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Verifying a telephone number

     
1:26 am on Jan 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Can you guys suggest a way, in any programming language, to automatically verify a submitted telephone number?

I'm on a semi-managed CentOS server, so I can install just about anything I would need. But the problem I'm having is with classifieds; every once in awhile someone will post a fake ad with someone else's phone number, presumably to get them harassed. And my site is pretty busy, so while I'm in bed asleep they might get hundreds of phone calls!

Ideally, I'd like for new users to submit the ad, the system automatically send a text, and them have to respond to verify that it's legit. Or something like that.

I mainly use PHP for displaying and Perl for processing, but I work within any language, really.

Any suggestions?
2:18 am on Jan 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What if someone posts an ad for a friend and, legitimately, uses the friend's number? This is not a programming issue but a use case issue.

Figure out your rules first before trying a programming solution. Not everyone uses texting. Not everyone has their phone on all the time.
2:29 am on Jan 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'd at least offer a choice of text or email. Classifieds would require that you register before submitting an ad I'd think, so you would have that info for a selection.
2:58 am on Jan 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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you need an SMS gateway.
have you tried cpan?
http://search.cpan.org/search?query=sms+gateway&mode=all [search.cpan.org]

or are you looking for a higher level?
3:45 am on Feb 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What if someone posts an ad for a friend and, legitimately, uses the friend's number? This is not a programming issue but a use case issue.

I would think that, if that's the case, then the friend should be able to verify the number in some way. And realistically, this restriction should only apply to new, unestablished users, anyway.

That's a good point about people using a landline, though, as I do have a lot of older users. So I guess that I also need an option for them to get an automated voice call, too, the way that Google does if you've forgotten your Gmail password. Grrr, this is getting complicated :-(

I'd at least offer a choice of text or email. Classifieds would require that you register before submitting an ad I'd think, so you would have that info for a selection.

They do register, but the issue there is that fake email addresses are easy to make, so if someone is going to the effort of posting a fake ad to get someone harassed then there's no question they would take another 5 minutes to make a fake Yahoo account, too :-(

My alternative is to just refuse to allow new users to post phone numbers at all, but I'm competing with Facebook so I'm nervous to make ANY restriction... but at the same time, if I don't do something then victims of fake ads will just start to associate my sites with fake ads. It's a lose-lose either way.

you need an SMS gateway.
have you tried cpan?
[search.cpan.org...] [search.cpan.org]

or are you looking for a higher level?

I looked at that before, phranque, but it's about as clear as mud to me! LOL Aside from just sending a text, I also need to find a way to send it from a number that I guess is assigned to me (like I get auto-texts from my bank that uses a 5-digit number), and then the option for them to reply to the text to either confirm or deny, then the system on my end to receive that text and process based on their response. So I guess I need something considerably higher level, but I don't know the first place to start.