The telephone gives outsiders direct and instant access to the residents of a home. Be careful when you "open the door".

Anyone who has ever been the victim of an obscene or harassing phone call knows that it can be not only bothersome but in some cases frightening and intimidating.

Questions arise in your mind - Who is he/she? Why me? What do they want?

It can become a matter of serious concern.

A person who makes annoying, obscene or threatening phone calls is guilty of committing a crime.

Many people may not realize it is, in fact, against the law to use profane, obscene or abusive language over the phone, or to use a telephone to harass people.

Generally, prank callers are seeking attention or reaction from those receiving the calls - either shock, anger or exasperation.

annoying phone callsIf you are the recipient of any of these types of calls, there are some procedures you can follow to deter them.

  • If a caller will not identify his/herself, if the person remains silent, or at the first obscene word or lewd remark, simply HANG UP. Don't talk to the person and don't slam the receiver. Don't give the caller the satisfaction he/she is seeking
  • Always be cautious of divulging any personal information to anyone on the phone. KNOW who is calling and if in doubt, verify the name and number in the directory and call back
  • If someone asks what number they have called, ask instead what number they dialed. This may be a crank caller who dialed at random or is perhaps "checking out" the residence.
  • Young children should be properly instructed on the importance of never revealing information to unknown callers. Have them take the caller's name and address.
  • Women should use only their first initial in the directory to minimize the chance of an obscene phone call.
  • If you are having problems with annoying phone calls, you may choose to have an unlisted phone number.
  • Contact your phone company for information on "Call Display" and "Call Trace" features.
  • Call the police if your life or property is threatened or if the calls are obscene.

Information on any suspects would be of great assistance to law enforcement officers.

If you do not recognize the caller's voice, you may be able to supply some information describing the caller, for instance, the approximate age; whether it is a male or female; is he/she intoxicated; can you detect an accent or speech impediment; and background noise.

Also be sure to make a note of the time and date of the call and brief comment on the nature of the call.

  • Duhaime.org wishes to acknowledge the Winnipeg Police for their assistance in providing the above crime prevention information.