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Brown Home Brown Home Brown Home Department of Public Safety

Harassing Phone Calls


*57 Telephone Service

*57 is service of Verizon Communications used to trace the last incoming telephone of a harassing, threatening, obscene nature. This service provides authorities with information should an investigation be required. Here at Brown University, *57 is active on student telephone numbers ONLY. Listed below are the procedures for a student to follow should he/she receive any of the aforementioned call types:

  • Hang up with the unwanted caller.
  • Before any other calls come in, pick up the telephone and dial *57, the activation code to generate a trace. The recording states whether or not the call trace was successful and gives you further instructions.
  • Call DPS at x3-3322 and report the incident and the *57 activation, even if the trace was unsuccessful. An unsuccessful trace may be an indication that the call originated from another telephone within the University.

What happens next?

The report is routed to the DPS Detectives for investigation. If warranted, the Detectives will contact the Verizon Annoyance Bureau for trace results. Such information is only provided for an authorized official.

What about administrative telephones?

If a University employee receives harassing phone calls on an administrative line, she/he should contact DPS to document the incident. These telephones are not programmed for the *57 function. However, other means of tracing may be employed.