How Many Texts Are Considered Harassment?

Living in the digital age comes with its fair share of disadvantages, including text message harassment. Have you started wondering, how many texts are considered harassment? If you believe that the number or the content of the annoying or disturbing texts that you’re getting borders harassment, DoNotPay is here to help you. 

We understand what it means when someone is harassing you and how unpleasant this can be. There’s no need to feel embarrassed or frightened no matter how scary it might look at the moment—the law is on your side, so there are ways to protect yourself from this form of disturbance.  

Before you take action against the perpetrator in question, you should know what exactly constitutes a harassing text message and what doesn’t. 

What Is Considered a Harassing Text Message?

For a text message to be considered harassing, the most important thing to take into account is its content and how you feel when you read it. Even if the person sending you the message is someone close to you, including family members, the text can still be considered harassing, depending on what it says. It doesn’t even have to be threatening—it’s enough if it’s spam-like or abusive. Here are some things that make a message harassing:

  1. Repeated or unwanted contact
  2. Threats of violence or harm
  3. Threats of property damage
  4. Unwelcome sexually-charged texts, which can result in sexual harassment 
  5. Anything else that makes you feel upset, anxious, or scared
  6. Receiving a text from a number you’ve previously blocked

Is It Harassment to Text Someone Repeatedly?

The short answer is yes. When you receive repeated text messages, it can count as harassment. Keep in mind, though, that there are some exceptions. For instance, a friend of yours asking if you’re okay may send repeated messages if you’re not answering. Naturally, this would not be considered harassment. 

The first thing to do if you want someone to stop texting you is to tell them to stop. If you did, and they continue to send you messages, then you have every right to complain. If these unpleasant messages are followed by harassing phone calls, you can end up in even greater trouble, so you should act on it as soon as possible to avoid further complications.    

How Many Unanswered Texts Is Harassment?

One text message does not count as harassment, even if it’s intended to distress you. But two unanswered and unwanted text messages can be considered harassment. One text message and one phone call can also count as harassment. 

Examples of Harassing Text Messages

If you’re not sure whether a text message that bothers you constitutes harassment, a few examples can come in handy. You might find it easier to determine if a message can be described as harassing when you compare it with other people’s disturbing messages

In this Reddit thread, you can find an example of a rather unpleasant text message that includes threats of violence. According to the victim, the woman who sent the message stated in the text that she has “the means to inflict severe hardship, pain, and suffering.” This is a clear example of a harassing text message that no one could stay indifferent to. 

Should anything similar happen to you, make sure you go straight to the police. With messages like this, it doesn’t pay off to take the risk and wait for the abuser to disappear.

Another Reddit thread shows how much of a problem someone you saw two times can cause. This text harassment victim received more than 50 messages in just one hour from a guy she barely knew. The problem with this particular situation is that the girl went out on two dates with the abuser. 

If there is any history between you and the perpetrator, that may influence the point of view of the police. In this case, the safest way to handle the problem is to provide evidence that you are, in fact, harassed by this person regardless of your history.

What Doesn’t Count as Text Message Harassment

Annoying text messages are more common than you think, but not all of them count as harassing. That’s why, before you call someone a harasser and take action against that person, you need to rule out the possibility that the texts you’re receiving are just annoying. Here are some common examples of messages that are likely to bother you, but are not considered harassing in legal terms:

  1. Appointment reminders
  2. Text-message pranks
  3. A one-time random text from a stranger
  4. A compliment from an unknown sender that doesn’t involve inappropriate language

Texting Harassment Laws

You can and should rely on text harassment laws to protect you from various messages that may disturb you. Even if the message in question only causes slight discomfort, you have every right to get protection from the person behind this text. 

While there is a criminal law against disturbing text messages in most states, a specific way in which this form of harassment is treated may differ depending on where you are. Make sure you contact a local authoritative body to check the laws in your state and area.

How Do You Stop Harassing Text Messages?

To stop any kind of harassing behavior, including text messages, you must act fast, so you need to know your options right from the start. Depending on how alarming the situation is, you can choose to do the following:

  • Tell the person in question to stop texting you
  • Block the number from which you’re getting unwanted texts 
  • Go to the police
  • Ask for a restraining order

Is It Enough to Tell the Abuser to Stop Texting You?

The first step to take when you start receiving unwanted text messages is to tell the aggressor to stop texting you. This might not always be effective, but you should at least try. This is an important step if you eventually end up filing harassment charges, as you will have proof that you’ve asked the person not to contact you.

How Efficient Is Blocking?

If you ask the potential harasser to stop texting you, but you keep receiving unwanted texts, the next step to take is to block the number. Blocking can also help you stop unwanted phone calls, in case the perpetrator starts calling you, too. Here are some options to consider:

Block a number on your phone

Depending on the type of your phone, you can find the option to block a number in the settings. If your phone doesn’t have this feature, you can download a text message blocker app, such as SMS Blocker, Vero SMS, or Blacklist.

Contact your telephone company

If you find it more convenient, you can also talk to your telephone company about your problem and check what text-blocking options they have to offer. In any case, you will be required to provide the number that you want to block.

