Prank Calls – A bit of fun? Or Harassment?

23rd February 2010

We’ve all experienced prank calls before and a few of the honest ones amongst us may even admit that they have even performed a prank call once or twice in the past.

With the help of your service providers number withhold facility, it makes it hard to know who’s calling you. What this means is that unless the person owns up to the prank, you might never know who phoned you up.

Although a joke amongst friends might be funny, at what point does an innocent joke become something more serious? When does a prank call become a crime?

I once received a prank call from a friend (I didn’t know who it was at the time) who asked me “if my refrigerator was running.” Confused, I said yes, I believed it was running. The funny prankster then told me ‘to go catch it then.’

Although this might seem all in jest, had I not been a friend of this person I might have been upset with this prank call. It’s often very intimidating getting a call from someone you do not know, however funny it might seem after.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are some pranksters who may take this too far. Some might use the Withhold Facility to make offensive, harassing and threatening phone calls.

If you are at the other end of one of these harassing calls, it is vital to make notes of what the caller is saying. Don’t retaliate or rile the caller up, just stay calm.

It is possible to trace a withheld telephone number although most service providers will not do so without police authorisation. If this call is threatening or harassing then immediately call up your service provider and explain what has happened. They will take a note and tell you to call the police.

In future, if you have CLI display, try not to answer withheld calls if at all possible.

Making offensive and threatening phone calls is NOT funny, even if you do it as a joke. Think twice before making a prank call, it could end you up with the police.