Stories of voicemail hacking doing the rounds in the press at the moment conjure images of hard nosed, mac-wearing, er, hacks (for lack of a better word) setting up complicated wiretaps and relying on all kinds of Mi5-level surveillance technology.
But the truth is that it’s pretty easy to hack in to someone’s voicemail if you know, or can guess, their PIN number.
To get in to your phone’s voicemail, all somebody has to do is call your phone, wait for the voicemail message to appear and then press the ‘*’ key. They’ll then be prompted to enter the PIN, which, if guessed correctly, will allow them access to your messages, personal greeting, mailbox settings the lot.
The first time you set up voicemail on your phone, you’ll normally be asked to create a PIN number.
As with all PIN numbers (or any form of security) we recommend that you choose something that’s not obvious - DON’T choose something like the year of your birth, 1111, 1234 or any of these numbers here.
If you have entered something along these lines (tut tut) then the best bet is to get in contact with your network’s customer services to get the PIN reset. As well as this, we’ve included voicemail shortcuts for all of the major networks, if you want to reset your PIN without having to call up.
How to set up your voicemail PIN
O2 - dial 901 for voicemail as normal. Interrupt the menu message by pressing * then press 4. Follow the prompts and you’ll be free to enter your PIN number.
The same applies should you ever need to change it - call 901, press * and then choose option 4.
Orange - call 123 from your Orange phone and follow the prompts to change your voicemail settings. Orange’s voicemail PIN numbers can be anything from 4 to 10 digits long - keep ‘em guessing by choosing a lengthy and complicated one.
Cleverly, Orange stops you from entering PINs made up of consecutive numbers (1234) or repeated numbers (4444).
Again, call 123 should you ever need to change your voicemail PIN.
You can also remotely access your Orange voicemail from another phone by dialling 07973 100 123, pressing * and entering your phone number followed by a # and then your PIN followed by a #.
T-Mobile - dial 222, press 2 and then 1 to enter a four digit PIN. Voicemail is automatically set up on T-Mobile pay-as-you-go phones, as soon as you’ve made your first chargeable call. So the second you’ve finished that first call, dial 222 and enter your PIN.
To reset your voicemail PIN, simply call 222 again and follow the prompts.
Three - as with Orange, you get the option to create a longer PIN number with Three - voicemail PINs can be anything between 4 to 8 digits long. When you dial 123 to set up voicemail initially, you’ll be asked to enter your PIN before you do anything else.
To change it, simply call 123 again, enter your old PIN and follow the prompts to change it.
Vodafone - to set up your voicemail PIN, call 121, wait for the prompt, press 4 and then 2 - you’ll then be given the option to PIN away.
You can call this number to change your voicemail PIN as well; dial 121, then press 4, 2 and 2. Enter your old PIN and then you’ll have to option to create a new one.
If you (or anybody) enters the wrong PIN three times, your Vodafone voicemail will be locked and you’ll be send a randomly-generated temporary PIN via text. Use this to log in as described above and choose a new PIN.