More recently, the Pranknet virtual community has been credited for causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage to many hotels and fast food restaurants.
Posing as authority figures, such as fire alarm company representatives and hotel corporate managers, Pranknet participants called unsuspecting employees and customers in the United States via Skype and tricked them into damaging property, setting off fire sprinklers and other humiliating acts such as disrobing.
Callers can also call from payphones in order to hide their identity, although this is becoming less common as pay phones are beginning to phase out starting in the late 2000s.
Among the most famous and earliest recorded prank calls are the Tube Bar prank calls tapes, which centered on Louis "Red" Deutsch.
Comedian Jerry Lewis was an incorrigible phone prankster, and recordings of his hijinks, dating from the 1960s and possibly earlier, still circulate to this day.
In one, they telephoned Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and spoke to him pretending to be Cuban president Fidel Castro.
Most telephone companies permit callers to withhold the identifying information from calls using the vertical service code *67 that blocks the caller's ID (141 in the UK), but potential victims may be reluctant to answer a call from an ID-blocked number.