Harassing Phone Calls
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If you have received phone calls which served no purpose of legitimate communication, or if someone calls you with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm you (whether or not a conversation ensues), you are one of the estimated one million people subjected to this type of harassment every year. In the State of New York this type of activity constitutes the crime of Aggravated Harassment in the second degree and is classified as a class A Misdemeanor. Most of these calls are of the hang up variety; however, many are obscene or threatening.
Should you become the victim of the annoyance caller or if you wish to find out what can be done about this or any other crime, please contact the Department of Public Safety for more information.
Remember, however, if you get hang up calls on an answering machine or voice mail there may not have been any attempt to annoy you. Some people simply do not like to speak to machines.
Tips in Handling Annoyance Telephone Calls
- Hang up. As soon as you hear an obscenity, improper questions, or no response to your "hello?" - hang up!
- 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 his/her name, firm name and telephone number. Say that you will call back after you verify the authenticity of the survey.
- Don't play detective. Don't extend the call trying to figure out who is calling. This or any 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 panic when the phone rings. It may be just a wrong number.
- 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 continue the calls.
- Don't tell everyone about your calls. Many calls of this type are actually made by friends, family members, even your closest girlfriend or boyfriend.
- Place ads with caution. When placing an ad in a newspaper, use a newspaper or post office box number if possible. If you must use your phone number, do not list your address. Annoy- ance callers are avid readers of the classified ads.
- Never volunteer your number to an unknown caller. This is an invitation to call again. If your number is the wrong number the caller does not need to know your number.
- Report annoyance calls to the Public Safety Dept. Use the included phone call log to make a record of all annoyance calls. The information you record in this log will assist the police in stopping this activity.