Harassing Phone Calls

Tips on How to Handle Harassing Phone Calls
Harassing phone calls can be frustrating and annoying. There are steps you can take to try to discourage future calls from the subject, and also to involve your telephone company to assist in solving the problem.

One common misconception is that the police department can trace calls. The phone company has that ability, and police agencies need documentation to provide a legal basis for such an investigation.

Who at Yale University should I contact when I get harassing calls?

  • If you are a Yale student, faculty or staff member, and receive a  serious threat, if life or property is threatened, or if calls are obscene, you should call the YPD at 203-432-4400 and make a report. Provide as much information to law enforcement as you can. Begin keeping a log of date, time, and nature of calls, for any future report that may be taken. Indicate the gender of the caller and describe the caller’s voice.
  • If you live outside of the Yale Campus and receive a serious threat, please call your local law enforcement agency.
  • Also make note the time and date of the call(s). What did the caller say? How old did he/she sound? Did the caller seem intoxicated? Did he/she have an accent or speech impediment? Was there any background noise? Was a phone number/name displayed on the Caller ID device?
  • Contact your local phone service provider to inquire about what other options may be available to you.

What actions can I take if I receive a harassing call?

  • First, simply hang up on the caller. If you receive a harassing phone call, don’t engage in a conversation with the caller or divulge any personal information. Sometimes the caller is seeking a response from you, and not giving a response to the caller can discourage future harassing calls.
  • You could also temporarily change your voicemail message to the following:

“You have reached our answering machine/voicemail box. Due to annoyance calls, the phone company is tracing our incoming calls. If you would like your call returned, please leave your name and number.”

What precautions can I take to prevent harassment?

  • Do not disclose personal information when called by someone you do not know. They might be checking out the residence for possible robbery or other crime. If the caller asks what number they have called, do not give it. Instead, ask them to tell you what number they dialed. Children/baby sitters/house guests should be instructed to never reveal information to unknown callers.
  • Do not include your telephone number on the outgoing message of your voice mail service, if you wish to keep your number private. By omitting your phone number from your message, you prevent random dialers from capturing this information.

We take your safety seriously. If you are concerned about harassing phone calls that you have received, please call the Yale Police Department at 203-432-4400.