Those phone calls can be worrisome

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Right there in the Natchez phone book is my family’s phone number. Actually, all together are my husband’s office number, our house number and a children’s listing. It never occurred to me that this could be a problem. After all, David’s patients need to reach him and basically with five people in the house our phone number has been given out all over town.

Recently I discovered that it could be a problem, not only at my house but at yours as well. I was at home for lunch when the children’s line rang. Thinking it rather odd for someone to call them at lunch during a school day I answered the phone. To my surprise it was a collect phone call from a correctional facility. We will call the man, &uot;Joe.&uot; After all, we wouldn’t want him to be able to sue me. Naturally I pushed the button to refuse the call and hung up. Within two minutes, it rang again.

This time my curiosity got the best of me and I accepted the call. The man asked me my name and I refused to give it and asked him who he was calling. Figuring out that he was not talking to a little kid he asked for my &uot;dad.&uot; When I asked him what he wanted with him he became extremely evasive, and was unable to explain what he wanted &uot;Mr.&uot; Hall for.

Email newsletter signup

I then, in my typical shy, soft-spoken Southern style, explained to him that he had reached an adult at this home and if he or anyone else from that facility ever called my children’s number or my number again, I would be coming to pay him a visit and it wouldn’t be pretty. Guess what? He hung up.

Upon discussing this with several other people I decided to share with our readers what I have learned.

This type of phone call is very common from correctional facilities and ,from what I have heard, there are two purposes. The first one is to find young girls who will accept the calls and carry on conversations with the men. Eventually they become friends and conversations grow bolder until the men learn intimate details from the girls.

The other involves convincing people who accept their call that they are only allowed to make one call and they accidentally dialed your number. They then ask you to dial a number and help them route their call so they will be able to talk to a loved one. The catch? The second call is billed to the first person’s number.

Talk to your children about collect phone calls and what is and isn’t OK. Remember they don’t always understand the consequences of giving out too much information.

Or if you like you can accept the call and then just ride with me over to the facility. Angry parents are usually a scary sight.

Christina Hall is the lifestyle editor at The Democrat. She can be reached at 445-3549 or by e-mail at