Are Prank Calls Illegal in the UK?

Prank calls are a telephone practical joke where the caller pretends to be someone else, puts on funny voices, asks silly questions or creates a fake scenario to fool the victim. They can be done by anyone with a phone and are sometimes even carried out on radio shows for the entertainment of the listeners. While telephone prank calls can be a fun source of entertainment, they can also be a form of harassment.

If you are having fun and making joke calls to your friend, who also finds it funny when they realise the joke, then prank calls can be harmless and enjoyable. However, if you repeatedly call someone who doesn’t appreciate the joke and asks you not to call back, you could be getting yourself in dangerous legal territory.

But is making a prank call actually illegal? Can you get arrested for asking someone if their refrigerator is running or ordering a bacon cheeseburger from your local library? Let’s take a look at the legalities of prank calls in the UK and whether or not these jokes can get you into legal trouble.

It is Legal to Make a Prank Call?

Understanding the legality of prank calling can be very confusing and there is a collection of very conflicting views on the topic. Many people believe that making a prank call is illegal and that recording a phone call that you make to a random person is against the law. However, this isn’t exactly how it works.

The truth is that prank calls themselves are not illegal. However, if you are saying abusive things or making threats during a prank call, this could be considered harassment and could get you in trouble. If you are continuing to phone someone repeatedly, even after they have asked you to stop calling, this could be considered “malicious calling” as it causes distress.

Also, impersonating someone of legal authority, such as a police officer, is not allowed and is a serious offense. It is also illegal to make a fake prank call to emergency services with false information, not to mention ethically wrong to waste the time of people who should be focusing on saving others in need.

Recording a prank call is okay, as long as you do not make it public without the consent of the person involved. If you do this, you are violating their data protection rights and you can get in legal trouble. Most people will not be okay with you posting a prank call that humiliates them, unless they also find it funny and can laugh at themselves.

If you are making prank calls, make sure that you play your practical jokes with these important specifications in mind. Be careful to avoid harassing someone, repeatedly calling them or posting your recorded conversation online without asking them. In order to keep safe, it’s better to prank call your friends who will understand rather than complete strangers who might feel threatened or offended. If a stranger doesn’t appreciate your prank, they are more likely to report you and make a complaint. Also, hearing the reactions of your friends is more entertaining because you know them – and you can tease them afterward for falling for your prank.

Making Prank Calls Might Get You Blocked

Even if you are following the above regulations when making prank calls, you might find yourself blocked – with the use of a Pro Call Blocker device.

Many people who are being annoyed with a lot of prank calls, or irritating sales pitches from telemarketers, choose to install a Pro Call Blocker. This is a device that will allow you to press a button and “blacklist” the number when a telemarketer phones you. This means that particular number will not be able to contact you again. This can be a really great way to stop someone from harassing you with prank calls if you don’t appreciate what they are doing.

If you are prank calling someone and they use a call blocker, your phone number will be prevented from calling them again. This could be inconvenient if this is an important number that you might need to call in the future, so keep this in mind and be careful.

About the author:

Stuart Edge is a freelance writer and blogger. When he was younger, he and his friends used to entertain themselves by making prank phone calls to girls they liked – until they got in trouble.