back to article Nigerians panic over killer calls

The Nigerian public has been reassured by authorities that answering a phone call cannot cause death, after widespread rumours raised concern. According to viral text messages, a number of people had died when answering the phone to the ID 09141, BBC News reports. The Nigerian Communications Commission issued the reassurance …


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  1. Thomas 4

    Mental note

    *create an email address and watch Ring for tips*

    1. N13L5

      bah, I bet I could kill you over the phone with some fancy ultrasound making all your braincells dance till they melt

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    This is elementary school scare stuff, right?

    Next: People who received an IP packet with 0xDEAD in the header checksum will have their explode like in scanners.

    1. JimC


      people die all the time: a quick google suggests something over 150,000 a day. Some of those must die within a reasonably short time of receiving a phone call (especially if they are driving a car!). So there must be quite a number of collections of numbers that several people have died shortly after receiving calls from...

      As the average human is quite incapable of appreciating statistical reality and the occurence of random events then its not impossible that such coincidences can exist and people react to them...

  3. Heironymous Coward

    No title is needed...

    "We can only hope that 419 scammers will be among them" - you mean among the gullible people who believe the rumour? Or among the people who died when receiving a call from 09141?? I know which I hope for (happy icon)

    Perhaps this would be a good telephone number for a 419 baiter to give to a scammer.

  4. irish donkey

    I seen a film

    which told the story of a Video could kill you.

    So don't watch any old video tapes you pick up in holiday cabins!

    I'm scared

  5. Steve Evans


    In a electrical storm it is possible, especially with overhead phone lines, but Thor withholds his number.

  6. James Micallef Silver badge

    sounds like

    The Ring

    Do they die immediately after getting the call from this number, or are they collected one week later by a dripping abomination from the depths of hell?

    1. Lottie

      More like the sequel

      The ring-tone

  7. Geoff Thompson

    BBC Radio 4

    Dead Ringers

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I think you're right - that's an abomination of a 'comedy' programme.

      I would much prefer to die than listen to that crap.

  8. Big_Ted

    dripping abomination from the depths of hell.....

    @ James micallef

    Now is that any way to talk about Mr Ballmer ?

    The poor chap is trying to sale a Noddy UI'd phone OS as a desktop replacement with a strait face......

    He doesn't need complements to boost his ego as well.....

  9. Mondo the Magnificent
    Paris Hilton

    Africa and superstition!

    This isn't the first time this story has come up, I recall this very same superstitious event being mentioned a few years back.. and Nigerian citizens wouldn't take calls or read texts from unknown / non displayed numbers as they had no idea what the "number of death" was...

    Ironically just owning a mobile phone can get you killed at the hands of thieves in some African countries!

    Paris: Because having her number in your contacts is a curse..

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge


      She may want to invite you round to make some hone videos.

    2. JimC

      > owning a mobile phone can get you killed at the hands of thieves in some African countries!

      and that's happened in plenty of western inner cities too...

  10. TheRealRoland

    Showing my age here?

    Blipverts, anyone?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh yeah, I do miss old Max.

    2. Jon Double Nice

      We're not

      20 minutes into the future yet.

    3. Steve Evans

      Aye... This modern technology wouldn't be able to handle them!

  11. Wize

    Will have to use the phone exchane at work to fake a caller ID

    I have a Nigerian mate to prank...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The next 419 you get, simply reply with "09141" and see the response.

  13. Shonko Kid
    Black Helicopters

    "Technically, it is not possible for such a thing to happen"

    At least, that's what the NSA want you to think!

    I look forward to this being used as a plot device in the popular Sci-Fi detective series, CSI: Miami

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      There was an episode of the X files where a phone call would send you on a killing spree.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


        An old movie with Bronson where Soviet sleeper agents in the US were being activated by code-words after receiving a phone call from their handler.

      2. Nuke

        @ Gordon 10

        Quote : "There was an episode of the X files where a phone call would send you on a killing spree."

        That would be a sales call from TalkTalk

  14. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Black Helicopters

    A Friend...

    told me that he made a few mods to a cell phone so that sending a code during a call would detonate a small charge.

    This was several years ago, and ISTR it worked, killing a terrorist.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


      Find a terrorist, plant a small charge into hist phone, call him, send the code - job done.

      As opposed to

      Find a terrorist, shoot in the head - job done.

      1. Wize

        A bit like the film...

        ...Law Abiding Citizen

  15. Mike Bell

    I'm sure I saw a Vincent Price movie donkey's years ago, where someone picked up a phone and received a high-speed bolt through the inner ear (fatal).

  16. Flugal


    Seems the only thing many people are sceptical about is scepticism.

  17. Peter Townsend

    This is news?

    I am a little surprised at the BBC.

    Believing that answering a phone call will kill you is no more idiotic and contrary to common sense and scientific evidence than believing in a Christian - or any other - God.

