By Lonnie Cruse
A while ago I received a very nasty, very threatening phone call on my cell phone. Luckily some people who break the law (this IS against the law, though only a misdemeanor) aren't as sharp as they could be.
Case in point, this guy not only didn't block the calling number he was using, but since I didn't answer the phone (in my purse, didn't hear it ring) he left his message in my voice mail, TWICE! Therefore I was able to report him, give the authorities his cell phone number, AND record the call for them, giving them proof of the calls.
Next case in point, at that time I had an outgoing message on my cell phone voicemail giving our name and saying we weren't available to take the call, so please leave a message. I've since changed it to a generic voicemail message from my phone company which gives the caller my number (but not my name) and says I'm not available. However, like I said, this genius called TWICE and obviously didn't hear me say my name, so if he misdialed, he never noticed he had the wrong number. The wrong person. The jury is still out on that one. The local state's attorney and the deputy who took my complaint are tracking down the caller.
My hubby used his cell phone to call the number back and the guy who answered not only sounded different from the nasty caller, but he also swore he loaned his phone to someone else who made the call. He begged us not to turn it over to the authorities and promised to take care of it, but because the call was obviously threatening and obviously directed at a woman (judging by the words used) hubby told him to do whatever he had to do, but the report was going to the authorities.
I did wonder about whether to turn this in to the authorities. The caller didn't use my name so it well could be a misdial. Turning him in might make him mad and turn his focus on me instead of who he really meant. However, he needs to learn not to threaten others. He also could stand to learn some real English, as he only used about five words that weren't filthy.
I titled this post: A brush With Danger for a reason. The threat in the call/voicemail was that the caller was going to do certain particularly nasty things to me (or whomever he meant to call.) Since then I'm keeping the storm door locked as well as the front and back doors, taking more precautions, and wondering if I need a new cell phone number. And FYI, my cell phone company would do NOTHING to help me with this beyond blocking that person's number. IF he meant this for me, he can easily give my number to his friends (assuming he has any) OR borrow other phones to harass me.
So far that hasn't happened and I hope it doesn't. I used the Internet to try to track the number he called from and tracked the phone owner to a city about an hour from us. I used several tracking sites and all took me to the same place. However, in order to get the owner's name, I had to pay a (small in some cases) fee. I decided to let the sheriff's department give it a shot first. Thing is, HIS phone company would not help me either. They were not interested in the fact that one of their customers is using their system to make illegal phone calls. Might violate HIS privacy. Sigh. Must have a court order, which authorities here are trying to get. Yeah, I understand both phone companies' reasons, I don't agree. You break the law, you should lose your phone priviledges. End of story.
My point about the danger is that if this guy is only an hour away, with all the information on the Internet today, he could easily track me down. It made me nervous. So I'm being cautious. And if I have to, I'll call in some favors from other law enforcement folks I know to find this guy. Folks who owe me. I can play dirty too, if need be.
The voice in the voicemail was not familiar and I can't, for the life of me, think of anyone I've ticked off THAT badly lately, so I'm hopeful it was a dialing error. Still, I don't give out that number to many people, the threatening calls were two hours apart so who loans their phone out for that long, and other things worry me. I'll let you know if anything comes of this. Meanwhile, folks, be thankful that some people are not savvy about how to make threatening phone calls and that you have voicemail. If you don't have it, you need to enable it. Right now.
Stay safe, sometimes it's a nasty world out there. Hmmm, I probably should use this in a plot line somewhere?