July 30, 2003 — If you get a collect telephone call from a prison and don't know the person calling, don't accept it.
That's what the Virgin Islands Police Department is advising Virgin Islanders to do about a rash of collect phone calls being made to the territory from strangers.
Some residents have reported receiving calls from an off-island correctional facility in which the caller makes threatening and harassing remarks.
Last summer, similar harassing calls were reported to have been made from the Miami-Dade County Detention Center. At the time, officials there said they were unable to trace the calls.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Police Commissioner Elton Lewis said you should not accept collect calls from any correctional facility unless you are sure you know the caller. And, he said, if you do mistakenly accept a collect call that is harassing, hang up immediately and report the matter to your telephone company.
"It is important for you to be vigilant while accepting collect telephone calls from correctional facilities and make sure you have identified the caller," the press release stated.
Anyone who has received such a call also is asked to report it promptly to the Police Department by calling 911.
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