This post is about what I wish I could say...
To the lady that reported we had a wrong number 367 days after we started calling...
DC: Do you really want us to stop calling? Really, really want us to stop calling?That was a day dream response to a particularly rude person that put up with calls for an entire year before flipping their lid ... and flip their lid they did.
Lady: That's a stupid question.
DC: I just thought that 250 calls would make such a nice round number ... and, wow, it looks like hit that mark on Friday.
In reality I said: "I apologize for the trouble and the calls will end."
After all, the debt collection agency that I work for pays my bills and I need the job during these times of economic woe so I won't end up on the receiving end of debt collection calls.
If you're getting harassing debt collection calls that don't belong to you, you have to remember the chances are very good that it is computer leaving the message and a human being won't set eyes on the electronic file until you take a step to report the error.
Here are a few answers/comments to some of the questions in this blog post: Annoying Debt Collector Calls Unwarranted.
Does someone who used to have this phone number now owe money?
In most cases, this is the reason you're getting a wrong number call. We typically start calls with the phone number that the debtor provided on their credit application ... even if that application was submitted to a bank in 1979. The older the debt, the probability that we have the wrong number closes in on 100%.
And yes, debt can be very old...
Contrary to the wishes of debtors in debt haven states, debt doesn't disappear just because you can't be sued. Consider that in 2008 Prince Charles paid off a clothing company his family had owed for 350 years. (Have no fear, I think it is safe to assume that your great-17-times-grand children will not have to cover your personal credit card debt in the year 2433 ... they will however, should the United States of America still exit, still be paying taxes to cover the interest on loans created by the economic stimulus programs that both the Bush and Obama Administrations have saddled them with.)
How did this debt collector get our phone numbers?
Contrary to popular belief, we don't waste time calling random numbers. We buy data from a company that keeps track by the social security number provided by the debtor on credit applications. Are there data entry errors? Yes, but it isn't the reason most wrong number calls happen.
When my company has employees manually skip trace, we always use the data on file as a starting place. Are there skip tracing mistakes? Absolutely, but again it isn't the main reason there are wrong number calls.
And yes ... there are stupid debt collectors that waste their time needlessly calling all the Joe Smith's in LA ... don't you work with a few imbeciles too?
Are there actual debtors out there giving false information?
Virtually all data attached to these files is provided by the debtor.
Sadly, people that have common names and/or are listed by an initial in the phone book, probably have the most trouble with debtors that give our false information.
Even worse, some people provide fraudulent information without pause. But, thankfully, that isn't common enough to completely destroy our economy.
By the way, if you know the debtor ... what you've got is a friend or relative that is honest, but doesn't want the calls. If you give out their new number, even once, they'll never use you as a message contact again!
That blog post also mention that one person "did some research and found over a hundred sites dedicated to XXX being a scam agency, with tons of complaints filed against them for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act."
You have to know when you start searching online for information written by people that are disgruntled, that you're not going to get an accurate picture.
The truth is that scam outfits are just like fradulent debtors. They hide. They lie. They cheat. They use false information to mislead. There won't be information about court cases they lost because the authorities can't find them either. (This is one of the reasons Glenn Beck is so concerned about ACORN.)
Legitimate debt collection agencies make up a multi-billion dollar industry and will fire any bad apples that would endanger their profit margin. If a company has been around for years at the same address with the same number ... chances are you're dealing with a legitimate business. If you can find record of court cases that they lost ... chances are still good that you're dealing with a legitimate business that had some bad apples employed.
If you have concerns about the legitimacy of a letter or calls check out:
Federal Trade Commission