I recently changed phone numbers when I got a Google Android phone. The last owner of my number was a guy with several bill collectors on his ass. I just got an intimidating robocall from one of his debt collectors, which left the following message:

This message is for [name removed]. You've been named as a person of interest in an important matter. You need to contact this office immediately or decisions will be made without your knowledge. Press 1 or call 888-772-4172, extension 1.

I hate it when decisions are made without my knowledge.

The call came from CCF Inc., according to 800 Notes, a site where users discuss harassing calls they've received from unknown numbers.

If you're being hassled by a debt collector, there are steps you can take to limit their calls. Under the Fair Debt Collection Act, if you notify them in writing never to contact you they are legally required to stop. They also cannot call you from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. and cannot call you at work after you inform them this is not allowed.

-- Rogers Cadenhead

Comments

The previous owner may not have been the debtor. Collection agencies call a web of potential contacts and family of the debtor to try to put social pressure on the debtor to take care of things. The idea is to create a cascade of friends and contacts calling the debtor asking, What gives?, embarassing the debtor.

Some more tips.

In most states you can make the request on the phone when they call you, in addition to in writing, or you can call the number given and do it. To make it stick:

(1) Ask for the name of the person calling.

(2) Ask for the last name. Initially they'll only give you a first name (probably fake). In response to the last name request, they'll act aggrieved and ask if [debtor's first name] is there. Ask again for the last name without responding to this question. They may not respond, so move on ...

(3) Ask if they are calling on behalf of a company, and what the company's name is.

(4) While you're doing the above, if you have a caller ID number, Google it. If you get a hit, ask if they are from [name of company you got from Google]? They may not respond--it doesn't matter. If you don't have a caller ID number, mention that, and ask for a call back number, then ask them to hold on if they give it and immediately Google that. Note that collection agencies and skip tracers often use disposable cell phones these days. Sometimes you can figure things out from the area code, since many big agencies are located in weird, low cost of living middle of nowhere states.

(5) Finally, summarize and say to the caller, "{first name], and you won't give me your last name or company, but it looks like you work for [company], don't call me again, and let your company know that I don't want anyone else working on their behalf to call me. Do you understand?"

At no point respond to or acknowledge anything they ask. This requires the ability to behave in a socially awkward manner that many find hard to do. But you need to ignore questions, not be uncomfortable with silence and dead air, and the like. The callers are trained to elicit social discomfort in order to get you to supply them with information. And don't get upset, or at least sound upset. Just go through your checklist.

A final tip: You might want to lie and tell the caller that you already requested that they not call (say, to "Kenny" or some fake name). Sometimes this panicks them if they think they screwed up and ignored a previous no-contact request, which might get them in trouble.


 

Too many times people will respond back to these calls with hostility which only makes the matter worse. I live in Atlanta and we have a great radio show hosted by Clark Howard a consumer advocate. He gives great information on credit collection agencies and says the best thing to do is exactly what you said. Send in a written letter stating that you do not want them to call again, but be sure to show proof of this letter.


 

My voicemail box was filled with messages from a guy with CRA asking to call back urgently: "It is very important that you or whoever currently represents you to call this office immediently today. The offices of CRA. My toll free number is 877-394-0395." I have been bugged with calls from different numbers for weeks, until I out of the blue found a way to block them and forget about them. If you have a BlackBerry phone and have a lot of annoying callers, I recommend Call Control app www.everycall.us
The first problem I have with this is caller had my first name correct but the last name is completely wrong. I have never been married and never gone by any other aliases.
The second problem is he called on my cell phone. This pretty much narrows down where he got his information or at least my information from originally.
I had applied online a few months ago for an online payday. Well how this works is you apply through a broker by filling out the application and the broker cross references your information with thousands of lenders until they find one that approves you. There are also lenders that you can apply to directly. Nonetheless, I applied, was approved, and have since paid the loan off, case closed right? WRONG. Well from what I can piece together, somewhere in that application process my information was stolen and sold to various vendors. My reasoning for this is because after I applied for the loan I began to get calls on my cell phone and work number for another obvious [problem] group but they were foreign. Now suddenly I get these calls. At least I can block them now but I am outrageous.


 

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