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How To Curb Harassing Calls

September 2, 2014, 10:17 PM by Sammi Bjelland

How To Curb Harassing Calls
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Most of us have gotten a phone call from a number we don't recognize, or comes up anonymous.

Many times these calls are phone scams- people who come up with elaborate lies to try and get your money. But what do you do when the calls just won't stop?

Unknown Number. For some, this is a signal to not answer the phone. But even if you don't pick up, that doesn't guarantee the calls will quit.

"Sometimes they start at 7:00 in the morning and go all day," Amanda Lindgren said. 

"It's something that happens; I don't want to say daily. But it's a pretty frequent thing," Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said. 

Harassment over the phone is defined by law as any unwanted, annoying or harassing calls. While the calls do have to be repeated to be considered harassment, there's no set number when it comes to crossing the line.

Sioux Falls police say most of the time, the harassment is coming from someone the victim knows.

"Whether it's some type of relationship, whether boyfriend, girlfriend, ex-husband, ex-wife, or even friends or ex-friends, there's usually some type of connection there," Clemens said. 

Clemens says most of the cases they see like this will stop once police step-in and confront the suspect. But there are others police can't trace.

Many people receive calls that are from out of the country, making up detailed lies to get money.

"The one, I don't have a son or anything, saying my son's in jail and he needs bond money. That call I kind of played with and they went on for a half hour, trying to tell me I had a son. I needed to give them a credit card or checking account information," Lindgren said. 

Amanda Lindgren has been getting calls like this for 6 months. And it's not just her. Her 11-year-old step-daughter is also being harassed by scammers.

"She's been getting calls; they've been asking her for her mom and dad's credit card information. Saying that we're stranded and we need it. Thankfully, they're locked up and she doesn't get them. Because nobody thinks about teaching an 11-year-old credit card and fraud activity that hey, you don't give this information out over the phone," Lindgren said. 

Lindgren says she has contacted the police in her hometown of Aberdeen, but they weren't able to do anything because the number is untraceable.

Clemens says technology can be limited when it comes to tracing.

"Sometimes we're able to kind of track that back and find the person that's causing that. And if they're arrested or charged, hopefully there's no more phone calls. If we're not able to, and those phone calls continue, really that's about their only option is to get a different phone number," Clemens said. 

"I've thought about switching my number, but why should I go through all that trouble to switch my number not knowing that my new number is going to be protected as well," Lindgren said. 

For Lindgren, that's just not an option. So, she'll continue watching what calls she answers and teaching her step-daughter to watch out for scams.

"Never give out any information over the phone. Regardless who they are. Who they claim to be. You never want to give out anything, you don't even want to confirm your address with anyone because you never know who you're talking to on the phone," Lindgren said.

There are some apps available on smart phones that allow you to block certain numbers.

Clemens says if you do feel you're being harassed by a scammer or someone you know, you should call police and file a report.

 

 

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