 calls a day have been recd, with phone ID active. When phone ID not available, I'm about to scream with the phone ringing. Thank goodness for DO NOT CALL. Next, the intrusions of McAfee on my internet screen. Appears firm is having fun or joking with the repeat intrusions across the screen.

I get about 25 SPAM calls or unknown callers for every legitimate, wanted call. It has gotten so much worse with my current cell phone provider, I am switching companies. It does seem the company should be held responsible for these calls!!

How should we report the 5-10 calls that we get every day. This would take a lot of time. Is the ftc going to to actually do something about this?

In reply to How should we report the 5… by Tony Shallin

The FTC continues to bring enforcement actions against robocallers and has already stopped people responsible for billions of robocalls. The FTC also works with other law enforcement agencies and encourages industry efforts to combat robocalls and caller ID spoofing.

Read about recent FTC cases and other robocall-related actions on this FTC page: ftc.gov/news-events/topics/do-not-call-registry/robocalls.

In reply to The FTC continues to bring… by FTC Staff

Than why is there no improvement?

In reply to Than why is there no… by Patrick M Paeth

The world has become overwhelmingly desperate and lost its morality .

Is the FTC and a majority of Congress going to do anything EFFECTIVE about all the spam and scam calls? Like requiring every corporation/utliity that markets/sells/provides cell, VOIP or landline services to develop effective call blocking service AND provide it for free? I can remember, years ago, sending the FTC spam faxes I received, sent copies, date, time, etc. Never received any kind of response. I kept getting them until I got rid of the fax number. When my business website got linked to a fake site (used my name), I filed a complaint with the FBI--it's automated, you never speak to a live person. I contacted at least one cloud based entity involved in the mess, requested it investigate, that eventually solved the problem & stopped the calls I got from some people who'd gotten ripped off by the fake site. Never heard from the FBI. Clearly,dealing w/spam and scam robo& other calls isn't a priority of the federal gov't, at least, not in my experience. Yet I'd really appreciate a majority of Congress taking the problem seriously & providing extra funding just so the FTC and FBI can be much more effective, devote more resources, but also I'd like to see Congress shift the burden & responsibility for solving the problem to the corporations that provide the telecommunications services, penalize them financially enough that they feel it's a problem worth solving.

The FTC has been at these guys for at least a decade and it is the same old story, the calls decline for several months and then eventually ramp back up. A $10,000,000 fine may sound like a lot of money, that's not being paid by the way, but I think they're making more money than that for the 750bn calls made. How about mandatory jail time of 3-5 years for everyone involved?

Response Tree took people’s information and sold it to telemarketers making illegal robocalls. Was Response Tree punished for theft?

Thank you. I really appreciate these tips. At times it feels as if there is no one or no department actually helping to protect us from anything.

In reply to Thank you. I really… by Virginia Gelineau

I agree with you! I reporting phishing emails all the time and nothing seems to be done-I still get the same emails days later! I mark an email spam and Ourlook continues to let the email through. Perhaps Microsoft needs to spend more time protecting their clients instead of worrying about tracking us and making changes to our personal settings causing the loss of production.

Thank you for the information and services

How about other well known Internet companies? Why are these not made public?

I never got all the robo and human calls on my cell phone until I did what some of the companies and social media asked of me. I gave them my cell number for two-method authentication. So, since they have all obviously shared information, it is necessary to get a text code from them sometimes when you log in. My phone numbers have been on the "do not call" list for 20 years.

What happens after an unwanted call is reported to you? I have been recording all my unwanted calls since August, yet there's been no change to the number of calls I continue to receive. I seldom see a number more than once, yet many are from the same place/name and have similar numbers, leading me to believe they are the same business, just with multiple numbers. Am I wasting my time reporting all these calls? Thank you for any attempt you make to halt these annoying and disruptive calls.

I have received calls from my own phone number, so how valid is the numbers on caller ID?

Thank you for this information.

I have found that by lengthening the announcement on our answering machine from 9 seconds to 19 seconds causes most ROBO callers to hang up and go away. The few who do stick around and actually leave a message may be analyzed at a later and more convenient time. Most of those who do leave a message and are not among our friends, relatives, or those with a sincere desire to communicate have their messages deleted.

Lengthening the message on our answering machine pits our machine against the ROBO caller machines.

