Beat Call Harassment With These 5 Steps
There are many ways you can face harassment—from physical stalking to online trolling. But unlike many of these, call harassment can easily go unnoticed by those around you. This can give it the power to not only to psychologically torment you but even to put you in possible danger.
If you’ve ever faced back-to-back late-night calls from strangers, prank calls, or creepy and cryptic messages, then you know the amount of fear these calls can instill. But worry not, there are steps you can take to handle such situations effectively and silence the offenders for good. Let’s look at how.
1. Set up Caller ID
The first step to tackle call harassment is to set up Caller ID. This service will allow you to see the number and possibly a name for your incoming calls. It’s provided by all mobile phone operators and is often free. So, call up customer service and ensure that it’s activated for you.
But keep in mind that the details displayed will all depend on the accuracy of the databases maintained. Therefore, as an additional precaution, consider downloading a Caller ID app. The advantage of these apps is that they scan phone numbers against user-generated databases. Therefore, if your caller has harassed others similar to you, there’s a good chance that their number is already logged as an offender. This will allow the app to automatically block and alert you.
2. Find out who’s behind the calls
Once you identify the phone number, the next step is to do some background work to find out the culprit behind the harassing calls. And a reverse phone lookup can easily get you the information you need. But the type of information you can uncover will depend on which tools you use.
Google is perhaps the easiest way to do a reverse search. It’s the largest repository of data in the world, quite literally. And it can retrieve any indexed online data within a matter of seconds.
But people search sites are the best option to access more detailed information. This is because, unlike Google, these websites build profiles of individuals by accessing various publicly available sources, from news reports to federal databases. This will save you the hassle of sifting through hundreds of sites and sources to retrieve bits and pieces of information. All you need to do is type in the number and these sites will pull up a detailed profile or profiles related to it. And the information they can get you is surprisingly detailed. For instance, according to the popular people search site, Nuwber, the information you can access will range from contact details and social media records to even lien records, evictions, and judgments.
3. Block the number
Next, simply block the number. There are several ways you can do this. The easiest is by opening up the Settings menu on your phone and going into the Security features. Depending on the type of phone you use, you will get a variety of blocking options. These can include blocking calls from hidden numbers, from certain regions, and even single-ring calls. There are also features to block messages from unfamiliar numbers and to set keywords to filter and block spam messages.
As an alternative, you can download specialized apps that can block unknown numbers. Your mobile carrier can also help block harassing calls.
However, whatever option you take, remember that anyone with malicious intent could always change their number once you block the first one.
4. Lodge a formal complaint
If call harassment still persists, then it’s time to make an official complaint. If the calls are originating from the same mobile network that you’re on, then the first thing to do is to contact your network operator. Inform them about your encounters and request for an investigation. They will often start monitoring caller activities, and will then take action if they note any suspicious behaviors.
The next option is to lodge a complaint with your local police department.
But before you do so, make sure you document all evidence. Write down the dates and times of all calls and messages received. Take a backup of messages and your phones’ call history and safely store them on another device with a couple of copies. You should also start recording calls and keep copies of them as well. All this information will be useful for your local law enforcement officers to investigate and build a case against the culprit.
5. Speak up
This is one of the most important steps often neglected by many victims of phone harassment. Victims usually tend to keep their bad experiences to themselves out of fear and shame.
But sharing your experiences with others is important for several reasons in instances like these. First of all, it can provide you with the necessary social support, strength, and motivation to effectively tackle such incidents.
It can also help deter some of these offenders out of fear of being found out. And importantly, you could help someone else out there to avoid similar incidents.
So, speak to your family and friends. Share your experiences with your social communities. You’ll be surprised by the social support you can gather around you. And who knows, you might even find others who have been victims of the same or similar offenders in the past.
Plus, creating a voice for yourself is incredibly empowering and can make a world of difference.
Some final thoughts
Whatever type of harassment you face—whether it’s threatening, offensive, lewd, or simply a nuisance, make sure that you do not engage. Avoid answering the calls and having a conversation. Do not attempt to plead and avoid the temptation to give a piece of your mind. Engaging in conversations will only serve to entertain and encourage the offender.
But above all, keep your emotions in check. Staying calm will help you to think clearly and take effective action before you become a victim.