Hoax calls can lead to jail term. If the hoax call harms a person or if it results in any sort of loss, then it is considered a crime and a legal action will be taken.
The menace of hoax calls has increased over the past years and Bengaluru city finds itself on the list of victims. Bengaluru gets many hoax calls but most of them go unreported.
The punishment for these type of calls need special enactment. There is no special enactment under which these culprits can be booked. The quantum of punishment is less.
What is a Hoax call ?
A hoax call is a telephone call intended by the caller as a practical joke played on the person answering. It is often a type of nuisance call.
A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, rumors, urban legends. Pseudo-sciences and April Fools’ day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.
The psychology of hoaxing calls :
The reasons of what might cause people to hoaxing includes hoaxing
- for amusement purposes,
- out of boredom,
- as an act revenge
- as a way to gain fame and/or notoriety in some way
- to gain attention such as faking illness (Munchausen’s syndrome)
- to demonstrate cleverness (or a perception of cleverness) to others around them and
- to disrupt the status quo (including terrorist and non-terrorist activity), and for political causes (such as claiming to be a victim of a racist hate crime).
Majority of hoax calls arise from psychological problems. Such callers have no explanation for their action or when confronted express remorse.
Malicious and Prank Calls :
If a call’s purpose is to cause distress, if the caller uses abusive or sexually explicit language, or if the caller threatens, then it is a malicious call. Some people are unfortunate enough to receive a barrage of malicious calls, often at anti-social hours, and these can be very upsetting. Making a malicious call will be a criminal offence.
Prank calls are a type of malicious call that are sometimes carried out by kids ‘for a laugh’. The pranksters may order a taxi or pizza giving the victims address and phone number, or may make reverse charge calls to the victim. Some times calls that may at first appear malicious may in fact be less sinister.
Legal issues :
Some hoax calls are criminalized in many jurisdictions, for instance if the call involves calling the emergency services, while others may be protected as freedom of expression.
Rudimentary criminal ‘pranks’ may range from simple telephone harassment to bomb threats. More elaborate pranks rely on tricking the recipient into harmful behavior.
Hoax calls at Bengaluru City :
Bengaluru has had to deal with many hoax calls. Many hoax calls have gone unreported while some have been closed as they were ‘untraceable’.
Use of Technology to identify hoax calls :
Virtually all smart-phones, cordless phones and many wire-line handsets have built-in caller ID displays. Android and iOS smart-hones have the ability to block numbers that are suspect or have been identified as fraudulent or scammers; most regular landlines do not.
With ‘Truecaller’ and other similar apps. one can immediately know who is calling. With advanced technology one can immediately trace the call and get their information. Once the caller id identified a criminal case is registered on the basis of the severity of the call.
Caller ID technology can be easily exploited by scammers and fraudsters from anywhere in the world to display a false identity and locations. It is far too simple to obtain a phone number and to generate a false calling party name.
Reporting of hoax calls & nature of punishment :
As soon a person receives a hoax call, it should be reported immediately. If the call is harming someone or results in any form of harm or loss, it is considered as a crime. Legal action will be taken. All calls cannot be considered as hoax calls. The magnitude of the crime is taken into consideration.
If the offence is severe, the severe will be the punishment. The punishment can vary from a two year jail term to life imprisonment. The major drawback is that not all hoax are officially registered.
Reasons for making hoax calls :
Reasons for making hoax calls are many. Sometimes it might be due to a dysfunctional family set-up. It might be to due to negligent parenting. Neglect leads to children turning a deaf year to everything. Sometimes it can be due to revenge or fear of missing flight.
A few cases of hoax calls in Bengaluru :
In August 2018 – Aditya Rao a resident of KHB colony in Manipal in Udupi district made a hoax call to Kempe Gowda International Airport (KIA) to take revenge. His job application was rejected and this prompted him to take revenge on the authorities. He made 4 calls to KIA.
His case is under trial in court.
In February 2019 – a Bomb warning was given on the Surat-bound Air India flight. Later the caller was identified as Prateek Rathore, a 49 year old techie. Prateek confessed making the call as he was running late and was worried about missing he flight.
His case is under investigation.
In April 2019 – a 65 year old ex-army man made a hoax call claiming that major cities in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Pondicherry Goa and Maharashtra will be hit by terror attach.
This case in under investigation.
In May 2019 – Name unknown. A caller gave warnings to Air Asia officials in Bengaluru city of possible danger to a flight. The flight I5-588 as bound between Bagdpgra in North Bengal to Kalkota.
The case is under investigation.
Method to Stopping a Prank Caller on a Mobile Phone :
Contact the police. If the call is threatening or harassing, it may violate local or state laws. The methods to follow to stop the hoax calls are :
1) Contact the police. If the call is threatening or harassing, it may violate local or state laws
2) Screen-calls. The mobile phone should display the phone number of the hoax caller.
3) Send hoax calls straight to voicemail.
4) Block the hoax calls
5) Using an app.