TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: UCLA Student has Old Paris Hilton Cell Number

UCLA Student has Old Paris Hilton Cell Number

Associated Press NewsWire (
Fri, 06 Jul 2007 22:19:21 -0500

For months, Shira Barlow's cell phone was flooded with wrong-number
calls and text messages, mostly between 2 and 4 a.m. on weekends. Told
they had reached a college student, callers refused to believe it.

"Baby girl, how are you?" one man purred in a foreign accent. "Why are
you doing this?" a woman asked. "This is so rude." And there were
several seemingly random references to "Paris."

As in Paris Hilton.

Barlow's story began on Valentine's Day during a night out with
friends. She was carrying her phone in a back pocket when it fell
into a toilet. When she replaced it, her wireless company insisted on
assigning the San Francisco native a new number with a 310 area code
rather than 415.

Barlow had been given a recycled phone number that used to be
Hilton's. The practice stems from efforts to conserve phone numbers
to minimize area-code splitting.

Just after Barlow got her new phone close to Hilton's Feb. 17
birthday, a flurry of calls and texts arrived. "Oh my God," one caller
said. "Where's the party?"

Then came the day Hilton was sentenced to jail after violating
probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case. Messages about
parties were replaced by dozens expressing condolences.

"People were scared for her," Barlow said.

The phone traffic trailed off when Hilton entered jail last month. But
when Hilton was released, a new crop of messages flooded in.

"It's disgusting how they treated you in there, but once again you
have showed the world that you can do anything," one wrote.

Barlow said she has resisted the temptation to pose as Hilton to get
into exclusive parties. But she did message supporters "thanks so
much," believing Hilton would appreciate it.

Barlow plans to keep the number because she says it has been a greater
source of amusement than a hassle.

"It was really out of convenience," she added. "I didn't want to
switch again."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

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