How to Handle Malicious Telephone Calls
The Hubbard Township Police Department is very concerned any time you receive a
malicious telephone call. We know that abusive, annoying, harassing, obscene, or
threatening telephone calls are an unwarranted invasion of your privacy. In some
instances, they may also be unlawful.
Most malicious telephone calls are made by a small group of immature people who
consider it funny or smart to interfere with your peace of mind. These calls do
not usually constitute a threat to your personal safety; however, you should
contact the Hubbard Township Police Department any time you receive a telephone
call of questionable intent or origin. There is usually a way to stop the calls,
and we will be happy to assist you.
Unwanted telephone calls usually fall into one of several categories:
SALES OR SURVEY CALLS:
Telephone sales solicitations or surveys conducted by telephone are not
regulated by the Hubbard Township Police Department . They can be valuable and
interesting in cases where the companies placing the calls have screened their
prospects and know that you may be interested.
Some other groups, however, are not a particular about whom they call. Using
automatic devices that dial every number in a prefix group, these calls are
frequently accomplished without human supervision, and you may find yourself
talking to a computer. Some persons are annoyed or offended by such calls.
Telephone services are available to anyone for legitimate use, but we don't
condone thoughtless or indiscriminate sales or survey calls. If you choose not
to respond, simply say so and hang up. Be sure to leave the handset hung up for
at least 30 seconds to ensure the caller is disconnected.
If you are interested but are skeptical about the offer, state that you will
return the call or ask the caller to try again later after you've had a chance
to check the organization with the Better Business Bureau. Or ask the caller to
send you some information on the product or service so you can look it over
before making a decision.
If you would like to remove your name and telephone number from calling lists
for national advertisers, write to Telephone Preference Service, Direct
Marketing Association, 6 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017. Include your
name, address, and telephone number with area code in your letter.
There is no charge for this service, which can reduce calls from national
advertisers but is unlikely to affect sales calls from local businesses.
CALLS FOR COLLECTION OF DEBTS:
If you receive collection calls that are harassing or threatening (those placed
at a time when the calls knows the debtor is normally asleep or calls placed
repeatedly without good reason), record the dates and times the calls were
placed using a log sheet..
MALICIOUS TELEPHONE CALLS:
Anyone can be the victim of harassing, annoying, obscene, or threatening
telephone calls. These may include random calls by pranksters, calls at hours
when you are sleeping, frequent pointless calls or those where the caller says
nothing, obscene calls, calls from former romantic interests, or calls where
some threat is made against you, those with whom you live, or your property.
These calls are intended to upset you, either for revenge or to gratify the
caller's personal urges. Most can be prevented or avoided by learning and using
some simple techniques to decrease your potential for victimization.
Your telephone is for your use and service;
always use it on your own terms. If the caller doesn't speak or if you
simply don't feel comfortable talking to the caller, hang up. Remember that
the telephone is under your control and you are not obligated to speak to
Ask for the caller's identity or affiliation.
If the caller makes an improper response or does not respond immediately,
hang up. Some "silent" callers are looking for a response and may
want you to become scared or angry. Don't give them the satisfaction. If the
caller asks, "who is this?" or "What number have I
reached," don't give an answer.
Instead ask, "Whom do you want?" or "What number were you
calling?" If the call is not legitimate, that will probably end it.
Don't give out any information to anyone you
don't positively recognize or who fails to give satisfactory identification
or affiliation. If the caller asks for your roommate or another member of
your family, simply say that you'll be glad to take a message and have the
call returned as promptly as possible.
Under no circumstances should you give the names of others living with you
to someone who doesn't already know them.
If you have children, instruct them not to
talk to strangers on the telephone. Burglars or other criminals will
sometimes attempt to obtain useful information from unsuspecting children.
Teach your children to ask for the caller's name and number so someone can
return the call later.
If a caller persists after you've made it
clear you do not wish to talk, the simplest response is to hang up. Other
techniques that may be useful in some circumstances include blowing a police
whistle into the phone or tapping the disconnect button and stating
"Operator, this is the call I wanted traced."
Remember, don't speak unless you want to,
don't give out any information, and don't respond to questions.
Occasionally, a caller may make threats against you, those with whom you live,
or your property. These are unusual and extreme incidents and should not be
handled with the routine methods we've described above.
Notify the Hubbard Township Police Department and you telephone company
IF YOU SHOULD BECOME A VICTIM
In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible that you could be the victim
of a series of malicious telephone calls. If this should happen, it is important
that you do several things to assist the Hubbard Township Police Department
and telephone company in resolving the problem.
Notify the Hubbard Township Police
Department OUPD immediately. Although subsequent actions must be
coordinated with the Telecommunications office or possibly with other
offices or vendors, your initial point of contact is the University Police.
If you are off-campus, notify your local police department.
Write information down. Using the Malicious
Call Log available from OUPD, keep a record of the calls. This information
can be invaluable in bringing your case to a prompt and successful
Notify others living with you of the problem.
Avoid mentioning the calls to casual friends or in a public place, as the
caller may receive gratification from your public distress. In addition, the
caller may be put on guard by becoming aware that you have notified the
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO END THE CALLS?
If there is a continuing series of calls, if the call is of an obscene or
threatening nature, or there is reason to believe that the caller intends to
inflict bodily harm or property damage, it may be possible to install a device
on your phone line to identify the telephone(s) where the calls originate.
The officer taking your initial report will ask you to sign a form requesting
assistance from the Telecommunications office and/or Southwestern Bell Telephone
Company in identifying the calling number.
Since the university telephone equipment has only limited capability to perform
this function, it may not be possible to initiate the procedure immediately, and
the service may simply not be available in less serious cases due to more server
cases reported simultaneously by other customers.
It is usually possible to have your telephone number changed if the caller
identification service is not available on a timely basis and your calls are
continuing. This is accomplished by the Telecommunications office upon
recommendation of the University Police and is normally completed by the end of
the next working day after the request is made.
The number change is permanent and may be left unlisted if you so desire. A
change of number due to malicious calls is without charge to the customer.
ARE THERE OTHER PRECAUTIONS I CAN TAKE IN ADVANCE?
As a matter of personal safety and security, we recommend that you consider
listing your first name by initial only. If yours is a common surname, you may
consider listing it by both your first and middle initials. It is possible to
request that your number be unlisted, but this may not be effective if others
who live with you have their names listed and may inconvenience callers
legitimately trying to reach you.
Electronic answering devices are available that service as a buffer, permitting
you to hear the caller's voice and message in response to a tape-recorded
greeting before you choose whether to override the device and answer the caller