This page is for members of the media to learn a little about the Phone Losers of America (PLA) so you’ll know who we are and what to expect if you’d like to talk to any of us. If you’d like to skip all of this and just get on with the talking to us, head on over to our Contact Page, where you’ll find several different methods of contacting us.
Hi, I’m Brad Carter. I’m going to stop referring to the PLA as “us” because it’s starting to give me a headache. I’m the guy responsible for just about everything you see on this page. I instigate many of the happenings related to the PLA, I pay the bills and I deal with the contact from unhappy authorities. I do have plenty of help and support from my friends and members of the PLA Forums, but for the most part it’s just me here. I also write under the name RedBoxChiliPepper, or RBCP.
Phone Losers of America began in 1994 as a text file group. Back then, before the internet was available to most people, my fellow nerds and I would communicate on computer bulletin board systems (BBSes) and we shared information with each other by writing “text files.” Text files could contain information on just about anything, but my preferred information involved computer hacking and phone phreaking. I soon began writing my own humorous text files on these subjects and eventually named them the Phone Losers of America. This is how the PLA became known in the computer underground. I’ll spare you all the lengthy history, but you can read about it all by going to the PLA’s History Page.
Today the PLA is primarily a comedy website that receives around 7,000 unique visitors each day and began it’s roots in the computer underground, before everyone had the internet. We have a strong community of readers and contributors, some who have remained with us since the very beginning. The website is updated continuously with news about various PLA projects. Popular projects of the PLA include the PLA Radio Podcast, the weekly call-in show on Cacti Radio called The Phone Show, prank phone calls, and the PLA book.
Prank calls are often a byproduct of the things we talk about on our weekly call-in show, and are often used to demonstrate security vulnerabilities in the PLA Radio podcast. And, of course, friends and I also make them for good, old-fashioned fun.
The difference you’ll often find in PLA’s prank calls in that we’re usually on the receiving end of the prank calls, instead of calling out to people. Customers calling into businesses will find themselves talking to us, rather than an employee of the business they were trying to reach. Below you can listen to a few examples of our calls. All of the calls below have been edited so that they are 100% safe for radio and television broadcast. For more radio safe prank calls, visit our Radio Safe page.
|Truck Fire A lady calls an automotive shop to ask if her truck was ready to pick up and is surprised to find out that the truck has exploded, setting the shop on fire, and she will be responsible for the damages.|
|Christmas Bows A lady calls a well-known super store and is surprised to find an employee who isn’t willing to help her find Christmas bows.|
|Turn Down Your Radio A customer can’t believe the way an employee of Wal-Mart asks her to turn down her radio so he can understand her better.|
|Unpatriotic Woman A woman calling a movie theater for the show times doesn’t understand military time, so clearly she’s a terrorist.|
|Pharmacy Mistransfer This girl is really upset when she calls a Wal-Mart pharmacy and keeps ending up in the wrong department.|
It’s a collection of intertwined stories and high-concept pranks which take you on a twenty year journey of high-tech humor, culture jamming, and criminal mischief. From remotely controlling the overhead paging system of a large supermarket, to confusing the phone company with various call forwarding stunts, this bizarre collection of pranks will not only make you laugh, but will cause you to question the security and sanity of common, everyday business procedures.
Yes, I’m often contacted by the media and asked questions about the PLA or general questions about phone phreaking and computers. Since 1995, PLA has been mentioned in the Belleville News Democrat, USA Today, the Boston Herald, 2600, TechTV, and countless other websites, books, magazines and radio shows. I also appeared in a televised interview on CNBC regarding PLA’s Wal-Mart pranks.
A classic PLA story appeared in the book The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey by Emmanuel Goldstein, and a page was dedicated to my eBay pranks in the 2008 book The Rough Guide to eBay by Ian Peel. PLA has been featured on Zug and I’ve been interviewed for podcasts. For a somewhat complete page of PLA press clippings and media coverage, go to our appearances page.