    The difference is that if you grow up in the war torn back of beyond in Nigeria where the nearest school is 3 days walk away or would be if it hadn't been burned down by some lunatic militia that is probably being armed and funded by the UK/US/France/Russia (delete as applicable) you can understand this sort of superstition.

    What excuse do the millions of God-bothering idiots in the developed West have?

    This is not a "news" story, it's a "let's all laugh at the silly black people" story.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You missed a bit...

      ... just after mentioning the 3 day walk to school you forgot to add the fear of being raped and killed as well.

  18. Insane Reindeer
    Black Helicopters

    Yes you can!

    You bloody well can die just by answering your phone! It's just that the act of answering the phone may have been disguised by the resultant explosion caused by the AGM-114R targeted on the person who answered the phone!

  19. Desk Jockey


    It is possible to be killed by your mobile phone, but the pre-requisite is that you need to have p@ssed-off Mossad first! Or use a phone belonging to a terrorist where Mossad have planted a small explosive charge in the phone...

    Either way, I don't think Mossad gives out the numbers it uses to do this (presumably this is irrelevant?) and I don't think they have a particular vendetta against Nigerians! ;)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like Korean Fan Death?

    Pfft, there's one born every minute.

  21. sisk

    And they say Americans are gullible....

  22. John Gaunt

    Comic Book Story

    I recall reading a comic book story from the 70's that had a similar theme.

    A lowly telephone repairman accidentally tweaked a phone such that it killed a goldfish that was near a handset. The repairman hated his job, so he attempted to place a call to the president of his company. The killer-call failed to go through. The repairman decided to move up the ranks slowly by calling (and thus killing) his supervisors. He eventually became the president of the company.

    The first call he took as the big boss was . . . the first killer-call he placed when he was a repairman.

  23. Blacklight

    Whatever happened to Black Boxes? :P

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It is only very gullible people that will believe such a rumour."

    What, like those who believe in [insert religion]?

    1. Puck

      Oh! Oh! Oh!


      You must listen to tonight's "a point of view" on BBCR4, "believing in belief" "John Gray argues that the scientific and rationalist attack on religion is misguided. "

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Who cares what John Gray's opinion is? It's an opinion. It's no more valid than yours or mine. Arguing about whether an invisible sky fairy exists or not is not rational. Believers are not going to be convinced of their mistake (because it wasn't rationally achieved) and the non-believers can only be proved wrong with scientific evidence of said deity. It's a non-starter.

        *Some* people believe in all sorts of stuff/crap. As long as it doesn't effect me - who cares?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "As long as it doesn't effect me - who cares?"

          Well, think about what e.g. Tony Blair did, and how he now justifies it.

          In case there are people who aren't aware: "I did it because I believed it was right, as God is my judge". Not his exact words but a fair paraphrase. "It" includes invading Iraq and a pile of other stuff.

          Now think again about what you just wrote?

        2. The Indomitable Gall


          "Who cares what John Gray's opinion is? It's an opinion. It's no more valid than yours or mine. Arguing about whether an invisible sky fairy exists or not is not rational."

          Exactly, which is presumably going to be the main point of the programme. It's not rational to say God/a god/goes exist and it's not rational to say he/they don't exist. Which is why any scientific attack on the concept of deities is "misguided".

          (Not to other readers: there's a difference between "not rational" and "irrational". Being irrational means going against logic. When there's no logical path to follow, it's a non-rational matter.)

          1. Geoff Mackenzie

            ... but ...

            on the other hand, there actually are no gods; just because that's not strictly provable doesn't mean every bonkers notion gets equal credit. It'd be irrational to say that I know for sure no gods exist, but it's pretty crazy to suggest that science can have nothing to say about a pretty immense, elaborate claim with no supporting evidence.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Atheism is a religion to, and most of it's adherents are far more rabid than any Christian I've ever met, with the possible exception of a few very persistant door to door missionaries.

      Tell ya what, you keep your religion and I'll keep mine and when one or the other of us can actually prove or disprove the existance of God then we'll shove insults in the other's face. Till then let's be civil to each other.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Now if only we can perpetrate the myth about sending 419 scam emails being fatal to the sender…

  26. martin 62

    Dooms Day is upon us people!!!!!

    Tips to survive:

    1. Smash your tv (so the girl cant get out of the screen)

    2.board up your windows ( so the mass of marauding zombies which are outside will have a hard time reaching you)

    3.Dead bolt your door ( see above)

    4.Smash your mobile phone ( so you cant receive a killer phone call)

    5.unplug your landline. (see above)

    6 curl up in a ball in the corner of your bedroom and start praying

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Forgot to mention...

      7. Don't ever fall asleep.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    "The Nigerian Communications Commission issued the reassurance after many Nigerians actually fell for it, hook, line and ringer" ..... and promptly dropped dead on answering a call?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "many Nigerians actually fell for it, hook, line and ringer."

    What? So many Nigerians really did die after taking the call? *gasp*

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