Jared and his sick sister

I checked my cellphone this evening and found there were 10 text messages waiting for me. Ten! I don’t even think I’ve received that many text messages this year.

So started reading through them and found this very curious sequence of messages:

24 September

3.24pm Jared is ur sister ok please txt me back Im worried about u and ur sister

4.14pm Im waiting for u to tell me wats the matter with ur sister

4.42pm Please txt back

5.22pm Jared i dont know wats wrong i have tried finding out wats wrong with ur sister i hope everything is ok and if i dont here from u ill txt u tomorrow

6.25pm Jared i dont want to play games anymore is ur sister in hospital or not because i have been worred

7.31pm Goodnite sleep tite dont let the bed bugs bite he he he

25 September

8.57am Good morning hw r u

10.01am Jared r u ever going to txt me again

12.44pm Jared im not sure if somethings wrong ive been trying to txt but found no answer and not im a bit worred about u because u told me ur sister was in hospital and i want to know if she is ok and if its true so if something wrong please txt me because i want to know

4.10pm Jared please txt me im worried about u

At first I thought the most obvious explanation came to mind, that someone was accidentally texting me, thinking they were texting this Jared fellow.

But then I thought about it some more and questions came to mind –

  • If the sender had texted Jared before, presumedly his phone number would be in their cellphone directory, so why would it suddenly have changed to a wrong number?
  • Why did they start most of their messages with “Jared”? If I text someone, I know who they are, they know who they are. It’s extra letters to type and even harder to do with predictive texting that doesn’t recognise proper nouns.
  • Why did the attempt at writing in txt speak seem so forced? They abbreviated how to “hw”, but wrote morning in full in the same message.
  • And who goes to bed at 7.30pm on a Saturday night?

I phoned the number of the text sender. It rang, but there was no answer. The voicemail message wasn’t set up with a personal message, instead defaulting to the standard Vodafone greeting.

It’s very strange and mysterious. The only theory I’ve been able to come up with so far is that the messages are sent to randomly generated phone numbers, with the idea that people will respond to the messages and confirm the existence and use of the phone number, leading the way to text spam (the thought of which is enough to make me want to cry).

I shall phone Vodafone tomorrow to see if they have any ideas.

Of course, it could be that somewhere out there there’s a guy called Jared who has a sick sister.

Update: I called Vodafone and discovered the following.

Ever since they introduced free texting on weekend, there’s been an increase in people doing stuff like sending or forwarding texts to random people. He said that Vodafone will investigate, but only if the recipient hasn’t responded to any of the nuisance texts they’ve received. He said he wasn’t entirely why why this was, but it was something to do with it becoming a “civil matter” after the person responds.

Right, so now I know how to take care of those meddling kids.

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