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Hubby had to make a call to 911 this morning. For reals.

We got a phone call at 8:48 this morning from an “Unknown Caller,” who yelled at Hubby. The yelling man claimed he was a neighbor and that we kept stealing his newspaper. Hubby tried to tell him we hadn’t stolen anything, but he wasn’t listening. He finally said, “You don’t want me in your house. I’ll be there in 2 minutes.”

Whoa.

In the course of Hubby’s work, he sometimes interacts with people who aren’t stable. When he gets a threat like this, he takes it seriously.

He called 911 and talked to the dispatcher, who told him to just lock his door and not answer the phone. She was not going to send an officer out. Not until Hubby said, “Here are the options. You either send a squad to my house immediately, or I get out my shotgun for whoever might show up.” She dispatched an officer.

The officer helped us try to figure out who had called. He was unable to do so using our phone. Caller ID merely said, “Unknown Caller,” and dialing a code for a phone number recall produced no results. He suggested we have our phone service provider do a trace on the number. He also asked if we had any problems with the neighbors. None that we know of … we get along well with our neighbors.

I called the phone company and they were unable to trace the call. This seems odd with all the wiretapping and review of private phone calls the government has been engaged in within the last few years. How can there be a call that can’t be traced?

Strangely, we received a call around midnight last night, just before we were ready to turn out the lights. I went to answer the call and saw a number I didn’t recognize on the Caller ID. I didn’t answer it. I’m posting it here because it has bearing on our prank call: 481-516-2342.

While our prank call couldn’t be traced, this one could because we had a number. When Hubby googled the number, he came to the CallFerret website. According to the posts on this website, the phone number is associated with many prank calls, including one from a guy yelling about his newspaper. According to ChaCha, the number may also be associated with an episode of Lost.

As we were trying to figure out this incident, Young Son informed us that there is an online prank call service that he has seen one of his friends use. People can order from a menu of prank calls to send to someone they know, then the service will make the call. These are not recorded calls. A real person was yelling at Hubby about the newspaper and threatening to come to our house. Does the prank call service know that threatening someone is illegal? Do the people who request the service know?

This blog post serves as a warning to others who might get such calls, particularly from phone numbers beginning with “481.” ChaCha says this is not really an area code, but an exchange.

If you have kids, let them know how serious a threatening prank call can be. Hubby had a gun out. A police officer was dispatched for the prank call because of the threat aspect, which means he wasn’t available for other calls.

Warn your kids not to use online prank call services. PrankDial is one such service. PrankDialer is another. While we’re not sure which prank call service our call originated from, it’s obvious that someone from these sites doesn’t understand the legalities of making threats.

If you receive such a call, try to get the number and call the police to report it. If the number begins with “481,” it’s likely one of these prank calls, so you may not have to go as far as dialing 911. (Although, you should do that if you really feel threatened.)

We’re going to bring the online research we’ve done in to the local police so they have the information they need to respond to other reported prank phone calls.

Too much excitement for a quiet Sunday morning.

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