When A Prank Call Becomes Harassment

Everyone has heard the old classic phone line: "Is your refrigerator running? Then you'd better go catch it!" Silly phone calls like these, often made by younger children looking for a quick laugh with their friends, can be annoying but are hardly illegal. Additionally, an individual misdialing and ending up calling your phone might be frustrating when it causes you to lose your focus on an important project, but a simple accident won't lead to police involvement.

It's not these simple things (the one time interruptions into your day that end up being pointless) that are criminal, but when any call steps into the realm of harassment, a line has been crossed. If you've been receiving calls that you think may be harassment, it may be time to learn what legal action you're eligible to take:

Factors of Harassment

Of course, any individual who calls you with the intention to intimidate or frighten you (either with violent claims or repeated calls involving heavy breathing) falls into the realm of harassment. If you feel like your safety or the safety of your family is in jeopardy from a harassing caller at any time, you should immediately call your local police.

When the calls you're receiving are more annoying than scary, you might wonder if there's anything you can do about it-- and what the authorities might consider harassment. If you've found yourself the victim of any of the following, you're likely eligible to pursue legal action:

  • If an individual continues calling you time after time and will not reveal who they are, it may be harassment. Consider the frequency of the calls (how often they're happening), write down what the caller is saying, and note the sound of the voice. The more information you have, the better the chance will be that your attorney will be able to determine the person responsible.
  • Note the time of the calls, because those made at obscure hours of the night are more likely to be considered harassment than ones made during business or daylight hours.
  • Depending on the severity of the calls (taking into consideration the content, frequency, and timing), the caller may be faced with fines or even jail time.

How to Find the Guilty Party

If the individual calling you blocks their number and refuses to give you any personal information about themselves, it can seem like a dead end-- especially if you don't recognize the voice at all.

Of course, reporting the call to both the police department and your service provider can help to trace the call-- especially if the calls keep coming in the future from the same location. Additionally, cell tracing may be an available service on your phone, which will enable you to send the caller's number directly to police-- even if they've blocked it. Consider talking to your phone company regarding this service to end the situation sooner than later. Contact a personal injury attorney for more information.