What can be tricky is that the abuser might continue sending you messages or calling you from another number. When you see that the person harassing you is persistent, it’s time to take more drastic measures.

Can the Police Do Anything About Harassing Texts?

As soon as the person sending you unwanted texts threatens you in any way, you should go to the police. If you receive disturbing messages from an unknown number, the police will need to obtain telephone records from the mobile phone companies to track down the perpetrator and reveal his identity. The first step in getting the records is obtaining a legal permission. This might take some time, so you should be prepared to wait.

Keep in mind, though, that the police won’t be able to help you if you have a problem with spam messages. They can only take action when your health or security is jeopardized. Your health can be affected if the messages in question make you feel anxious or stressed-out. In this case, the exact moment when the texts become harassing depends on your tolerance threshold. 

If you have a pre-existing health condition that makes your stress threshold lower, make sure you let the police know. It is also crucial to mention whether the abuser (if you know that person) is aware of your condition. If so, the police can take action even after a single text message sent with the intention to cause distress.

Ask for a Restraining Order to Stop Texting Harassment

People usually ask for a restraining order if someone harasses them in person, but you can take the same step to stop text harassment, too. If you’re forced to communicate with the person bothering you (for instance, because of a shared parental agreement), the restraining order can be formulated in such a way to limit your communication to specific occasions or for specific purposes. That way, the perpetrator cannot take advantage of the circumstances and find an excuse to send you disturbing messages.

Unwanted text messages can easily grow into cyber stalking, or the perpetrators can even become in-person stalkers. Asking for a restraining order early enough in the process is a good way to prevent the harassment from going to a higher level.

Can You File Harassment Charges for Texting?

Yes, you can, and you should—if the abuser in question causes you emotional distress or threatens to hurt you, it’s crucial that you act as fast as possible. In order to file a charge, you should be fully prepared for the process, which means documenting the harassing behavior. Here are some suggestions to help you document everything and gather enough evidence needed to charge the abuser:

Save harassing texts

To accuse someone of harassing you via text messages, you will need those texts as proof, so never delete them. As soon as you start noticing that there’s something wrong in the texts from a particular person, start saving them, no matter how much you might want to delete or forget about them.

Make hard copies

Since you can never be one hundred percent sure your phone is out of reach of hackers, it’s always a good idea to have a hard copy of harassing messages. Even if the perpetrator can’t hack your phone and delete the evidence, your phone might break in the meantime. It can be stolen, or you can lose it. In case something like that happened, you would remain without any proof, so don’t take the risk—print all the messages as soon as you get them.

Keep everything in one folder

When you print the texts, it would be best to keep them all in one folder. It is also advisable to arrange them chronologically, so it can be clear how the harassing behavior developed. When you have all the messages printed and organized neatly, you don’t have to worry about losing a single trace that proves that you’re the victim. Sometimes, a single message might be a deciding factor, so losing one is enough to lose the entire case.

Add supplemental evidence

If you have anything else that proves you’ve been harassed by someone, add it to the folder. For instance, if the perpetrator sent you letters via mail, provide those letters as evidence. The more things you have, the higher the chances of winning the case, so don’t leave out anything that seems relevant.

What Is the Punishment for Text Harassment?

When it comes to the consequences, the punishment for a text message abuser can vary from less than a year in jail (misdemeanor) to high-level felony charges. The latter option is common when the perpetrator violates a restraining order, or they have been charged with harassment or a domestic violence offense in the past. 

Depending on the state, high-felony charges are also possible if you’ve been harassed based on the following:

  • Race or color
  • National origin
  • Gender
  • Religion 
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation 

Rely on DoNotPay to Protect You From Text Harassment

If you can’t seem to put an end to harassing text messages, you can turn to DoNotPay to help you solve this problem. We understand that you want to stop texting harassment as soon as possible, so we’ve designed an efficient solution. Our app allows you to handle this issue in just a few simple steps. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Log in to your DoNotPay account in the web browser or your iOS device
  2. Head to Relationship Protection section
  3. When the chatbot presents you with several options, select Safety and Stalking
  4. Give the name of the perpetrator (if you know it)
  5. DoNotPay can generate a cease and desist letter to be sent to the aggressor, demanding an immediate stop of disturbing messages or any other harassing actions

The cease and desist letter is here to make the person harassing you stop doing so, but it can also be an important piece of evidence in court—it proves that you tried to solve the problem before taking it to court.

Should the person in question start stalking you on social media in addition to sending harassing text messages, we can assist in that situation as well. DoNotPay can directly communicate with the representatives of the social media platform, report the perpetrator, and ask for their account to be investigated. We can also talk to the representatives to block the abuser as well.

Let DoNotPay Help You in Other Problematic Situations

Our app can help you with any type of harassment. Whether you have a problem with harassing text messages or you don’t know how to stop a stalker, we’ve got you covered. But that’s not all—our app can help you in other problematic situations. We are here to save you from complicated bureaucracy and make sure you get the justice you deserve.

What do you need to do to get DoNotPay’s assistance? This one is simple—create your DoNotPay account and log in to it in the web browser or your iOS device. When you log in, you can choose from a wide range of services, including the following: