It is a crime under state and federal law for anyone to make obscene or harassing telephone calls. In Ohio, the law imposes penalties of up to five years imprisonment and/or a $2,500 fine. In Indiana, it's six months imprisonment and/or a $500 fine. In Kentucky, it's imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days and/or a $250 fine.
Dealing with Harassing Calls
We welcome the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have. If you feel we have not fully addressed your questions or concerns, a supervisor is available to assist you. Please call:
- Hang up at the first obscene word. Hang up if the caller remains silent the second time you say hello. Remember, you control your telephone, not the person calling.
- Do not give any information such as your name or address until the caller has been properly identified.
- Advise your children and guests not to give out any information. If you are not at home, those answering your telephone should be instructed to say, "They're busy right now, may I take a message?"
- If the calls persist, call your local police, (incident report required to trace calls) or call Cincinnati Bell's Annoyance Call Bureau at 513-397-7366 for more information on what options are available to you.
Requirements to Trace Harassing Phone Calls
Victims of these crimes must file a complaint with their local law enforcement agency. The investigating officer will fax a completed copy of the offense report to the Annoyance Call Bureau. Trap and Trace equipment is placed on the victims phone line for a 21-day period, (longer if requested by law enforcement). During the trace period, you must keep track of the dates and times you receive the harassing call, report each call to our voice mailbox (513-784-7993), within 24 hours of the time the call was received. After tracing is complete, the Annoyance Call Bureau will fax all trace results to your investigating officer within 2 working days. Contact your investigating officer for further information regarding options available to you.
Silent or Hang Up Calls
Some hang-up or silent calls could be coming from telemarketers. Telemarketers are now using computers to automatically dial phone numbers at random. When you answer your phone and no one is available to talk to you, the computer will hold the line open for one of his or her representatives or disconnect the call.
To Stop Telemarketing Calls
Have your name added to the National Do Not Call List:
Telephone Number: 1-888-382-1222
Website Address: www.DoNotCall.gov
Or write a letter to:
Telephone Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9014
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014
Give your full telephone number including area code, your name and names of any other adults in your household, state that you do not want to receive any calls from the national telemarketers, (THIS IS A FREE SERVICE).
For Kentucky residents, you can call 1-800-671-7701 or 1-888-432-9257.
Another option to get calls stopped
Providing you have a Caller ID box, you can subscribe to REVEAL service. This service helps protect you from telemarketing and other unwanted calls. If you have questions about REVEAL or other options available to you, call the Annoyance Call Bureau. If you would like to subscribe to REVEAL or other services, you can do so by accessing your account and ordering these products online.
Fax/Computer Modem Tone Calls
These calls are beeping or loud squeal sounds when you answer the phone. Usually the person has programmed your phone number in a fax or computer by mistake. These machines are sometimes programmed to dial a number and if it doesn't reach the correct phone line, it will continue dialing until someone corrects the problem. When you answer the call and you hear these sounds, try dialing your telephone number two times in a row. This sometimes will send a signal to the other end to notify them something is wrong. If you have Caller ID and the phone number identified can't be called, call the Annoyance Call Bureau and they will contact the appropriate person to get calls stopped.
If none of these options work you can contact the Annoyance Call Bureau at 513-397-7366 for further assistance.