I just received, probably, the most bizarre phone call ever. And, I get tons of wrong numbers both on the cell phone and home phone, including someone calling collect several times in the middle of the night from a prison in New Orleans asking for someone named "Shorty."
Anyway, this wasn't technically a wrong number because the lady asked for me by my full name, which is very unique and not a common name whatsoever. After I say that's me, she asks me if I know someone by the name of XX (my neighbor's name). When I said yes, she tells me XX had put me down as a reference some time ago. This lady said she was trying to get a hold of XX to give her documentation regarding charges filed against her. I asked her what this was regarding because I was confused by what she was asking. She repeated again that she was trying to get documentation to XX regarding charges filed against her and asked if I knew how to get a hold of XX. I said no. The lady got kind of ticked and said, so you wouldn't be able to talk to her? I said no. She then said she'd tell XX that her friend wouldn't help her out and quickly hung up. Huh? I thought she didn't know how to get a hold of XX??
The truly bizarre aspect of this is that this caller called my cell phone, which is a fairly new number to me. And, she used my real name. I never gave my neighbor my new cell phone # and, I'm quite certain that my neighbor doesn't know my real name, much less used it when writing my name down as a reference for something. No one calls me by my real name. No one. I only use it for financial, legal, medical paperwork, etc.
It's just bizarre.
Sounds like someone wanted to serve papers to your neighbor and was having trouble and wanted you to help/give info of their whereabouts. They probably found you through the internet somehow. PIs have access to lots of information.
HA - At first I thought you had gotten the message from Shorty in prison and I was thinking ****, was that a threat?
I never answer phone calls unless I know who it's from. People I want to contact me have my cell number and their ID comes up. If it's just a number, I don't answer and wait for it to go to voice mail. Even if I know someone, there are often times when I don't want to speak to someone anyway.
My landline has been relegated to god knows what as I never pick it up and my answering machine won't take messages on it (deliberately). I keep it in the event there is a catastrophe and there is no cell service.
Well, the main reason I answer my phone is if it is my children's school calling. It doesn't always come through as the school name and sometimes it's just the number. Plus, I've also received a call from a different state and I know that it isn't for me. But, until I actually answered and told them to stop calling, they just kept calling. My name on my voicemail doesn't even resemble the person's name they were trying to call. So, I answer sometimes just to put a kibosh to the phone calls (or, at least try).
My husband did some research and he figures it is most likely a debt collector and they try these tactics with people to try to embarrass the person they are looking for. Several things just don't add up, though. It's just weird.
About a month or two ago, I got several calls on my home phone from someone looking for the previous owners of my house. I told them over and over that I didn't know these people, that I had no idea where they are. The only thing I knew about them were their names because we bought their house. They put up a house for sale. We bought it. That's the extent of our association. They kept calling and I finally got fed up and told them to remove our number from their system. I haven't received another call from them.....yet.
I've decided, though, if I get another call like today, I'm going to tell the caller that they must be looking for a different person from the person I know because I never gave this person my cell phone #. And, I'll tell them to remove my number from their list or I will contact the attorney general.
Years ago I remember a friend used to get calls about her next door neighbor all the time. She didn't know the neighbors well as they weren't very friendly. It turns out that it must have been collections call because their car was repo'd soon after and their house was in foreclosure soon after as well. If they call again, either don't answer or tell them to stop calling you. If they do, I would contact the police.
ETA - I get about 5 or 6 calls a day from various numbers that I never answer. They never leave messages, so it can't be important.
Yes, I got this type of call years ago about our neighbor who was a 'contractor' for new expensive , shoddily built homes. He didn't pay his carpenters or anyone else that did work for him, so they called us or came to our door. One time when DD2 was about 8, one of his workers came to the door wanting to know of his whereabouts because he hadn't been paid. DD2 told this man that the whole family went to Disney! So honest at that age Not too happy. The utility company would call us, the sheriff came to the door with an envelope in his hand. At one point there was a vacant home next to them that was for sale, and I saw a couple of cops or.. go in and wait for him to come home. They literally left in the middle of the night. Yeah, they're probably having severe financial difficulties.
I had somebody, think an attorney or rep, at my house one time when a neighbor's dog bit somebody who was walking up to their door.... dog was in the garage and a pit bull that the person couldn't see until too late. They were wanting to know if I had seen anything or had a problem with the neighbors.... I was terrified of the dog, but didn't want to get involved as it is a neighbor that you have to live with. They got rid of the dog and finally moved..... I, too, don't answer calls from numbers that I don't recognize often... I have also gotten collect calls from the Northern Neck Regional Jail (I smartly declined the call).... maybe Shorty's friend
My boss kept getting collect calls from a state prison on his business cell phone. He kept declining of course, till he got sick of it and accepted, went through all the prompts and finally got a live one on the phone.
