Kids, Don’t Prank Crisis Hotlines

Throughout my years of hanging out on voice bridges, I’ve heard my share of prank calls to emergency services. I do my best to talk sense into these people and try to convince users on our forums that you shouldn’t do this, ever. You shouldn’t prank the cops, the fire department or 911. You shouldn’t make bomb threats, physical threats or hinted threats to anyone over the phone, because then the emergency services start getting involved and that’s bad for everyone.

So where is the line drawn? Is it okay to prank abuse hotlines? Suicide hotlines? Drug and alcohol hotlines? In my opinion, no. Leave all of these places alone. There are so many other people and businesses out there that you can prank, so why bother with any kind of hotline service?

But then there’s the Anger Management Hotline. Now that just sounds hilarious. A hotline set up for people who have anger issues. There can’t be anything too illegal about calling up some anger management people and giving them a little hell. They’re just asking to be pranked, right? Apparently not, as Carlito from Madhouse Radio recently found out.

Madhouse Radio is a fun prank call show to listen to. I’ve been a fan of it for quite some time now, and there’s always plenty of entertaining bits throughout the show to keep me listening. I was surprised to see one of the more recent show descriptions, though. It read, “Historic Madhouse show, Carlitos studio gets shut down by the police hence the short length and sudden cut off. An anger management line is not amused with Carlito and Hollywood.” Wow.

If you take a listen to the 12/18/2008 show you’ll hear Carlito’s call at about 14 minutes, 55 seconds. He calls the lady on the other end a motherfucker, a piece of trash and a stupid bitch and she somehow considers his call threatening enough to send the police to his house and he’s arrested.

On the Madhouse forums, Carlito says, “I did some calls to an anger management line on Thursday night’s show. The woman considered it ‘Violent Calls’ which they weren’t and she reported us to the local PD here based on the SpoofCard caller ID (came up with my local 407 area code). During the show our phone line got intercepted and rerouted (HOW THAT IS LEGAL I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA) to the local 911 dispatch. Based on that they were able to get my address and immediately dispatched 2 units to the house in about 15 minutes. Apparently this Anger Management line/company has some kind of special ’emergency line’ status and they can get shit done.”

You see that? He used SpoofCard and they were still able to do some magical rerouting wizardry with the phone lines and get his address within 15 minutes. And he didn’t even threaten the lady – he simply cursed at her as a part of his shtick of needing help with his anger issues. If you think pranking “crisis” hotlines (how is anger management even a crisis??) is funny, then this should tell you that it’s officially a horrible idea. Stick to spouting your nonsense at normal businesses and people.

Visit this thread on the Madhouse forums to read more of Carlito’s story, about how they confiscated his computers, ranksacked his studios breaking furniture in the process, and spent a night in jail. Thankfully he was let go the next day, all the charges were dropped and his stuff returned. So it’s a happy ending, but would you really want to go through all that just to make a funny call to a hotline number?

Next time someone on the bridge says, “LOL, let’s prank the suicide hotline!!!” point them to this article and tell them to shut the hell up.

Brad Carter

I run this town.

14 thoughts on “Kids, Don’t Prank Crisis Hotlines

  • January 1, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    How did the intercept and reroute the call if he was using spoofcard, how did they figure out his line and do that?Was the show live?I never did trust spoofcard, go and have a look at their terms of service.

  • January 1, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I’m not surprised. I’ve witnessed enough weirdness with phone tracing and satellite manipulation this past year to know what the various agencies are capable of.

  • January 2, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    We should never prank any emergency service or any of these hotlines, since these are there for our benefit. People use these for serious issues, so don’t prank these,ever.

    However, the trick is to use a payphone in a lonely area (perhaps a suburban gas station) and then use a spoofcard. After the call, get out of the area immediately. Even if they traced the location of the payphone, they don’t know that easily who used it 10 minutes back.

    Or maybe a payphone in a super-busy area so its easier to mix into the crowd.

    But I repeat: don’t prank the emergency services, thats just unethical.Show respect for things that help human life.

    But I repeat:

  • January 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Disney Boy needs a big fat wakeup call concerning this topic!

  • February 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    HA! I done these kinds of pranks years ago when i was in high school, banks, suicide hotline, bully hotline, pregnancy hotline, i got balls.

    Bank Rob

    Bully Hotline

    Drug Abuse

    Fake Pregnancy Call

    Gay Community Center

    Poison Control

    Suicidal Hotline

  • February 18, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    my freind did it and she was at a freinds house and police were rading her room wile her parents realy thought she was going to kill herself.when she got home she got in BIG trouble with the cops and parents. she was grounded for life!

    my advice: DONT DO IT!

  • June 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    I’ve recently prank called the suicide hotline but i’ve only been on there about 5 minutes. i live in louisiana and they say they will call the police(in regarding to the situation i explain my friend to be in) and i hang up my cell phone and turn it off and remove the battery.. the police never shows up and other friends of mine want to do it, so i tell them to call instead because my number is already in the system. I just wondering if this waz wrong.

  • May 28, 2012 at 2:01 am

    i dont offended by anything. i love black comedy. idgaf if you joke about suicide or rape or whatever. the reason why im very against this is because let’s say some kid is very suicidal and he says that he won’t commit suicide if he gets some help from the hotline people. he waits very patiently and doesn’t get a response for almost an hour and you know why? because some immature kids think it’s funny to prank call the suicide hotline. as the time passes by, he wonders if they really did care about him, then they’d pick up. he has not gotten a counselor yet and cannot wait any longer, so he decides to kill himself. please think before you act. i wont care if it’s like on south park or something but yeah

  • June 3, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Something that I think people should remember is that its mostly volunteers who answer crisis hotlines. The people who volunteer have often experienced trauma themselves, have often lost someone to suicide or attempted suicide themselves, and likely will be traumatitized by prank calls – particularly if the caller has pretended to complete suicide. Food for thought.

  • September 14, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Please don’t prank hotlines. I have volunteered at one for three years.We are often the place of last resort for people who have no where else to turn. We take pride in the help that we offer and we do make a difference. I have talked to people who were about to kill themselves, who needed help to escape a violent relationship, who are dying of end-stage cancers and simply needed to hear a human voice in the middle of the night and know they are not alone. We do this as volunteers. We aren’t paid a dime. We don’t do it for any other reason than we don’t think people should have to face any of these things alone. Each time wasted on a prank call you think is funny makes it more likely that a volunteer gets burned out and quits, and prevents someone who truly needs help from getting it. Thank you.

  • April 17, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    I am worried about some really bad behavior I engaged in with the crisis people. There are more than a few workers who believe I should be punished but they arent trying to achieve that. I would like to share with you, i an ashamed of what I did and am close to scheduling a meeting to determine if I broke the law. I do not have to go if I choose not to and the meeting is in person only I assume in the event I have to be arrested and incarcerated. Im scared and the prospect of what my actions deserve makes me terrified. Is there a way that a meeting can be made mandatory so I wont have a choice
    I am on the verge of being completely honest and try not to think about what could happen after. I owe that to the workers that I affected. Im scared. Can you talk with me? I know you may be angry with me and I know I.should be punished. And possibly more than I want to consider. I am bothered by this and think facing consequences is the only way to relieve the guilt. Im scared. Please help.

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