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Winnipeg Police Service


Crime Prevention > Annoying Phone Calls

Being the victim of an obscene or harassing phone call can be not only bothersome, but in some cases, frightening and intimidating.

A person who makes annoying, obscene or threatening phone calls is guilty of committing a CRIME.  It is against the law to use profane, obscene or abusive language over the phone, or to use a telephone to harass people.  Generally, crank callers are seeking attention or a reaction -- shock, anger, fear or exasperation -- from those receiving the calls. 


If you are the recipient of this type of call, there are some procedures you can follow to deter them:

  • Do not provide personal information to someone you do not know.
  • Remember, no matter whom they say they are, you cannot visually identify a telephone caller. They could be anyone!
  • Do not hesitate to use telephone security screening codes such as Call Trace (*57); Call Block (*67) and Call Return (*69).
  • If a caller refuses to identify him or herself to you – HANG UP the telephone.
  • If a caller asks what number they have called, ask them what number they dialed.
  • Do not divulge to anyone that you are home alone.
  • Teach your children proper phone etiquette and safe telephone practices.
  • If you are receiving annoying or harassing telephone calls, activate the MTS call trace feature (*57). Notify the police immediately if the calls are life threatening. If the calls are annoying or harassing document the date, time and nature of the calls and assemble a record of calls before contacting the police. Never stay on the telephone and react to an annoying or harassing caller. Hang up immediately.
  • If you wish to respond to telemarketing calls or surveys ask for their telephone number and offer to call them back. Never give out a credit card number over the telephone.
  • Consider answering machines as useful tools for screening telephone calls.

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"An Internationally Accredited Law Enforcement Agency"
Last update: September 28, 2015

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