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Is there such a thing as working public phone listings these days? I've tried some of the free internet listing services and they seemed to be terribly out of date. Calling 411, which should be more accurate, can result in high charges. I know someone who was billed hundreds of dollars a month at $4.25 a time for 411 inquiries.

Expired prepaid, PAYGO and other numbers usually get suspended after two months. Unused free or expired VoIP numbers can get suspended in as little as one month. They could be difficult to reacquire after that and can be reassigned at any time.

Landline numbers have similar rules. At one time, numbers were not reassigned for up to two years. Some areas have such a shortage of numbers now that number can get reassigned in a very short time. That was a real pain when Bell made people change numbers when moving to an area served by a different exchange. I've been bombarded with calls from people and advertisers after receiving a new number previously assigned to someone with a high public profile or was on many call lists. The best option now is to port an existing number to a new service. As mentioned, porting an unused number to a free or low cost VoIP service to monitor incoming calls is another option.
 
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