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Harassing or prank phone calls are a fairly common occurrence and most people think nothing of them because they happen once in a great while. Once that turns into 15 to 25 calls a day it becomes a more serious and immediate problem, especially if the phone calls are of a disturbing nature.

Below are a few ideas to help prevent a repeat caller and here is a log (pdf) you can use to track a repeated and harassing phone calls.

Handling a prank call

  • Hang up.  As soon as you hear an obscenity, improper questions or no response to your "Hello?" hang up immediately.
  • Don't talk to strangers.
  • Be careful when the caller says he/she is taking a survey. If you have any concern about the legitimacy of the survey ask the person for his/her firm name and phone number and tell them that you will call them back to verify the survey.
  • Don't play detective. Don't extend the call trying to figure out who is calling. This or any other type of reaction is exactly what the caller wants and needs.
  • Keep cool, don't let the caller know you are upset or angry.
  • Don't try to be clever. A witty response may be interpreted as a sign of encouragement.
  • Don't try to be a counselor. The annoyance or obscene caller certainly needs professional help, but he/she will only be encouraged by your concern and will only continue the late night calls.
  • Don't tell everyone about your calls. Many calls of this type are actually made by friends, family members, or even your closest girlfriend or boyfriend.
  • Place ads with caution. When placing an ad in the newspaper, use a confidential box provided by the paper or a post office box. If you must use you phone number, do not list your address. Prank callers are avid readers of the classified ads.
  • Remember, if the caller is a wrong number, they do not need to know your number. Never give your number out to an unknown caller.
  • Report obscene or annoying phone calls to the University Police Department at 572-5500 and begin filling out the harassing phone calls log (pdf). The information recorded in this log may provide valuable clues as to the identity of a caller and possibly establish a pattern or identify the location, source, or reason for the calls.
  • Keep this log (pdf) close to your telephone for convenience.