Almost every illicit call I receive now has a spoofed number from my area code and exchange. They use a rolling bank of random numbers, once, so blocking doesn't help. My revenge has been a snarky message and I just never answer any of the calls. Where/how they get ages for the people they seek to scam is a real problem. They target elders far more. Too much information is public access like voting, driver's licenses, etc., in addition to the sellers.

I put my phone numbers on do not call a long time ago. It does not work.

I’m on the do not call list & I still get calls

I've share this on facebook - they (and Instagram) are guilty of this practice!! Instagram has been posting several obviously guilty 'businesses' selling half-price postage stamps. I was duped into this, but was able to cancel the 'purchase' WITH NO HELP FROM MY CREDIT CARD!!

In reply to I've share this on facebook … by CAROL A. OAKES

I myself saw the postage stamp one however I felt it had to be illegal being the post office never has sales...... And.... If you push talk button it disconnects the call. You can't Google them up either. It says no match....

I've found being a subscriber to this department of the FTC very helpful -- and will send this report on.

Thank you for your efforts on our behalf. Whereas this is an ongoing NUISANCE for the American public, there also EXISTS the never ending junk mail being sent subsidized by the USPS. This delivery material is a nuisance and an additional burden on the USPS system. Gratefully,Consumer101

I was recently assigned a cell phone for my job. The number had belonged to a woman named "Joyce." I received over 50 calls and texts a day of spam looking for this woman. She is dead; I researched her. I have put the number on the Do Not Call, along with my own personal phone and it does not make a difference. The calls come from spoofed numbers so you cannot trace it; the human spammers hang up when you ask for their number, company name and address. How is this supposed to be stopped if the FTC cannot stop criminals from spoofing numbers?

I wish the Do not Call List really work! Seems that when I went on the list, I received more calls. What good is the do not call list when it has no teeth for prosecution. And how do you prosecute cloned numbers? Seems that Cloned numbers are the only numbers that show up on the caller ID. How does the system work when they use cloned numbers? Answer, IT DON'T! Do not call is a waste of time and money!

1) RoboText or RoboSMS as well qualify as sofisticated scam message-calls and should also be a FTC concern. How shall you proceed? 2) Unlike Gmail, Microsoft Outlook permits approximately 130 Scam x Junk emails per DAY and senior citizens are falling victim. How shall you proceed?

We've been getting "con calls" for almost a year. They are the same people, in India, and start off with a recording that they can cut our bills, which may include (separate calls) AT&T, utility, Comcast, Insurance, and others down 30%. We get them at least 4 to 6 times a day. Then they transfer you to a live person. With all the technology out there today, why can't they be caught and stopped by the FBI, CIA? They're criminals stealing from the American people!!!

I have noticed that I get increased calls after getting a haircut, repeatedly. They are probably hacked or selling my number which I have to give or they will not schedule a haircut. That should be illegal.

What about the phone calls you pick and there is no one there. Seems to happen quite a bit for me. Sometimes I believe people key in the number and wait until the light turns green before they pick up the call. Those, I believe are robocalls with a live person there.

Great informaion. I receive a letter with two different first and middle name and my last two legal name. It comes from State of Washington. Department of Children Youth and Families. I din't send them any information.

Thanks as all consumers can use your help in stopping these deceptive practices.

What about robocalls from charities? Are those legal?

I believe when you answer your phone it lets them know it’s valid. That may keep your number on the list and possibly be put on other lists. I don’t answer my phones (landline or cell) unless I’m expecting a call or recognize the number. I figure if it’s legit, they’ll leave a message. Last fall I was getting calls from several numbers where the only difference was the last two digits. I can’t remember the exact name on the caller ID, but it was extremely similar to a real company but obviously spelled wrong. After a few weeks, with sometimes four calls a day, they just stopped. I also have the number of rings set to five before my voicemail picks up. A lot of people won’t wait that long and hang up after three rings. These things have mostly worked for me. No calls for months, then they may start again, but stop. I hope these tactics might help someone else.

"Report illegal robocalls. Reporting helps law enforcement and investigators stop illegal robocalls. Report them at DoNotCall.gov.". Reporting won't help because the phone numbers are spoofed. My best defense is screening all calls and assuming anyone I don't personally know that wants any information, money, or really anything is a scammer.

