An obscene phone call is an unsolicited telephone call where a person derives sexual pleasure by using sexual or foul language to an unknown person. Making obscene telephone calls for sexual pleasure is known as telephone scatologia and is considered a form of exhibitionism. It is usually classed as a paraphilia from a medical viewpoint, in the DSM under the heading "Paraphilias Not Otherwise Specified", although from the viewpoint of the recipient of the calls, it is generally considered to be both a form of sexual harassment and a form of stalking. In some US states, making obscene telephone calls is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
Generally, unwilling recipients of obscene phone calls are advised to simply hang up on obscene callers, and to report the incident to the telephone company and/or the police. Even when Caller ID is not shown, calls are logged by the telephone company, so the perpetrator's phone number can be discovered. However, many people who regularly engage in obscene phone calls use payphones or prepaid cell phones, and in these cases, a more extensive investigation is necessary.
- Dalby, J. T. (1988). "Is telephone scatologia a variant of exhibitionism?". International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 32: 45–49. doi:10.1177/0306624X8803200106.