Harassing Phone Calls

 

What is a harassing phone call?

The laws of the State of Florida provide that the following acts are crimes punishable by fine, imprisonment or both. Whoever by telephone makes, or knowingly permits another to make over a telephone under his or her control:
1. Any comment, request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or indecent.
2. A telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, without disclosing his/her identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person at the number called.
3. A telephone call which causes the telephone of another to repeatedly ring, with the intent to harass any person at the number called.
4. Repeated telephone calls, during which conversation ensues, solely to harass any person at the number called.

What you can do

1. DON'T TALK. Many callers are trying to get an emotional response. Don't give the caller an audience.
2. HANG UP. Hang up at the first obscene word, or if the caller does not say anything or refuses to identify himself or herself. Do NOT slam the phone. This indicates to the caller that he/she has upset or frightened you.
3. Screen calls on an answering machine or voice mail. (Save any harassing messages left on voice mail or an answering machine. - See voice mail instructions for saving messages or replace the tape in your answering machine.)
4. Do not give out personal information on your answering machine or to a caller who will not give his/her identity.
5. Trace the call. Immediately after hanging up, dial *57. Listen for the announcement and follow instructions. Call the University police at 644-1234. The information on the call will be released to the police. There is a $2.00 charge per successful trace.
6. Do not encourage the caller by playing along or extend the call by trying to find out the identity of the caller.
Note: Requests to change phone numbers in residence halls must go through the University Police Department.

Information to provide to the police

1. Do you recognize the voice?
2. Is the caller male or female?
3. Any noise in the background?
4. Does the caller have an accent or speech impediment?
5. How often, number of calls?
6. Date & Time of calls. Be as specific as possible.
7. Content - Threats, phrases, silence, repeated calling & hanging up, breathing.

Will Caller ID or *69 end harassing calls?

1. Chances are "No". Caller ID and *69 will only provide the number if the call is not blocked and does not pass through an area without Caller ID or *69 service.
2. In order to protect consumer's privacy, Florida Law requires phone providers to offer free call blocking whenever Caller ID and *69 are available.
3. Call Trace, in most cases, will identify a local number when *69 and Caller ID cannot.
4. You can use Caller ID to screen calls. Do not answer calls when you do not recognize the number or calls listed as "private" or "anonymous".
 

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