For the 3rd time, I have a new phone #! I had 2 blocking apps and at 1 point had received 35 calls a day! 361 calls in 3 days! How are these people allowed to harass me as they had been doing. I got PTSD from getting angry about my phone ringing again, again and again. It was a nightmare. They had said they were from Market place, and tried to get me to sign up for something that being over 71 makes me ineligible for!!! I have not used my new # online. These people should be prosecuted!!!!

Having to follow all those steps to report calls from fake numbers is silly and pointless Govt could do something if they wanted to

This is just an idea, but what if there was a way to stop getting these annoying calls. For example, we all have a contacts file, right. What if we could set our phone up to only allow calls to connect that are already listed as a contact in our phones & all others were automatically rejected, and to further help this feature have the companies who provide our phone service have a way to identify if a number has been spoofed & block those calls? I'm sure if there is a way to spoof a number there has to be a way to identify that it has been spoofed. I actually had someone call me and accuse me of calling them and said that I was telling them I was from social security & was trying to get money from her because the person stated that she had been overpaid. I'm sure if there is a way to spoof a number there has to be a way to un-spoof it.

The phone companies are intermediaries in those Scams. They have the resources to help stopping that and supporting the consumers. We are paying to get beheaded by these scammers.

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Greg Miller

What's Up With That? Phantom Cellphone Vibrations

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It happens to me maybe once or twice a month. Just the other morning I was in the elevator with my bike, riding up to our third-floor office. I felt a vibration in my pocket and reached for my phone. It wasn't there. It was in my messenger bag, I quickly remembered as I tried to act casual.

I'm not alone in this experience. A handful of studies in recent years have examined the prevalence of phantom cellphone vibrations, and they've come up with impressive numbers, from 68 percent of the medical staff at a Massachusetts hospital to 89 percent of undergraduates at a midwestern university, to more than 90 percent of Taiwanese doctors-in-training in the middle of their internships.

"Phantom vibrations are this unusual curiosity that speaks to our connection with our phones," said David Laramie, a clinical psychologist in Beverly Hills who did his doctoral thesis on people's relationships with their mobile phones. Laramie's thesis, published in 2007, was the first study to examine the prevalence of phantom vibrations and phantom ringing. Two-thirds of the people he surveyed had experienced one or the other. "It's part of the modern landscape and our relationship with technology," he said.

In 2012, the Macquarie Dictionary, the authoritative source of Australian English, chose "phantom vibration syndrome" as its " Word of the Year ." (In what presumably was a coincidence, the readers choice award that year went to "First World problem.")

OK, so it's not among the most pressing issues of our day (indeed, the vast majority of people surveyed describe the sensation as not at all bothersome at all, or only a little bit bothersome). But it's an intriguing phenomenon. Healthy people don't often hallucinate. But lots of healthy people experience this particular hallucination. What could be causing it?

Hallucination may not be the most appropriate term, according to Laramie. "You're misinterpreting something, but there is this external cue. You're not totally making it up." A compelling alternative, he suggests, is pareidolia. "That's the phenomenon where you see a face in the clouds or hear 'Paul is dead' when you listen to the Beatles backwards." (Or see the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich ). Essentially, it's your brain getting a little bit carried away with its normally very useful talent for finding patterns in the world around you.

Laramie was inspired to study phantom phone phenomena by his own experience with phantom ringing. "Back then I had a certain ring that involved a pitch that was akin to sounds I bumped into in my life all the time," he said. When he changed his ringtone, the phantom ringing stopped.

In his thesis research, he found the two biggest predictors of phantom vibrations and ringing were age (young people experienced them more) and the extent to which people relied on their phone to regulate their emotional state—checking their phone when they wanted to calm down, for example, or get an emotional boost. "My hunch is at this point it's a generational thing," Laramie said. Twenty- and thirty-somethings who grew up with cellphones and have them ingrained in their daily lives probably experience the effect more than older people or technophobes, he says.

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For a more mechanistic explanation, I called Sliman Bensmaia, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago who studies the sense of touch. He was familiar with phantom vibrations, but says he didn't realize how common they are. "I had no idea this is a thing," he said. "But it's happened to me on a few occasions, to the extent that I reached for my phone and was surprised it wasn't there."