Turns out it was some shady cruise company telling him he won a free cruise . Needless to say my boss was not impressed, put the guy on speaker phone for our enjoyment, and proceeded to chew him out. The guy actually had the nerve to say that if only my boss would let him explain himself, he would understand.
My boss told him there is no way on earth you can explain giving away free cruises through collect calls from a prison.
I get calls for one of my neighbors that has problems paying her bills. The first time this happened, the caller asked for my neighbor, which confused me, and I said I was not that person but I knew her. Big mistake. This was obviously a trick. Then they started calling all the time. So now if anyone calls asking for someone I know, I just say I don't know them. Ironically I got one of these calls just last week!
I would also assume it was a debt collector.
There are reverse look up directories available by address. It was most likely a collection call and they are just trying to get some info on your neighbor. I used to (in my much younger days) do skip tracing for a bank collection department and that seems like the type of call I made a lot. Now, it was in pre-cell phone days (or at least early cell phone days) so I don't know what is available for looking up cell phone numbers, but I am sure that collection agents have access to it.
Originally Posted by zwieback
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I agree with the other posters who have touched on the possibility of it being a debt collector - a real bottom of the barrel kind of one.
Over the last two years I've gotten approximately 4 phone calls from debt collectors who call and ask for my sister, who lives in Virginia. I moved from there to NC in 2003, and changed my name in 2004 after I married. I'm not sure how they've been able to link me to her in 2012, but they have. I believe they use information from credit reports. They act like it's a "mistake" that they've called me, but I've researched this and found that they will call relatives and neighbors of people they're trying to collect from in an effort to get word to them, embarrass them and they pay their debt. I was especially worried when this happened the first few times because this same sister stole my personal information in 2002 and paid bills (identity theft), so I was worried she had used my information again to obtain credit and then default on it, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Zwieback - they probably knew your legal name from property records, which is how they determined who lived near, and were probably also able to use your legal name to access information from your credit report - i.e., cell phone number.
Quite scary, isn't it? If it's not illegal, it should be.
I did do a Google search of the number. It is a local number, but shows up in those "I got a call from such and such a number" site. I also did a reverse look-up on anywho.com (not spam, not promoting this site ), but it didn't have any information on the number.
I'm sure it was a debt collector. That's the only thing that would make sense. The only things I can't figure out are:
1) How this caller got my cell phone number (cell plan is under my husband's name).
2) Caller could get my real name from the county assessor's site, but my neighbor's name on the site is different than the name they are looking for (just last name, presuming she's using maiden name), so how would they associate me with the neighbor?
3) If the caller/debt agency did figure out that we are neighbors, why not just send a certified letter or send a process server or whatever?? I never told the caller that XX was my neighbor, just acknowledged that I knew her. Hindsight, I shouldn't have even done that. Oh well.
I just wish I had thought faster on my feet at the time to call out this caller. I'm so curious to know how she would have reacted if I said that XX would not know my real name, nor does she have the phone number that was called.
Nothing is private any more. I've seen websites that list name and address of all neighbors around, and what everyone paid for their house. Where we live, I can look up anyone in the county and find their mortgage information, without registering or submitting my info. It's ridiculous what is out there for all too see.
They probably did a real property search -- easy to look at the street or for numbers next to the address they are targeting. That would have given the formal name you don't generally use. With those and other search indexes and the internet, they can put a lot together. I would also assume it is debt collection or someone with a legal squabble of some sort.
When we first got our phone number, it didn't take long to find out the name of the previous holder of that phone number -- or their last address and the fact that the house had sold (may have been a foreclosure) and they were long gone. We did a little checking just because we were curious after several calls. Even pizza delivery had their name when we gave our phone number. Went on for years, until we found out they guy was a pilot and the FAA was trying to locate him. That was the last call we ever got about them. Kind of makes you wonder what happened, but mostly makes me glad I've never had to live ducking and running.
Originally Posted by zwieback
Have your recently used that number on ANY paperwork? Credit Applications? Medical Office Paperwork? I may be wrong, but I believe agencies routinely enter what information they have on you when they are dealing with your credit.
I'm thinking they know the neighbors name and address, and all they did was go to whatever website and see who else lives on that street.
Also, as for sending her paperwork through the main, debt collectors will make threats they have no intention of following through with just to try and scare people into paying. So, when they say they have documentation on charges filed, they're probably lying (side note, they're probably also lying about her putting you down as a reference - that's simply the reason they're giving you to try and justify why they called you). It sounds serious and scary enough for you to say something to the neighbor though, and then the neighbor will be embarrassed that you think she's having legal/criminal issues and may pay up to prevent further calls like this.
I have received a few calls like this. If it doesn't pertain to me or my family, I just say "I'm not interested" and hang up. I don't have the time to ferret out if it's scam, spam, or whatever, so I don't give those calls any of my time.
Originally Posted by zwieback
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