Collectors Leaves Messages – To Wrong Number

Past _due _imgWe came across a question to one of the many
consumer question boards that asked:  What kind of
scam is going on with these calls where they mention a name then
tell you to hang up if you are not this person? What do they do if
you don’t hang up but instead stay on the line for the whole
message?

Its not a scam, but a rather weak way that collection agencies
are trying to make themselves more efficient, by reducing costs and
increasing the amount of calls they make.  This phone call is
likely coming from an auto-dialer.  The auto dialers are known
for making far more contacts with consumers than the collectors
would make if they had to manually dial each debtor they
call.  More calls = more chances of money for them.

If the consumer doesn’t answer the phone, many of these
collectors go ahead and risk violating the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
by having that machine that
called leave a message.  So what happens if you stay on line
for the whole message?  Nothing except whoever did owe that
debt just had it improperly revealed to a third party in violation
of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  But if you don’t
know the person, it sure does nothing for you to know that they are
the owners of a right to a lawsuit against the collector. 

The best thing to do in that situation is to let the message
play out, and follow the options, if any, that allow you to speak
to a representative.  Tell that representative that they have
the wrong number, and whoever it is they are looking for cannot be
found at this number.  They may call yet again, and you
may have to remind them again.   However, if this gets
persistent, then the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does
provide you a remedy.  It is a
violation
of the FDCPA to continue to cause a phone to ring
with the
intent to harass
, and it is a violation of the FDCPA to engage
in any conduct, the natural consequence is to harass.  When a
consumer has provided warning to the collector that the number they
are calling is incorrect, and the collector persists on calling,
then one can conclude that the natural consequence of the continued
calls is to be harassing. 

In addition, if the calls are coming into a cell phone, the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
comes into play.  Under
that law, if the collector makes multiple calls to a cell phone
with an auto-dialer but without the express permission of the
consumer to use the cell phone.  Obviously, if the account
does not belong to the person receiving the robo-calls, then the
caller does not have express permission to call that
phone. 

When you’re being pursued by debt collectors, you have
rights, and we’re here to help.  SmithMarco, P.C. has been protecting
consumer rights since 2005.  If you are receiving calls
to your cell phone from an automated, or “Robo” dialer, CONTACT US for a free case review.