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Ways that Collections Companies Track People Down

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  • Ways that Collections Companies Track People Down

    I have a very good credit history, so I (thankfully) have no idea how collections companies operate. Glad to say I'm clueless about them.

    My boyfriend and I have lived together since about 2000, and our phone bill is in his name. Before that, he shared a house with a number of roommates over a period of about 8 years. In that house, the phone was in his name all that time, no matter who lived there at any given time. The phone number we have now is in a different town, and is a different number from when he lived with the roommates.

    Recently, we have gotten several calls at our house asking for two different guys, by name, who had been the boyfriend's roommates years ago. The one guy is still a friend who we see a few times a year, but the other guy, I've never met and the boyfriend hasn't seen him in years.

    The one call sounded casual at first: "Hey is Bob there?" I said "Who?" and she said "Bob Smith?" I said, "No, you have the wrong number" and she said "Well, do you know him?" That's weird, who would just call a random number, learn that it's a wrong number, and then ask if they know the person anyway? But I said No, I don't know anyone by that name. She then admitted that she was a collections agent. The other calls sounded more businesslike, and identified themselves as some sort of debt collection service right up front.

    I'm wondering how these companies got our phone number, and decided to ask for these people at our phone number? When I asked, they said "It's probably just a mistake in our records."

    At first we thought that the ex-roommates might have given a creditor our number, but the one guy doesn't even know our number. I don't even know if the two guys even know each other.

    Is it possible that the collectors somehow looked up an old phone number these guys might have used in the past, somehow saw my boyfriend's name on the phone account, and then looked up my boyfriend's current number, all with the remote hope that the guy they are looking for might still live with my boyfriend? Is that how they operate? It just seems like a whole lot of detective work to go through with almost no chance that it will pan out.

    Anyway, now I just got a voice mail message from a collection company on my cell phone! This is also under the phone account that's in my boyfriend's name. I know the call is not for me: My only debt is the mortgage and a small amount left on my student loan, and those are paid up to date. Plus, I just ran my credit report last month and all was fine.

    Anyone else ever heard of this? Any idea what to do?

  • #2
    Here's one such way:

    http://www.zabasearch.com/
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

    Comment


    • #3
      There are free search engines/search websites for individuals on the internet & most if you pay them, they will furnish you with all kinds of additional information on the person/individual if they have a record on them.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

      Comment


      • #4
        So does it sound like that's how these people got our number?

        I'm wondering how many times I can tell them so-and-so doesn't live here before they'll stop calling!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TSCompliance View Post
          So does it sound like that's how these people got our number?

          I'm wondering how many times I can tell them so-and-so doesn't live here before they'll stop calling!
          That would be my guess also on how they got the number. They'll do a lot of shooting in the dark hoping for a hit.

          I recommend that you ask them to identify themselves and their company and write the info down if they give it to you. Whether they do or not, tell them never to call your phone number again. If they continue, contact your telephone service provider and file a complaint. Most likely they are calling from outside your state to make enforcement of harassment laws more difficult. Give them NO information of any kind. That will simply convince them that you have more info that you are not giving them.
          Last edited by Scott67; 04-02-2010, 01:20 PM.
          Please post questions on the forum rather than sending me a private message or email. That way others who have similar issues have access to the discussion.

          Comment


          • #6
            Unfortunately, my brother is going through bankruptcy (he lives in florida) and the collections agencies have been calling my parents ( they live in oregon) asking for my brother or his wife. They lived with us 20 years ago for 2 years. my parents had to finally call my brothers attorney to get them to stop calling them. They also stopped answering the phone if they didn't recognize the answer.

            I am guessing you are correct on how they got your phone number. These collection agencies are tricky.
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            We must first look at ourselves, before we look at others

            Comment


            • #7
              Do as Scott said & tell them to call you no more & if they do, file a complaint with the phone co. If you can get their info (ie co. etc.), you can send them a cease & desist letter (certified mail, return receipt requested) telling them not to contact you any more.
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

              Comment


              • #8
                This may contain some valuable information:

                http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/cons...edit/cre27.pdf

                I would also say to file complaints with the FTC:

                http://www.ftc.gov
                Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

                I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This past Friday my CFO was on a day off. A collection agency on a business debt (which we are disputing) tracked down his unlisted number and called him at home.

                  He lives in a different city than the corporation and is not a partner. He was very unhappy and gave the rude collection person a piece of his mind before telling the guy to email him at work with the details (and never call his home again).

                  On a personal note, my niece (hubby's side) gave his information as next of kin not living with her when she got student loans. When she became deliquent we started to get phone calls and letters trying to reach her. We were not happy about it. They had her correct information but she wasn't responding so they tried us. We kept telling them to stop as we had nothing to do with the problem.

                  Thankfully we have caller ID and tell our daughters not to answer if it is an unfamiliar number.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The people who had our number before us (6 years ago) are apparently the target of bill collectors. We get lots of calls for that family.

                    In addition, my DH's ex went was also being sought and collecttors keep calling our number. The fact that he and his ex divorced in 1992, had no joint property/debts and he had no knowledge of her debts etc didnt matter to them.

                    They are a PITA to say the least.
                    I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
                    Thomas Jefferson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Morgana View Post
                      They are a PITA to say the least.
                      That they are!
                      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So it looks like I'm certainly not alone in being bothered by collectors looking for someone else.

                        It also makes me wonder, how successful these telephone contacts actually are in the collection of an unpaid debt. Does all this repeated and sometimes random calling actually pay off? You'd think if it were an unsuccessful approach, they'd give it up for something else that actually works.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          From what I have read, it works enough times for them to continue doing it.
                          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TSCompliance View Post
                            It also makes me wonder, how successful these telephone contacts actually are in the collection of an unpaid debt. Does all this repeated and sometimes random calling actually pay off? You'd think if it were an unsuccessful approach, they'd give it up for something else that actually works.
                            Labor is cheap for them; minimum wage or less. Sweatshop conditions, making one phone call after another, computer-dialed. Low percentage of success requires huge volume of calls. There's no real concern whether they hit the right person or not, or even whether the initial debt was valid. Anyone who gives them information (entered into their database so it isn't lost when the caller finds a real job and leaves) or agrees to pay anything, becomes a target for future calls.

                            As far as something else that actually works - this is the approach for those cases where all of the other approaches have already failed.
                            Please post questions on the forum rather than sending me a private message or email. That way others who have similar issues have access to the discussion.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sounds like the same reason telemarketing still exists. I don't know anyone who has ever actually purchased anything from a telemarketer, but there must be a few people out there who have. And that small number of idiots keeps telemarketing alive.

                              Comment

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