How to Prevent Prank Calls and Harrassment

Obscene phone calls can be harrowing and invade your privacy. Unwanted phone calls, though not as frightening, are a huge inconvenience. Luckily, you can take proactive steps to end this harassment.

List those annoying phone numbers where the general public can view them. “How you wish that you just put this number out there in public and make everyone aware, so no one would fall prey to the same person again, This exactly is the service that [some sites] offer. You now not only can find out about the identity of the owner of the number harassing you but you can publicly report the number too on the website,” according to WhoseNo, an online service set up to expose those who commit harassment.

Here are more tips and tricks to deal with phone call pranksters and criminals.

What is a Harassing Call?

If someone calls you and uses threatening or obscene language, or silence or heavy breathing to frighten you, that’s a harassing call. Most states have explicit laws prohibiting this behavior. A single unwelcome call could be construed as harassment. Typically, however, the phone company won’t act unless the calls are frequent. Nonetheless, specific threats should be taken seriously. Be sure to report, in detail, any calls that threaten you or your loved ones with bodily harm.

When to Call the Police

Determine when to call the police first and when to call the phone company. Check with your phone company on what its policy is. Some may request a formal complaint with the authorities before getting involved. The local police should be able to walk you through the process and you may be able to do it online.

Steps Taken By the Phone Company

For frequent or threatening calls, the phone company can install a trap on your phone line. The Trap can determine the originating telephone number of the harassing calls. Keep a log of time and date each harassing call is received. Traps are typically only in place for about two weeks but the phone company shouldn’t charge you a fee to get it installed.

Call Trace

The local phone company can set up a call trace service to help track down the offenders.

Do Not Call List

You can add your home or cell number to the 217 million numbers on the Do Not Call Registry to unwanted sales calls and report offenders.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.