Is Prank Calling Illegal?

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    • You may be charged with cyberstalking if you repeatedly make unwanted phone calls to a another individual. Regardless of whether you speak when the dialed party answers, repeated calls may result in a criminal charge of cyberstalking. Making threats or using obscene language also often fall under cyberstalking laws.


    • States with cyberharassment laws hold that any phone call intended to cause the recipient emotional distress is an illegal action. The exception to this law is a call that has a legitimate purpose, such as a call to collect a debt.


    • Cyberbulling is similar to cyberharassment, but it applies to school districts and minors. In short, it is an extension of bullying laws to cover phone use.


    • Depending on the state and type of crime, prank calling may be considered a misdemeanor or a felony, and a prank caller will be subject to the appropriate punishment, which may be a fine, jail time, or both. Regardless of state laws, however, the FCC's Telecommunications Act of 1996 makes the crime of prank calling punishable with up to two years of imprisonment and/or fines surpassing $1,000.

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