Telephone Safety


  • Never list your address in the phone book.
  • Use your first initial and last name in the phone book.
  • If you have a landline phone, use an answering machine to take calls when you are away from home. Have the out-going message say that you cannot come to the phone, not that you are not at home. Turn the ringer down so it cannot be heard from the outside.
  • In cases of emergency, know what number to dial (911) and what to say when calling.
  • Don't give any personal information if called about surveys, contests, subscription drives, purchases or deliveries until the source of the call has been verified. Ask for the phone number at which the caller can be reached, and confirm it with what is listed in the phone book or online.
  • Never give your name, address, or phone number to someone you don’t know.
  • Never give any information to “wrong number” callers; ask for the number the caller is trying to dial.
  • Always give the impression you are not alone.
  • If the caller asks for someone who is not there, say that person can’t come to the phone and ask for a name and number.
  • When you realize the caller is obscene or harassing, hang up immediately. Do not listen or show any emotional response. Report continuing incidents to the telephone company and police.
  • A blast from a whistle should not be used to discourage obscene or harassing phone calls.
  • If all else fails, change your phone number and have it unlisted.

Telephone Harassment

Repeated hang-ups, anonymous obscene phone calls and threatening email messages are all examples of harassment, the most common of which is telephone harassment.

Harassment is defined as an offense with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment or embarrass by telephone or writing. Harassment is also a communication that is obscene or threatening.

Individuals who receive harassing, annoying or threatening telephone calls are encouraged to contact UTPD for assistance. Two recommendations:

  • Inititiate a call trace from a campus phone.
  • Maintain a telephone log that documents the dates and times of calls. This will be helpful in determining what measures the police may pursue.

Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.