Unwanted telephone calls can be a nuisance, but they can also be a form of harassment. If you are receiving unwanted calls that are making you feel uncomfortable or threatened, there are steps you can take to get help.
What is harassment through unwanted telephone calls?
Harassment through unwanted telephone calls is any call that is intended to annoy, alarm, or abuse the recipient. This can include calls that are obscene, threatening, or simply annoying.
Signs of Harassment
If you are receiving unwanted calls, there are a few signs that may indicate that you are being harassed. These signs include:
- The calls are repeated or frequent.
- The caller makes threats or insults.
- The caller makes sexual or suggestive comments.
- The caller is trying to control your behavior.
- The calls are causing you to feel afraid or anxious.
What can I do if I am being harassed through unwanted telephone calls?
If you are being harassed through unwanted telephone calls, there are a few things you can do to get help.
- Identify the caller: If you can answer the calls and speak to the caller, try to identify them. This may help you to determine if the calls are being made by someone you know, or if they are being made by a stranger.
- Record the calls: If you are able to, record the unwanted calls. This will provide you with evidence of the harassment, which can be helpful if you decide to take legal action.
- Block the calls: Most phone companies allow you to block calls from specific numbers. This is a simple way to stop unwanted calls from reaching you.
- Report the calls to the police: If you are being harassed through unwanted telephone calls, you can report the calls to the police. The police may be able to trace the calls and identify the caller.
- Get a restraining order: If the harassment is severe, you may be able to get a restraining order against the caller. This will order the caller to stop contacting you.
Legal Provisions Against Harassment Through Unwanted Telephone Calls
There are a number of legal provisions in India that can be used to prosecute people who harass others through unwanted telephone calls. These provisions include:
- Section 503 of the IPC: This section makes it a crime to “criminal intimidation”. This means using threats to cause someone to fear for their safety or the safety of their family.
- Section 354D of the IPC: This section specifically addresses the harassment of women through unwanted telephone calls. It makes it a crime to “contact a woman to initiate personal interaction with her repeatedly despite her explicit refusal to do so”.
How to protect yourself from harassment through unwanted telephone calls
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from harassment through unwanted telephone calls:
- Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize: If you do answer the call, do not engage with the caller. Simply hang up.
- Be careful about giving out your personal information: Do not give out your phone number to people you do not know or trust.
- Use a call blocking service: There are a number of call blocking services available that can help you to block unwanted calls.
- Be aware of your rights: If you are being harassed through unwanted telephone calls, you know your rights and know what steps you can take to get help.
- Consider going ex-directory: This means that your phone number will not be listed in the phone book or in public directories. This can help to prevent the caller from finding your number.
- Use a call screening service: These services allow you to screen calls before you answer them. This can help you to avoid answering calls from unknown or unwanted numbers.
- Be careful about what information you give out over the phone: Do not give out your personal information, such as your address or your date of birth, to someone you do not know. This information can be used by the caller to track you down or to harass you further.
Harassment through unwanted telephone calls can be a serious problem. If you are being harassed, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. By keeping a record of the calls, blocking the caller’s number, and reporting the harassment to the police, you can help to stop the harassment and protect yourself from further harm.