New York

Harassing Phone Calls

Obscene or harassing phone calls can be one of the most stressful and frightening invasions of privacy. Also unwanted phone calls can be a major inconvenience. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help put an end to these unwelcome intrusions.

If the caller uses obscene or threatening language, repeatedly calls and hangs up, repeatedly calls and is silent, breaths heavily or plays a message, it is a harassing call. That is illegal in almost every state in the U.S.

If the phone calls are repeated or you believe that you are at a risk of physical harm, you should act. The police and local phone company will generally not take any action unless the calls are repeated or if a call specifically threatens you or your family with bodily harm.

For further reference, we recommend to write down the following: time and date of the call(s), gender of the caller, description of the caller's voice, what the caller said, approximate age of the caller, if the caller seemed intoxicated, presence of an accent or speech impediment, backgrounds noise, and a very important question is:

Was a Phone Number/Name Displayed on your Caller ID?

In most cases, you will want to file a police report first. In some cases a local phone company will block the caller based solely upon your request, but it is still better to file a police report first. Of course, if life or property are threatened, or if the calls are obscene, you should call the police and file a report regardless. That will legally document the problem, and should the caller continue or escalate his/her actions, the police have already been alerted.

Additonally to that, you can try to identify the caller on you own. Depending whether the caller ID was shown (or blocked), you can can chose one of the following services:

If you know the caller ID, please click here to order
the Phone Number Identification Search (U.S.A. and Canada).

If you do NOT know the caller ID, please click here to order
the Caller Identification Service (U.S.A. only).


You can also consider submitting your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. This national list protects home voice or personal wireless phone numbers (not business numbers).