Faking Disconnected Text Message: How to?

Here’s how to fake a cell phone disconnected text message: In essence, you have three options for faking a cell phone disconnected text message. 

You can manually send a message in response to a text sent to you.  Alternatively, you can automate your fake message with a service like Google Voice or an app like YouMail. 

You can also block the number in place of faking a message.

So if you want to learn all about faking disconnected text messages and get sample texts, then you’re in the right place. Let’s jump right in!

How Do You Make a Fake Disconnected Text Message? (3 Major Carriers)

Young female hands texting on smartphone.

The easiest thing you can do in this situation is to craft a fake text and send it back to the person you want to convince.

There are a number of different messages you can use, and we’ll go over a few that are definitively used by some of the main cell carriers in North America. Similar messages can be found for carriers around the world.

Before you start crafting your text message, it’s important to understand a few things.  First, these text messages won’t do you any good if the person decides to dial your number.

In that case, you also need a disconnect message for when they call. You can find steps for that in the Google Voice section.

The other thing to remember is that disconnected phone numbers eventually get recycled.

If you pretend to be disconnected, the ruse only lasts so long for anyone who knows that numbers get recycled. So, your alternative option is to pretend to be a different person with the same number.

As long as your voicemail is covered, the caller will never be able to identify the ruse.

This doesn’t work as well for getting rid of spam callers/texters, but there are remedies for that in a later section. So, let’s look at some real messages that are used by major carriers when a text cannot be delivered.

#1 Verizon Disconnected Text Message Examples

focused girl holding smartphone and looking up

When you text a number that cannot be reached on Verizon’s network, you typically get a reply in that same text conversation.

It will have an error message attached to it. You can copy the message verbatim and send it back. Keep in mind that when Verizon does this, it’s automated, so you would expect the error message to be sent relatively quickly after a message fails to be delivered.

Here are the two most common error messages used by Verizon.

Message to <number> failed: Network problem.

This message suggests that the issue might be temporary, so it’s not necessarily the best way to go. But if you’re just trying to get a short-term prank in, it works fine.

Error 97: SMS origination denied.

This means that the message cannot be sent to the chosen number. It’s more likely to be convincing for a long-term situation, but it also might spark a phone call, so keep that in mind.

#2 AT&T Disconnected Text Message Examples

woman using internet on phone

AT&T is less forthcoming with all of its error messages. There is one in particular that they definitely use. Beyond that, you might be better off pulling from experience.

3412154 Error Invalid Number. Please re-send using a valid 10 digit mobile number or valid short code.

As you can see, this message is likely to prompt follow-up messages. It could turn into a silly prank, or if you’re on top of things, you could keep re-sending the error message until they give up.

Your best two bets with AT&T are to automate the error message or simply block the number.

That’s always an option, and it doesn’t require this runaround. But, if faking the disconnect message is the goal, this is a confirmed message that is used by AT&T.

#3 T-Mobile Disconnected Text Message Examples

Young woman walking alone on the autumn city streets and using phone.

T-Mobile has a few messages that could potentially work for your goals.

It really depends on the nature of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Msg 2106 – The destination email address is not in the correct format. Please correct the format and try again.

This is used specifically for digital, non-SMS messages. It’s important to keep in mind if you’re using anything other than traditional text messaging to communicate.

Msg 2110 – the customer you are trying to text is out of service.

T-Mobile has a near-identical message for when a customer is temporarily out of service. The version quoted here is better for long-term use.

Msg 2114 – Message sent using invalid number of digits. Please resend using a 10-digit number or valid short code.

This is essentially the same message that is used by AT&T, but if you pay close attention, you can see that the two messages are formatted slightly differently.

If you want to be thorough, getting the quotes perfectly matters. This is why you might want to consider typing your text in a saved note.

Make sure it is perfect in the note. Then, if you need to send it, you can copy and paste it in order to avoid autocorrect or typo problems that might give you away.

How Can You Automate the Process of Sending Fake Disconnected Text Messages? (2 Ways)

Young woman using her mobile phone in the city with modern buildings

If you’re just pulling a prank, manually sending the messages is easy and effective enough. If there’s a different purpose behind the fake message, you might need a better system. 

As an example, a lot of people like the idea of using fake disconnect messages to stop spam messages.

It could conceivably work, but you’re going to have limited success doing this kind of thing by hand. So, you can use services that automate the process.

There are likely countless services that can get the job done, but we’re going to stick to one example.

You can set up Google Voice to create and send automated replies that tell callers or texters that your number is disconnected.

#1 Forward Calls to Google Voice

Young beautiful woman using smartphone voice messenger.

Google Voice is your best friend when you want to automate disconnect messages. The cool thing about Google Voice is that it will automatically send texts or deliver a voice message to the effect that a number is not available.

You have a lot of control over the process, but you need to know how it works. First, you need a Google Voice number.

You can get them for free and for very cheap, depending on the specific range of options that you want. Simply go to the website and sign up for a personal number (unless you want a business number).

Once you have a number, you can set it up to receive calls that are sent to your cell phone. Basically, you’re forwarding calls from your cell number to the Google Voice line.

Google has tutorials for how to do this. You can forward all calls, or you can create rules for forwarding calls.

It’s up to you. What really matters is that you include the numbers in question in your setup.

A call has to be forwarded to Google Voice for the rest of this to work.

#2 Block Numbers

Serious girl using mobile phone touching hair

Once call forwarding is established, you can block numbers on Google Voice.

Let’s emphasize this. You want to block the numbers on your Voice account, not on your cellphone. 

When you do, any blocked contact directed to your Google Voice number will receive a message to the effect of “phone disconnected.” This handles texts and phone calls, so it’s quite thorough.

You don’t have to manually direct the calls or send text messages. You can set it up and let Voice handle the rest.

Are There Apps That Send Fake Messages? (2 Things)

Young serious blond woman with eyeglasses sitting on sofa holding a cellphone

The Google Voice technique is certainly useful, but you might want an easier way.

Isn’t there an app that will send fake messages to you? In fact, there is an app.

There are several apps. Rather than review all of them, we can just go over the most prominent among them. 

YouMail is probably the best-known app for this service, and it has a couple of features that are worth mentioning.

#1 Some Apps Let You Specify Which Numbers Receive the Message

One of the most powerful features in apps that perform this service is that they let you specify which numbers get the disconnect message.

You can blacklist specific numbers so that they will always be told your number is disconnected. Inversely, you can create a white list, so anyone not on the approved list gets the message.

This type of control is easy to use with good apps, and it’s a lot more powerful than manually going through this process yourself.

Also, apps can provide messages for texts and phone calls, covering your basis for anyone who is determined to call after getting a disconnected text.

#2 Apps Can Automatically Send Message to Spam Numbers

Getting back to YouMail, in particular, there is a specific feature that is worth considering. YouMail has a registry of spam numbers.

If you opt into the service, any number on that registry will automatically get a disconnect message when they try to reach you.

This spares any real contacts from getting the wrong message and helps you avoid excessive spam.

It’s not a perfect system, though.

Plenty of spam callers change their numbers frequently, avoiding detection from these kinds of lists. A lot of spammers also spoof numbers. This is where the number on the caller ID is different from the actual number used to make the call (or send the text).

Number spoofing generally gets around spam number registries.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.