There are two types of receptors in the skin that detect vibrations: Meissner's corpuscles, which specialize in slow vibrations, and Pacinian corpuscles, which specialize in higher-frequency vibrations. Most cellphones vibrate at between 130 and 180 hertz, which falls in between the sweet spots of the two types of receptors. Those vibrations probably activate both types of receptors, but probably activate the Pacinian corpuscles more, Bensmaia says.

Like Laramie, Bensmaia thinks phantom vibrations are a result of the brain's penchant for filling in the gaps to find patterns. A visual equivalent, he suggests, is seeing the outlines of furniture when you walk through your house in near-total darkness, or seeing the image of a Dalmatian in a field of black and white dots (it's hard to see at first, but once you detect the pattern it's almost impossible not to see it).

"What happens, I think, is that because your clothes are rubbing against your skin, you cause activity in the same receptors, and that activity is just similar enough to the activity caused by a vibrating phone that it triggers the learned association and the perception of a vibrating phone," he said. It’s not clear exactly where in the brain that occurs, Bensmaia says, but it probably involves the primary somatosensory cortex and other higher-level areas that process the sense of touch.

If that explanation is right, you should only experience phantom vibrations where you commonly keep your phone, and probably not when you're naked. Laramie says he's had one or two people tell him they often experience phantom vibrations when they wear corduroy pants, which would seem to fit well with the pattern completion hypothesis, especially if the ridges slide across the skin at a frequency that approximates that of a vibrating cellphone. (It's too hot in California to wear corduroys right now, but I pulled out a pair and did a quick calculation: at 14 ridges per inch, if an inch of fabric slid across the skin in a tenth of a second, say as you took a step, that would get you to 140 hertz, which is in the ballpark).

Now, if you happen to be one of the 5 to 10 percent of people who find phantom vibrations bothersome, it should be easy to reduce or eliminate them. If you stop using vibration mode or keep your phone in another place, your brain should soon learn to stop monitoring your thigh for vibrations. And whatever you do, don't wear cords.

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Custom Charging Stations + Event Technology

Phantom Cell Phone Buzzing: Explained

Have you ever felt your phone vibrate in your pocket or bag, only to check it and find no notifications at all? If you’ve ever fallen for the “phantom” call or text, it may be an indicator of just how attached you are to your phone.

A recent study has found that an overwhelming 80% of college students have experienced the “phantom buzz”, which makes sense if you factor in how frequently college students check their phones. Regardless of demographic information such as age, the average mobile phone user interacts with their device roughly 76 times a day with heavy users averaging 132 interactions. This means that on 76 unique occasions over the course of our day, we’re looking at and/or interacting with our phones.

That’s a lot of Candy Crush!

Regardless of what you specifically use your phone for, there’s no question that our phones have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Even when we’re not using our phones for a specific reason such as texting, making phone calls, jotting down notes, or looking up directions, many of us default to filling our downtime with our phones. If you’re skeptical about this, try waiting in line at the bank or your local Starbucks and see how many people have their eyes glued to their phone.

So what does phone use have to do with phantom buzzing? Doing anything over 76 times a day can easily be qualified as a habit or even an addiction. One of the key feature of addictions is that people can become hyper-sensitive to the things that trigger the “reward” they’re craving. In this case, the reward isn’t a piece of cheese to a mouse or an illicit drug to a drug user, but rather a notification from the individual’s cell phone.

People who are heavy daily cell phone users can crave notifications so much that they interpret their phone rubbing in their pocket or bag as the “buzz” they’ve been eagerly waiting for. This is more or less the same phenomenon as hearing your ringtone from someone else’s phone across the room but taking the time to check your phone anyway. Those who are highly dependent on their phones and fall into the “high daily use” category are more prone to experiencing phantom buzzes and can even become irritable when they’re in situations where they can’t use their phone.

So how do we cut down on phantom buzzing? Aside from an earthquake-proof phone case (or turning your vibrate settings off), generally checking our phones less often can lead to less phantom buzzes. The less we collectively rely on interactions via apps and mobile devices and focus on our daily lives, the less often we’ll be faked out by our phones jostling about in our pockets.

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What's the Deal With Phantom Phone Vibrations?

You're probably just too attached to your phone. 

phantom text phone

By Daniel J. Kruger , University of Michigan

Have you ever experienced a phantom phone call or text? You’re convinced that you felt your phone vibrate in your pocket, or that you heard your ringtone, but when you check your phone, no one actually tried to get in touch with you.

