Harassing and obscene phone calls

Anyone who has been the victim of an obscene or harassing phone call knows it can be very disturbing and in some instances frightening and intimidating. Questions as to why it is happening and who it might be are being asked.

Most harassing and annoying calls are made by a small group of immature people who consider it funny to interfere with your peace of mind. Generally, crank callers are seeking the attention or reaction of those at the other end of the line (i.e. shock, anger).

Should you be the recipient of any of these types of calls, here are some suggestions that you can use to deter them from calling back and to decrease your potential for victimization.

  1. Your telephone is for your use and if the caller will not identify her/himself, remains silent, or uses obscene words or lewd remarks, hang up.  Don’t talk to her/him and don’t slam down the receiver and give her/him the satisfaction they are seeking.
  2. Never give out any information to anyone on the phone. Ask for the caller’s identity and if they do not respond, hang up. Some ‘silent’ callers are looking for a response and may want you to be scared or angry. Don’t give them the satisfaction. Under no circumstances should you give the names of others living with you to someone who doesn’t already know them.
  3. If the caller asks what number they have called, don’t give out the number, but ask them what number they dialed. This crank caller may have dialed at random or is perhaps ‘checking out’ the residence.
  4. Women should only use their first initial in the directory to minimize the chance of an obscene phone call. Unlisted numbers are also an option.
  5. Record the caller’s voice should you have an answering machine nearby. Be aware of recurrent hang up calls. Someone may be targeting your home for a break-in and checking the times that you are at home. Keep a diary of the times the calls were made and what was said should you decide to involve the police.
  6. Police should be involved if the calls are of a threatening nature or become indecent.
  7. Remember, don’t speak unless you want to and do not engage the caller in any type of conversation.