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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From a Crank Call .....to.....Cyberstalking

The First Call:

It was late on Thursday evening and I received a call from an unknown caller. I let it go, but listened soon after to the voice mail left behind. The initial shock value is actually quite ridiculous and goes from "no way" to "OMG, is this really happening to me?" , "is this a joke?", "Do I know this person?", "Does this person know me?". I thought the call would be a one time thing but after about 6 voice mails(all sex related) and 5 texts (two trying to get my name and information, 3 asking me about my underwear over and over within 5 minutes) in just this weekend. I realized things were/are getting out of hand. The calls are about 3 minutes long and in the call the caller breathes heavily while committing a sexual act upon himself. The follow up text was with a phone number that was listed, (my paranoia prevents me from posting it here, for fear the person will do a search on their own number and find my blog, and begin harassing me here!)

What I have done:
I have searched the internet to see if this number is calling others, listed as a business number or to find any information about the number. What I do know is that the call number resides in the area I am in, and that it is a Cricket number. What I still don't know is who this is.

The Police:
I take my information to the police station. I had a lovely conversation with an officer behind a glass wall who pretty much told me they could not do anything for me without physical harm being in placed upon me. If I knew who it was and if it is an ex then I could file a PFA (Protection From Abuse order). What I have found out since this interaction with the police is that the State of Pennsylvania has a Cyberstalking law that states:

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 5504 —- Harassment by communication or address:

(A) A person commits the crime of harassment by communication or address when, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another, that person:

(1) Communicates to or about such other person any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures; or

(2) Communicates repeatedly in an anonymous manner;

(3) Communicates repeatedly at extremely inconvenient hours;

(4) Communicates repeatedly in a manner not covered by paragraph (2) or (3).

(F) Definitions: "Communicates." Conveys, without intent of legitimate communication or address, by written or electronic means, including telephone, electronic mail, Internet, facsimile, telex and similar transmission.


If this continues, I will have to take this back to the Police with my new knowledge of Cyberlaws as this communication on my mobile phone constitutes Cyberstalking.

The Phone Company:
I called my mobile provider and they placed a block with the known number which should stop the text messages, unless the person switches numbers or phones. This will not stop the caller from leaving me voice mails, though. I looked into having all unknown numbers blocked to my number and this can be done (for a nominal fee: sucks!) The suggestion though was to change my number (which is the direction I am leaning). The phone company cannot give you the name of the number that is harassing you (privacy laws!) BTW: I think it bites that the harasser is protected under a law they are currently breaking! I will have to contact CRICKET to see what they can do since the number is a CRICKET number.

No Call Lists: I put myself on the National Do Not Call registry and filed a complaint with this number in the event it belongs to a business then they can discuss a halt on this action to myself or others and possibly institute a fine.

I have saved the voice mails and text messages and am looking into having the messages recorded as evidence in the event this is from someone who is a future danger to me.

Beyond this horror I don't understand why someone is compelled to perform this type of act of harassment. What is the draw to me or is this a random act. Where did the person receive my number from? was it written on a wall somewhere? I also have a similar number to a popular local pizza joint and wonder if the caller accidentally called me while dialing them and that is the coincidence or initial cause. I DO NOT KNOW. The not knowing is the most frustrating part of the whole ordeal. I am in the early stages and do not want to agitate the caller as I do not know how much of my personal information this person has. From this point forward I will have to be more careful of all my personal info.

I wish this upon no one, for the feelings of insecurity it leaves is terribly unpleasant.

4 comments:

Cheryl Lynn said...

Omg that is so scary!!! I work in the repair department at a phone company and I know we don't have the same training on privacy laws like they do in customer service. I would call repair and give them that number as the number being reported explain what is going on and they will more than likely give you that.

Jason said...

wow...

i hope it works out, maybe he will get caught somehow, like for calling someone else like that. You should buy some mace, though.

The Rambler said...

OMG sis!!! You didn't mention this the other day we talked!!!

Janna Bee said...

Ugh, I am sooo sorry. I had something happen to me like that on texts and I just was able to block the number, but it still left me feeling attacked. I can't imagine getting voicemails like that! I would change your number. It sucks, but at least it would give you peace of mind.