You then might plausibly wonder: “Is my phone acting up, or is it me?”

Well, it’s probably you, and it could be a sign of just how attached you’ve become to your phone.

At least you’re not alone. Over 80 percent of college students we surveyed have experienced it . However, if it’s happening a lot — more than once a day — it could be a sign that you’re psychologically dependent on your cellphone.

There’s no question that cellphones are part of the social fabric in many parts of the world, and some people spend hours each day on their phones. Our research team recently found that most people will fill their downtime by fiddling with their phones. Others even do so in the middle of a conversation. And most people will check their phones within 10 seconds of getting in line for coffee or arriving at a destination.

Clinicians and researchers still debate whether excessive use of cellphones or other technology can constitute an addiction. It wasn’t included in the latest update to the DSM-5 , the American Psychiatric Association’s definitive guide for classifying and diagnosing mental disorders.

But given the ongoing debate , we decided to see if phantom buzzes and rings could shed some light on the issue.

A Virtual Drug?

Addictions are pathological conditions in which people compulsively seek rewarding stimuli, despite the negative consequences. We often hear reports about how cellphone use can be problematic for relationships and for developing effective social skills .

One of the features of addictions is that people become hypersensitive to cues related to the rewards they are craving. Whatever it is, they start to see it everywhere. (I had a college roommate who once thought that he saw a bee’s nest made out of cigarette butts hanging from the ceiling.)

So might people who crave the messages and notifications from their virtual social worlds do the same? Would they mistakenly interpret something they hear as a ringtone, their phone rubbing in their pocket as a vibrating alert or even think they see a notification on their phone screen, when, in reality, nothing is there?

A Human Malfunction

We decided to find out. From a tested survey measure of problematic cellphone use , we pulled out items assessing psychological cellphone dependency. We also created questions about the frequency of experiencing phantom ringing, vibrations and notifications. We then administered an online survey to over 750 undergraduate students.

Those who scored higher on cellphone dependency — they more often used their phones to make themselves feel better, became irritable when they couldn’t use their phones, and thought about using their phone when they weren’t on it — had more frequent phantom phone experiences .

Cellphone manufacturers and phone service providers have assured us that phantom phone experiences are not a problem with the technology. As HAL 9000 might say, they are a product of “human error.”

So where, exactly, have we erred? We are in a brave new world of virtual socialization, and the psychological and social sciences can barely keep up with advances in the technology .

Phantom phone experiences may seem like a relatively small concern in our electronically connected age. But they raise the specter of how reliant we are on our phones and how much influence phones have in our social lives.

How can we navigate the use of cellphones to maximize the benefits and minimize the hazards, whether it’s improving our own mental health or honing our live social skills? What other new technologies will change how we interact with others?

Our minds will continue to buzz with anticipation.

Daniel J. Kruger , Research Assistant Professor, University of Michigan .

This article was originally published on The Conversation . Read the original article .

phantom text phone

Scotty Cameron launches new Phantom prototype putters at Sony Open in Hawaii

A look at the new Scotty Cameron Phantom mallet putters range. (Courtesy Scotty Cameron)

A look at the new Scotty Cameron Phantom mallet putters range. (Courtesy Scotty Cameron)

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GolfWRX.com

It was unclear last week whether Young’s putter was simply a 1-of-1 design, or whether there was something bigger coming down the pipeline from Scotty Cameron.

A look at Cameron Young’s T-5 Tour-Only prototype putter from Scotty Cameron that he put into play at The Sentry. (Courtesy GolfWRX)

A look at Cameron Young’s T-5 Tour-Only prototype putter from Scotty Cameron that he put into play at The Sentry. (Courtesy GolfWRX)

As it turns out, the answer is the latter.

This week at the Sony Open in Hawaii over on the neighboring Island of Oahu, Scotty Cameron officially revealed four new “Phantom” mallet putters, with similar designs to what Young debuted at The Plantation Course at Kapalua.

The four models that Scotty Cameron revealed on his Instagram page include a T-5 (the model that Young used), a T-5.5, a T-7 and a T-7.5.

