Phonecalls

A prisoner in my own house

Ever since I told this teenager to stay the hell away from my daughter, I get anonymous phone calls every night between midnight and 3:00 A.M. Yesterday I decided that I would now put all the phones on mute before I go to bed.

However, I’m also a guy who doesn’t go to bed that early, especially when I happened to nap from 5pm to midnight. So here I am, half past midnight, sitting in the living room, phone ringers off, when I see this on my TV screen:

Yes, my TV provider offers HD TV, but for some reason their cable box is WLD (Way Low Def).

Call display on the TV. Brilliant.

That happens to be “the number and name” of the person making the anonymous phone calls. How do I know that, you may ask, seeing as anyone who calls my house and has the “block my name and phone number” option would be displayed exactly like this? There’s a few reasons why I know.

  1. Nobody calls my house at half past midnight to “not talk”. If there’s an emergency of some sort, people are happy that I pick up the phone, even if they dialed a wrong number.
  2. There is a history of some kids in my daughter’s class – including the current friend – calling my house in the middle of the night, but at that time they did it from a listed number. I tracked them down and got them to admit it was them. This time they figured out I couldn’t track them from an unlisted number. Hey, at least they are learning.
  3. It so happens that three days ago, my daughter received a call from that friend from an unlisted number. But since it was before I told her to stay away from my daughter, they had a decent conversation.
  4. The first night those kids started making anonymous phone calls to my house, they called three times within 15 minutes. The machine got the first call, but they didn’t leave a message. I picked up the second call, and they hung up after I said hello a few times. On the third call, I just picked up and said nothing. After a few seconds, I heard one of them say: “I don’t hear anything”.

In a surprisingly lucid and calm moment between the bouts of rage I called my phone service provider to ask them what could be done about this situation. Basically, I wanted calls from that person intercepted before they ever got to my phone. I was happy to settle for “no one with an unlisted number can call me” if that was a possibility.

Unfortunately, I was told that the phone service provider can’t take on himself to block incoming calls from a specific number, even if they have the technology to do it, even if I specifically ask them to do it. WTF?

The normal procedure is to *57 all anonymous calls. That command sends to the police the time and phone number of the last call received from the number who dials *57, at a cost of 5.00$ every time I use the option – to a maximum of 10.00$ a month.

Then I have to call and complain to the cops that I’m getting anonymous calls. They can then go the *57 registry, and match the times and my phone number with the phone number of the person who placed those calls.

But what would the cops do about this? Would they even consider doing anything about kids calling my house and hanging up? I had my doubts, so I called them. Not on the emergency number, on their other number for less important stuff. My suspicions were confirmed. Unless I received actual death threats during those phonecalls, the case would not even be considered. The cop who answered me was really nice, and seemed genuinely sorry to not be able to do anything about this.

What did I learn about this whole thing? Knowing that:

  1. My phone service provider has some technology that they are not willing to use, for no apparent reason;
  2. The cops will not do anything regarding this matter since no death threats have been issued.

I can safely say that my options are limited to these:

  • Call all the parents of the suspected anonymous callers and ask for their cooperation in the matter (doubtful that will go smoothly and resolve anything).
  • Get a new unlisted phone number (The cost to get a new unlisted phone number is around 100.00$, plus having to distribute that phone number to people I actually want calling me).
  • Move to a different continent (May be a little extreme, but might be worth it in the long run).

None of those are particularly attractive options. It looks like I’m condemned to receive anonymous phone calls for the rest of my life or until those friends grow up / get a life.

On the other hand, I learned that I can place anonymous phone calls from my house, and that as long as I don’t issue death threats, I am absolutely not exposing myself to any form of consequences.

Now the only question that remains:

How long will I choose to take the high road before I finally snap?