Mother's worst nightmare: Teen's new phone number previously belonged to an escort

(USA TODAY) -- It started with a phone call asking for "Pebbles," as Chicago's CBS2 reported.

Then, for two weeks, bizarre texts and calls poured in.

"Where do you live?"

"Where can I meet you?"

"Where are you?"

That's when Monika Takahashi, a mother in Chicago's north suburbs, began researching the phone number newly assigned to her 13-year-old daughter, Kylie.

She found multiple pages offering the escort services of a woman named Pebbles, alongside images of a woman posing provocatively in lingerie.

And there, listed on an escort page, was her daughter's phone number.

"Saying that she's real and she's live and she's waiting and she wants to chat now," Takahashi told CBS2 in a report this month.

Visitors to the site had "basically been given a direct line of communication to my children," she said.

Takahashi later learned from T-Mobile, the phone's service provider, that her daughter had received a recycled number.

Takahashi's daughter now has a new phone number, but the mother wondered whether more stringent steps should be put in place to prevent such mix-ups in the future — especially those involving minors.

T-Mobile spokeswoman Stacey DiNuzzo confirmed the incident to USA TODAY.

"This one was not great," she said, but recycling phone numbers is a common practice among phone providers — particularly in populous areas with in-demand area codes, like Chicago.

There's "absolutely no way" carriers can vet such numbers in advance, DiNuzzo claimed, logistically nor legally. Even if T-Mobile could research past lives of "millions of phone numbers a day," she said, doing so risks infringing on federal privacy laws.

The best thing consumers can do is call or visit their carrier's retail store or call immediately for a new number, DiNuzzo said, as Takahashi did.

"This situation was so unbelievably unique," DiNuzzo said.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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