A look at the new Scotty Cameron Phantom mallet putters range. (Courtesy Scotty Cameron/Titleist)

A look at the new Scotty Cameron Phantom mallet putters range. (Courtesy Scotty Cameron/Titleist)

Judging by Scotty Cameron’s photos from on-site at the Sony Open in Hawaii, it appears the T-5 and T-7 models are equipped with double-bend hosels, whereas the T-5.5 and T-7.5 models are equipped with short slant necks. It also appears that Young’s specific build, which was equipped with an elongated knuckle-neck hosel, is not part of the core four models that are being offered to players at Waialae Country Club, so at the moment Young’s T-5 putter is actually a one-off design.

It also appears that Scotty Cameron is offering various sightline variations on the crowns of the new 2024 Phantom designs. As pictured above, in a photo posted to Scotty Cameron’s Instagram page on Tuesday, the T-5 and T-5.5 models have three-dot alignment lines, while the T-7 model has three lines (one small black line on the topline, and two longer white lines to frame the ball), and the T-7.5 model displays a unique arrow design for the topline, and two longer white lines.

The most obvious difference between Scotty Cameron’s former 2022 Phantom putters, and the new 2024 Phantom putters, is the introduction of more angular shapes on either side of the crowns, which appear to help to visibly frame the golf ball at address. Aside from the angular differences, it still remains to be seen what other design, technology and material differences exist between these new options and their predecessors.

For now, Scotty Cameron hasn’t revealed any additional information than what’s available in his Instagram post, we’ll make sure to keep the Equipment Report updated with more info as it comes, and as more players test the products and provide feedback.

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COMMENTS

  1. What Is a Phantom Text Message?

    A phantom text message that is the result of a mobile phone's malfunction appears when checking your device for incoming messages. In these situations, the phone's indicator reports there is an incoming message, but attempting to access the incoming message shows there is no message after all.

  2. Phantom text messages were sent around the country last night

    Phantom text messages were sent around the country last night By Christian de Looper November 7, 2019 Did you get a strange text from a known number early this morning? Apparently, so did a...

  3. Phantom Text Messages Were Sent Around The Country Last Night

    The phenomenon of phantom text messages has raised numerous questions and sparked intense curiosity among mobile phone users. People are eager to understand how and why these mysterious messages are appearing on their devices. Is it a glitch in the system? A prank? Or something more unusual?

  4. SpaceX and T-Mobile send the first text messages from orbiting ...

    SpaceX sent and received its first text messages sent via T-Mobile using its D2D (direct-to-device) Starlink satellites launched just over a week ago, the company announced. First revealed in ...

  5. What's behind Phantom Cell Phone Buzzes?

    Have you ever experienced a phantom phone call or text? You're convinced that you felt your phone vibrate in your pocket, or that you heard your ring tone. But when you check your phone,...

  6. Why you think your phone is vibrating when it is not

    Sensing phantom phone vibrations is a strangely common experience. Around 80% of us have imagined a phone vibrating in our pockets when it's actually completely still. Almost 30% of us have...

  7. Starlink shows off first texts to T-Mobile phones sent via SpaceX

    SpaceX. 0. SpaceX is showing off the first text messages sent between T-Mobile phones via one of Starlink's low Earth orbit satellites. "On Monday, January 8, the Starlink team successfully sent ...

  8. What's behind phantom cellphone buzzes?

    Have you ever experienced a phantom phone call or text? You're convinced that you felt your phone vibrate in your pocket, or that you heard your ring tone. But when you check your phone,...

  9. The Phone That Wasn't There: 11 Things You Need to Know About Phantom

    3. If you use your phone more, you're more likely to feel phantom vibrations. The 2007 graduate study found that people who heard phantom rings roughly used twice as many minutes and sent five ...

  10. SpaceX's Cellular Starlink Successfully Beams First Text Messages to Phones

    The company is aiming to launch the cellular Starlink service for T-Mobile customers, starting with text messages, later this year. SpaceX then plans on expanding the service to support voice and ...

  11. What is Phantom Vibration Syndrome?

    The phantom phone vibration syndrome occurs when a person thinks his or her phone is ringing or vibrating from a text message when it actually is not. As a society increasingly dependent on mobile devices, the phantom vibrate easily becomes a phenomenon of worry for users. What is Phantom Vibration Syndrome

  12. Here's Why You Might Have Received a Phantom Text Message Last Night

    A representative from Sprint told ELLE.com that on Wednesday evening a maintenance update occurred to part of the messaging platforms of multiple carriers in the United States, including Sprint,...

