Prank calls tend to be one of the more “harmless” acts that people often think of. “It’s just kids fooling around,” they tell themselves. The fact is though, phone harassment is one of the most unreported signs that you could be in danger. So here are a few ways to know if the caller is just some 13 year old kid who’s home alone and bored, or someone with more sinister intentions.
1.) The call is intimidating or frightening. Even I have been guilty of prank calling someone, but it was always along the lines of, “Hello! This is KQTR the number one radio station in the Rockies, and congratulations, you’re our Ice Cream Social Caller of the Month! You’ve got 60 seconds to name 30 ice cream flavors for a chance to win free ice cream for a year! No time to waste, 30 ice cream flavors in 60 seconds, GO!” This is a typical kid messing around. The goal is to get you to make a fool of yourself, and once the prank is complete there’s no use calling you again because you’ll be on to their game.
However, if you’re hearing heavy breathing that’s making you uncomfortable, they begin asking you sexual questions, or they’re simply calling every 10 minutes and hanging up, you might have good reason to worry.
2.) They get around your defenses. A prank caller is typically not going to be very persistent. After all, there are millions of other people they could call, why would they waste extra time with you? Well if you’ve blocked their number, and they call back with another number, it could be a red flag. More severe instances would be if you’ve changed your number and you begin getting phone calls on your new number.
3.) They’re coming closer to home. If they originally started calling your landline and hanging up, and now they’ve moved to calling your cell phone and hanging up, it means they’re not happy with just the landline anymore. When a stalker gets bored of watching you walk to your car after work and begins following you home, it’s considered and “escalation,” and an escalating criminal is not a person you want to be dealing with.
So what do you do?
Call the authorities. Now while others say to call your phone provider first, it’s important to do whatever is safest. If you feel your life is in danger, call the police and while they’re at your house call your phone service provider and see what you can get worked out. It’s also important to track the prank calls as they come in. If someone is calling you every 10 minutes, write down the times of each call and what occurred after every time you answered. This will help authorities determine the seriousness of the situation. It may also be necessary to change your phone number if things become serious. Keep your previous phone line open though, and if the caller continues to call, continue to record each call as evidence.
And above all, remember to never, never, give out any kind of personal information to a prank caller. Even if it is just your favorite flavor of ice cream.
How do you handle prank callers?
Don’t forget to visit secureoncampus.com for tools to protect yourself at college or at home!