How to Cope with the Prank Phone Caller
The phone rings. It's 3 a.m. No, it's not Mom calling to say Dad just deposited $500 in your overdrawn checking account. Instead, you are greeted by a string of obscenities, heavy breathing or silence.
You have just become another victim of the prank caller. Some authorities estimate that over a million prank calls were made last year. Most of these calls are the ring-and-hang-up variety. A growing number are either obscene or threatening.
Now that you've become the victim of the prank caller, here are a few ideas to prevent a repeat call.
- Hang up. As soon as you hear an obscenity, improper questions or no response to your sleepy "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 over 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 unnecessarily 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 just be the wrong number. If it is a prank call, follow the suggestions here.
- Don't try to be clever. A witty response may well 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 or she will only be encouraged by your concern and will continue the late night calls.
- Don't tell everyone about your calls. Many calls of this type are made by friends, family members, even your closest friend or someone you are dating.
- Place ads with caution. When placing an ad, use a post office box number if possible. If you must use your phone number, do not list your address. Prank callers are avid readers classifieds and ads.
- Report obscene or annoying calls to the Ohio University Police Department. By reporting the call to the above authorities, you have begun the process of stopping these 3 a.m. calls.