Identify Fax Machines That Ring You By Diverting Them

Identify Fax Machines That Ring You By Diverting Them

It’s less common in these email-centric days, but there’s still the odd occasion when you answer your phone and hear that long series of screeches that signals some idiot is trying to send a fax. If the problem persists (as it often does with auto-dialling fax senders), you can detect the culprit by diverting your phone line to an actual fax machine.

Picture by Michelle Kinsey Bruns

Tech editor extraordinaire Nathan Cochrane offered up this solution to the why-is-a-fax-ringing-me-every-two-minutes dilemma to a colleague on Twitter:

Redirect your phone to the Herald fax for a few minutes, wait to see what spits out. Then call the offender.

That's easily done if you're working in an office environment -- even if you can't divert directly, you can always temporarily connect your own incoming line to the fax machine. Once you know who is responsible, you can choose between a polite phone call or sending the ninjas round.

This is a deadly obvious approach once you think of it, but it never occurred to me back when fax-blasting used to be a regular occupational hazard.

[via Twitter]


  • I’ve been using this method for years, but it tends to go something like this:
    – Divert to fax machine
    – Pick up fax spam offering holiday or police sale garbage
    – Call phone number on fax to ask to be removed from list
    – Number disconnected!
    – Receive fax to my voice phone number a week or so later…

  • You can also do this on your computer if you have an old 56k modem pci card around , or still have a laptop with a port built in. Plug in the phone line, install any piece of free fax software, and you’re good to go. you can get softmodem cards for free now, since most people have no use for them.

    I did this for a while with a $5 phone line hub, when I had a rogue fax attempting to call us every day at 2am. one line goes to the phone, one line to the computer, and you’re spared a lot of annoyance.

  • Happened a lot at one time. Fax ringing on auto dial. Just rang up Telstra, they gave the usual spiel about the Privacy Act blah blah – they make it sound like there’s nothing they can do. But they do follow it up !

    Don’t mind a few false fax calls, just that 2 and half hours of constant phone ringing bordered on harassment, slowly morphing into wall climbing abilities. Dark thoughts people… very dark thoughts.

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