Phone harassment is something that you might think will never happen to you, but once you do, you might find yourself very distressed at the prospect of being harassed by an unknown person. Whether it is a simple prank call, sexual harassment, or threatening speech, you must do all that you can to prevent such a thing from happening to you.
Luckily, there are some basic few steps that you can go through to prevent these irredeemable acts, but first, you must know when you’re subject to such harassment. In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need to do when you’re a victim of phone harassment.
Know the Different Types of Phone Harassment
As you may already know, phone harassments are various, which could be the thing to catch you off-guard. For example, you might not expect your harasser to send you text messages after they stop calling your number. In any case, the content, tone, and vulgarity of the language do not matter, as they all have one thing in common: stealing your sense of security and privacy. You will find below the different types of phone harassment so you can prevent them should you ever be subjected to them.
Blocked or No Caller ID Calls
You may have already had a couple of these calls before. Blocked or no caller ID calls are when your caller does not have an ID number, which can be a red flag in and of itself, even before you answer a phone call. Anyone can easily block their number from appearing on your phone; all they have to do is dial *67 before your number. Unfortunately, blocked phone calls are difficult to stop, since they can’t be prevented with regular methods and will need specialized services to stop them once and for all.
Intimidating or Threatening Phone Calls
There are multiple instances in which phone harassers won’t play tricks or attempt to hide their caller ID, as their purpose is not to hide their identity, but simply to flood your phone with pointless calls. These calls can also come from someone you know or have shared your phone number with before. They can be former boyfriends, girlfriends, family members, or stalkers. Debt collection phone calls can also be quite intimidating, especially if your lender is quite persistent. While it’s true that they may have certain rights over you, you’re not obligated by the law to interact directly with them.
Spam calls are one of the most well-known methods of phone harassment. About 3 billion people in the US alone receive unwanted telemarketing calls or spam calls each month. While there’s nothing that strictly forbids telemarketing companies from using promotion calls, they can border on harassment if your personal and financial information is involved.
Try Effective Prevention Methods
There are several ways which you can use to prevent harassment calls. One way you can do this is to register your phone number at the National Do Not Call Registry. This is an excellent method to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you get. You can also try reverse phone number lookup, which helps you find the name of the phone number user as well as their address. You can use this information as evidence in case you want to go to the authorities. If you have received harassment from a particular contact repeatedly, you must keep a record of every phone call you get from the person, including the date, the time of the call, and the exact conversation you had.
If there’s a voicemail that includes harassing content, you should use it as evidence as well. There is also the oldest trick in the book, which is blocking the phone number. Some apps, services, and carriers will give you features that will enable you to block a certain number without any extra steps or fees. However, if the number is blocked, you might either take your case to the authorities, hire a lawyer, or change your phone number altogether.
Report the Call to the Police
In some cases, reporting the phone call to the police, unfortunately, won’t be effective, as there’s little to nothing they can do to stop your phone harassment problem, unless, of course, you’ve gathered the necessary evidence and details for these calls. If you prefer this option, though, you must provide the police with the following information:
- The gender of the caller
- Your estimate of their age
- A description of the caller’s voice
It would be a fairly easy job for the police to identify the caller if their number is not blocked or spoofed. However, if that’s not the case, it might take a bit of time to track your harasser down and bring them to justice. Either way, make sure that you don’t get your hopes too high, as police forces can’t track blocked calls.
File a Complaint to Your Telephone Company
Service providers in the US have certain policies related to harassment, which will prevent any unacceptable or vulgar communication through their channels. Phone companies are well capable of preventing calls coming from a specific number. If the caller is one of their customers, they can even suspend the services they provide to them. This is an effective method, especially if the person harassing you is someone you know. This should also be your way to go when harassment isn’t so severe as to involve the police or legal help.
Apply for a Restraining Order
There are some cases in which harassment doesn’t imply a severe risk to your safety and privacy, such as family disputes, business matters, or political conflicts. The best strategy to implement here is to apply for a restraining order, as the identity of your harasser is known. However, you will need evidence to prove that you were being harassed.
Now that you know what to do when you are being harassed via your cell phone, you can retain your sense of safety and security. Harassment calls can be as simple as spam or silly phone calls that can be easily blocked, or they could imply life threats and intimidation. This is when involving the police would be a wise step to take.