HOW TO HANDLE THOSE NUISANCE CALLS
*A spokesman for Eircom says that its Malicious Calls Bureau receives 100 reports each day of nuisance calls; that's around 35,000 logged reports a year covering everything from silent callers to annoying tele-marketers.
*If you are receiving nuisance texts, phone calls or are being stalked at a more serious level, there are numerous commonsense steps you can take. The phone is a primary means of stalking so begin by screening your calls, letting your answer machine keep a log of all malicious calls. In addition, keep a personal diary of calls received. If you know the number calling you, contact the Garda who should make an official request to the mobile operator for information on that number.
*If a number comes up as private or if calls are from an unregistered pay-as-you-go mobile, operators say phones can still be traced through a central equipment identification register. If a number consistently comes up as private, don't answer it at all or answer it, try not to sound alarmed, leave the handset unattended for a few minutes, and then hang up. Invest in a whistle to give the caller an answer they don't expect.
*If you're having persistent problems, consider changing your number and only give your new number to a limited number of friends and family. In very serious cases, experts say changing a number can enrage the stalker; every case is different and needs to be discussed with gardai.
*If threatening calls and texts are part of a wider stalking campaign, check security at your home and change your routine. If you know the person stalking you, show their photograph to friends and family but don't ask anyone to confront them. The Garda should be the ones to do this.
*One thing experts stress is that you shouldn't engage in any conversation with a nuisance caller. Of course, they can be charming and persuasive, starting slowly to gauge your reaction or calling you for an apparently valid reason. They need your emotional response to get their kicks and if you react, they will keep going.
*Eircom's Malicious Calls Bureau (1800 689 689) advises people on their options and provides an advice leaflet.