You are at home alone and the phone rings.

The person asks for someone who is not a member of your household. You say, “I’m sorry but you have a wrong number.” Rather than hang up, the caller engages you in conversation saying, “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, perhaps I have the wrong name, I’m sure the number is correct. What is your last name?” You tell him. He then says, “Maybe that was it. What are your father and mother’s first names and are they home?”

Discuss: How should you respond?

Rather than engage in a conversation with a stranger, just reply, “I think you have the wrong number” and hang up.

The reason for this response is to not give out any information that might let someone know that your parents are not at home and that you are alone. Just tell strangers that your parents can’t come to the phone right then. Then hang up immediately before the person can try to get more information out of you.

Discuss: What if the person just asks, “Hi, is your mom or dad home?”

You could respond: “They’re busy at the moment but you can call back later.” If the person continues to pry for information saying “Oh, what are they doing?” you could say taking a nap, working in the basement, fixing something, or even “I don’t talk to strangers, goodbye” and then hang up. If you get a phone call that disturbs you, always let an adult know right away.

About the author : Oak Norton

Father of 5 children, husband to 1 amazingly patient woman, entrepreneur, and education advocate.

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