Warnings over ‘Egypt bug’ as phone numbers change in British cities

The so-called Egypt Bug is in most computers’ contact or address books, such as Microsoft’s Outlook, according to today’s London Evening Standard.

It said that when the caller enters a new contact’s number the software will automatically turn it into a standard format that it recognises.

Some software systems will look at a new central London number, such as 020 7123 4567, and decide that it should be +20 (7123) 4567 – a number in Egypt, whose country code is 20.

Computers prefer the plus symbol to the double zero for indicating an international call.

‘Any business which uses computers hooked up to modems to dial phone numbers (such as many call centres and financial services groups) will find that they are regularly put through to the land of the pharaoh,’ the paper said.

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