The Real Story of the “555” Phone Numbers Used In Movies and TV Shows

You may have been watching a movie or television show and heard an actor call a phone number starting with the number "555". If you call that phone number, chances are the number will be disconnected, but does that mean that all phone numbers containing 555 are fake? Not quite — some phone numbers containing 555 are still in use today. They were originally reserved for internal use by local exchange carriers and directory assistance, but in 1994 applications were accepted for the number. While the majority of applications were filed by carriers and phone routing companies, there were some individuals who registered. Some phone companies and carriers began charging for the number, since they required extensive support. Verizon, for example, was notorious for charging high fees to establish service to 555 numbers, charging $2,500 for each area code the customer wanted their 555 number to be routed in. That resulted in many owners of 555 numbers switching to a standard number. In 2015, the FCC began reclaiming 555 numbers, and within a year, the majority were out of use. There still exists a small number of 555 phone numbers in use today. To eliminate any confusion, the numbers 555-0100 through 555-199 are reserved for use in advertising, TV shows and movies. The number 1-800-555-1212 is still reserved for directory assistance, and 1-800-555-3453 is reserved for the IRS tax payment system.