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Harassing Phone Calls

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There is little debate as to whether or not harassing phone calls are a nuisance. They are an intrusion. In the United States, a harassing phone call is defined as any phone call wherein the caller uses threatening or obscene language, calls and hangs up repeatedly, remains silent when the call is answered, breaths heavily or plays music or a message. These calls are illegal and can be prosecuted in a court of law. If these calls entail a risk of any bodily harm then the victim of such calls has the legal right to seek redress from the police and the local phone company. The Police and the local phone company will only take action if such calls are made repeatedly and the person and his family are threatened with any kind of bodily harm or physical injury. Fighting harassing phone calls can be a relatively simple matter.

When you get a harassing phone call you best redress is to try to record it or at least document the call. You should try to get as much information about the caller and the company he or she is working for as possible. The exact words of what the caller says should also be recorded and one should also make a record of how old the caller is for the purpose of investigation. While making a note of the caller's voice the person should also listen and observe whether the caller has any speech impediment. The tone and the accent of the caller's voice should be noted and one should also note down any background noise.

If there is a caller name or phone ID number displayed on the screen then that too should be noted. Once you have amassed all the necessary information, you can file a complaint with the FTC, the local police, and in some cases, with the FBI. In most phone harassment cases one can request the phone company to block the number however it is wise to file an official complaint with the police first. If the person is threatened with life he should call the police and report the matter immediately. He can file an official complaint with the police after calling them.

If you get a harassing phone call you can immediately call you local police department or in the case of a death threat, the FBI. In most non-life-threatening cases, the frequency of the harassing phone calls should be documented. An unsolicited call will not constitute telephone harassment and the person cannot seek redress against that phone call if he wishes to. The local phone companies have many policies to prevent their consumers from phone call harassment. These companies recommend the victims to call up at their helpdesk and report the problem. Some companies advise the person to file a formal complaint with local law enforcement bodies before they tackle the issue. For more information on the local phone company's phone protection policy one can call the company to find out the details of phone protection and privacy policies that are offered by the company.

If a person is receiving a serious phone harassment call in which the caller is using obscene and threatening language or breathing heavily he or she must file a formal complaint with the police along with a detailed description of the caller's voice and the nature of the call made on the particular date and time. If a person wants to stop harassing calls without going to the local phone company or the police then he/she should simply not engage himself in any kind of conversation with the caller and hang up the phone immediately. Most phone harassment callers call people to seek attention and very often the silent treatment policy works. If the silent treatment does not work then the person should attach a voice mail warning the caller that the phone number has a trap that has been set by the local phone company and hence the said call can be traced and reported to the law enforcement authorities if desired. If the caller is a stubborn one and resorts to stalking the person, it is recommended that the victim should change his phone number.

This strategy is called the pressure valve strategy and it helps to capture unwanted callers. In this policy the person is asked to retain the old phone number and leave a "not available" message for the purpose of capturing the caller. The phone caller will think that he is calling the old number and hence falls into a trap. This can serve as vital evidence, however; the person should make sure that the new number is unlisted and unpublished. The number should only be given to trusted friends and known persons. There are other precautions that can be taken by the person and they include not disclosing any kind of personal information to an unknown person. If any caller asks the person what number he has dialed then the person should not disclose his number instead he should ask the person what number he wants to dial. This is a precaution that one can take against potential robbers who may have called up to check whether the house is empty or not.

Legally, in the United States, anyone who receives a phone call, in which the caller resorts to obscene and threatening language, remains silent, hangs up, plays a message and uses heavy breathing to frighten and intimidate the person is a defined as a harassing phone call.  An unwanted call however does not constitute phone harassment and thus a person cannot seek redress on this ground. A person must check the frequency and regularity of such calls and important details about the caller and the nature of the call should be taken for seeking redress. Telephone harassment is a legal offence and one should always report harassing calls for his protection and privacy. The laws of the United States have many provisions to safeguard the rights and privacy of phone consumers so that they can enjoy the services of telecommunication in peace and without disturbance.

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