  13. What's Behind Phantom Cellphone Buzzes?

    Well, it's probably you, and it could be a sign of just how attached you've become to your phone. At least you're not alone. Over 80 percent of college students we surveyed have experienced it ...

  14. Phantom Phone Vibrations: So Common They've Changed Our Brains?

    Phantom vibration — that phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating but it's not — has been around only since the mobile age. And five years ago, when its wider existence became ...

  15. Psychologists explain phantom notifications and 'ringxiety'

    In a recent study, University of Michigan research assistant professor Daniel Kruger and research assistant Jaikob Djerf attempted to correlate the phenomenon of phantom calls and texts with...

  16. What is Phantom Vibration Syndrome?

    The syndrome known as "phantom vibration" is characterized by an individual falsely perceiving that their cell phone is either vibrating or ringing at a time when it clearly isn't. Those that experience phantom vibration syndrome may be engaging in an activity away from their cell phone, yet believe that it's ringing.

  17. Why Did Your iPhone Beep or Vibrate? Here's How to Find Out

    Apps can have invisible notifications that vibrate your phone or play your notification sound. To check for this, head to Settings > Notifications. If an app is set to "Sounds" without "Banners," it will play a notification sound without showing you any visible notifications. If an app is set to "Sounds" without banners, but with "Badges," it ...

  18. What's behind phantom cellphone buzzes?

    SLU Hospital nurses return to picket lines for strike day 2. <p>Have you ever experienced a phantom phone call or text? You're convinced that you felt your phone vibrate in your pocket, or that ...

  19. "Phantom" text messages? It says I have u…

    Level 1 21 points "Phantom" text messages? It says I have unread texts when I don't (I have tried everything) So here's the deal: I'm having the "phantom" message problem where, despite the fact that I have checked all of my texts, I still get the little (1) on the app (or in my case, 36!)

  20. How are robocallers getting your phone number?

    Here's what to do to avoid and report robocalls and scams: Protect your personal information. Before you enter your personal information on a website, research it. Search the name of the site plus "complaint," "review," or "scam.". Read the fine print. Some websites might have small disclaimers that say if you click a link or ...

  21. phantom text messages

    Sometimes, in the past, it would come a day later. It would show we have a text, but there is nothing there. Either the picture would eventually come, or the text alert number would just vanish. Can you help us fix this. Also, this didn't start until the last update on the phones. Maureen

  22. What's Up With That? Phantom Cellphone Vibrations

    Most cellphones vibrate at between 130 and 180 hertz, which falls in between the sweet spots of the two types of receptors. Those vibrations probably activate both types of receptors, but probably ...

  23. Why do I get a phantom text message when I reboot my phone?

    Every time I start up my HTC One X I get a notification of a new text message. That text message is blank and is 'from' a string of gobbledygook. Here is a screen-shot of the message:-Note that the From is an upside-down exclamation mark and those other two strange characters. This is always the same. I do not believe it is a function of the Go ...

  24. Phantom text messages

    However, this phantom text is strange and more interesting if it originates from the car and not the phone. My guess it is that the phone is sending the notification somehow by mistake. The text is from a contact that I haven't texted to in many months and the message itself is seemingly not part of an old conversation we had or any recent ...

  25. What's behind phantom cellphone buzzes?

    Cellphone manufacturers and phone service providers have assured us that phantom phone experiences are not a problem with the technology. As HAL 9000 might say, they are a product of "human ...

  26. Phantom Cell Phone Buzzing: Explained

    If you've ever fallen for the "phantom" call or text, it may be an indicator of just how attached you are to your phone. A recent study has found that an overwhelming 80% of college students have experienced the "phantom buzz", which makes sense if you factor in how frequently college students check their phones.

  27. What Causes Phantom Cellphone Vibrations?

    Phantom phone experiences may seem like a relatively small concern in our electronically connected age. But they raise the specter of how reliant we are on our phones and how much influence phones ...

  28. Scotty Cameron launches new Phantom prototype putters at Sony Open in

    Judging by Scotty Cameron's photos from on-site at the Sony Open in Hawaii, it appears the T-5 and T-7 models are equipped with double-bend hosels, whereas the T-5.5 and T-7.5 models are ...