Among the mass of IKEA furniture up for sale on San Francisco’s Craigslist, a new item has popped up in the last few days: area code 415 phone numbers.
In February, the “628” joined the “415” as San Francisco’s area code, inducing a wave of nostalgia for the city’s singular identifier and a headache for residents who suddenly had to update their phone contacts to include the area code. The 415 had been the city’s area code since 1947, although its original territory has been sliced up several times since then to make room for the 707 to the North, the 510 to the East and the litany of area codes to the South.
With news that the 628 will now be synonymous with the city by the bay, some industrious residents have seen this as a time to cash in on their digital tie to the city.
The Phone Number Guy lists 168 phone numbers available on his site, including 415-340-0000 for sale for the top price of $US9,999.
But it’s not just professionals. A diverse group ranging from long-time San Francisco residents to cash-strapped college students have been posting advertisements on Craigslist in an effort to cash in on their own piece of San Francisco history. Prices on the posts ranged from $US1/negotiable to $US1,000 and as high as $US4,700 for the former number of a male stripper in the city. Booty texts included, the ad said.
But you may not want to plunk down a couple thousand quite yet.
First, there’s the question of how legal it is to sell your phone number in the first place. An FCC spokesperson told the San Francisco Chronicle that “numbers are not for sale.” In February 2015, the commission in fact imposed a $US3.36 million fine on a New York man who had been selling toll-free numbers through his company IT Connect.
This doesn’t mean wanna-be 415 originals are out of luck. Calls placed to Verizon and AT&T stores confirmed they are still giving out 415 numbers and plan to do so for “quite a while”, according to the AT&T store representative.