Collectors Calling the Wrong Number

by Buddy
(Tampa, Fl)

We get 10 to 15 call's per day for a lady that has never lived here and we don't know. What can we do?

Reply from

Please read our page: How to Handle Debt Collection For the Wrong Person

Comments for Collectors Calling the Wrong Number

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Feb 24, 2009
Collection calls for someone else
by: Gerri

I am getting a lot of complaints like these today, and I don't have an easy answer for you. In fact, this happened to my sister recently. She moved and the phone number she was assigned belonged to someone else. I researched her options and basically the advice was to change her number (which she did).

Another option would be to get a call screening service through your phone company.

I wish I had a better answer for you!

If you want to keep your number, make a note of who called and when, notify them that they have the wrong number, then complain to the Federal Trade Commission and your state attorney general's office. Send a copy of your complaint t to the collector (if you are able to get their contact information.)

Aug 08, 2009
wrong number calls
by: Anonymous

Seems like if a debt collector is calling the wrong number you just need to advise them "wrong number". They are trying to contact the debtor not a "wrong number". With cell phones & so many phones these days plus changing numbers all the time, advisement of "wrong number" is the best policy. Wrong numbers are dialed all the time!

Aug 11, 2009
wrong number collection calls
by: Gerri

It seems like it should be that simple...just tell them they have the wrong number. Unfortunately, it's not. I was just on Allan Handleman's radio show and a caller told how he has been battling these calls right and left...and he's had his phone number for three years!

Mar 18, 2010
Good Luck
by: Anonymous

I have received 3-5 automated debt collection calls per day for the last 4 years for the person who previously had my number. The first year I contacted each agency, as the phone number bounced to the next, and the next, and the next (approximately 50 agencies). Most of the time my calls back were received by hostile people stating the calls were valid, regardless of them having the wrong person/number. After a very nasty phone conversation, a few days would pass before the next agency began calling. I wish you luck!

Apr 26, 2010
debt collector rudeness!
by: Anonymous

I just had a debt collector tell me that I should change my number as this is the number they have for this woman and they will continue to call me till she calls them back! Rude, Rude, Rude!

May 27, 2010
Wrong number collection calls
by: John-A

I have had to resort to contacting my state's Attorney General. Once they contact the agency, the calls stop.....until the next office picks up my number and starts calling for a list of debtors that I do not know.

Jun 02, 2010
Play Games with them
by: Daniel

I just told them I'm the person they are looking for and before they go on, I'll tell them my last four digit SSN just to be sure they are talking to the right person. Mostly they'll find out they have the wrong person and apologize, then stop calling. (For a long time.)

This has worked very well for me. There's only one company that keeps on calling and I just told them I'm the guy they are looking for. Then after I find out how much the 'real guy' really owes, I told the collections that they have the wrong guy and I'm reporting to FTC for privacy violation. Now no one is calling me for almost 2 years.

Hope this helps!

Dec 03, 2010
Wrong Number
by: Leigh

If you are really tired of getting the calls and you don't want to change your number you can do what I did.

I got so sick of getting calls from ERC trying to collect from some guy named Eddie that I searched his name on zabasearch and found out that his phone number was the same as mine except for the area code.

I called the collector and told them I actually did their work for them and found this person. I demanded to be removed from their call list immediately. I recorded my call and I informed the rep that I was recording our conversation for use in my complaint to the FCC. (did this first)
This took all of 10 minutes but it was worth it to stop the calls I'd been getting for 6 years.

Feb 09, 2011
Robin whose phone number a decade ago ends in 1595
by: Not Robin Smith

Dear Robin,

Just wanted you to know I have been taking calls at your old phone number for the last decade. I would love for you to add a note to your credit report that you have not had my phone number since late 2000 and maybe the debt collectors can waste their time chasing you down through other means...

Apr 18, 2011
unwanted recorded calls on home and cell phone (which uses minutes)
by: meinohio

For several years now we have received a recorded message for an individual we have never heard of on our land line. We have tried various things to get it to stop to no avail. They want us to call certain numbers, provide reference number they give you on the recording.

The real aggravation is that my husband receives a recorded message on his cell phone constantly for someone we also never heard of and have no way to stop this.

Reply from

We recommend you talk with a consumer law attorney. Some have successfully sued debt collectors who persistently call for the wrong person. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection here.

Any ideas on what a person can do?

May 13, 2011
call the better business bureau
by: Anonymous

log every call you receive (and ask permission if needed to record the calls - check the laws in your state or consult an attorney)and any information you get from them - day/time, name, who they're looking for, in regard to?, etc. Tell them they have the wrong number. Then write a letter with all the pertinent info - send to the State Attorney Gen. of your state and CC to the AG of their state, and the Better Business Bureau and your phone company and anyone else you can think of. The BBB is probably the ONLY one that you will get any real response from, but the collection companies can't know this and will be put in the limelight. They HAVE to respond. YOu might even get any apology - I did. The Crooked collection co. later resold the debt, right along with my phone number, but it was much easier to get rid of the 2nd company. I finally had to change my phone number after I got unrelated calls from a 3rd co. looking for an unrelated individual. I'm still fielding calls for other people from the debt collection agencies. Time to research how to take legal action against them and am looking into how to join with other victims to make it even more cost effective to SUE the socks off these subhuman scum.

Aug 31, 2011
No Live Operator Problem
by: Anonymous

For four months now about twice a day I get calls from a debt collection company calling for women who have the similar first initial of my name and similar sounding last names to my last name: Debra Looey or Diane Lou. My first name does start with D but my last name is Lewis. I am a female. My initials where in the phone book under DLewis for 2 years then changed it to DLLewis a year ago.

This company keeps calling saying in auto mated voice and very quickly they are CMR or CMLR debt collection agency and they are calling for (NAME) if your are (NAME) please press 1 if not to press 5. Well I did the the 5 option for awhile and got nowhere. So, I tried the 1 option and got hold music for over 5 min and then they hung up on me. Never a live person. No phone number when I *69. Four months of this and its getting to be a real pain in the a**.

So, I called my phone company switched my name to a full name in the phone book and explained the phone company that I was being harrassed by this company.

They said they only way they could help is if I get a brand spanken new number and not give it out to no one but family and trusted friends. So, I am putting that thought on hold for a few weeks when I move into my new home. I guess I was hoping there would be another option till then.

Well now this damn company is now calling me back asking for a (name deleted). A MAN FOR GOD'S SAKE. AND IS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO MY NAME! Same company just rolling out names over and over again on my number 8am in the morning and then 3 or 4pm in the aftertoon. They wont leave messages on the answering machine.

4 years I had this number and nothing major on sales calls like this. I bought a new house and this is when it started. My first house and my credit report came back just fine, I got the house. And all hell as broke loose on my phone number. There are other strange calls going on besides this.

So, what do you do when there is no live person to tell them to take a flying leap and stop harassing you or a number to call back? A name of a company that they say to quickly and cant understand and they dont leave messages for you study from and try use as evidence?

Can someone help, is this happening to others- I am sure it is.

Reply from You are absolutely right this is happening to others. And there is no easy solution. The only other thing you can do is ask your phone company about all screening, which requires the caller to announce themselves before they are put through. Of course that costs you money.

PLEASE file a complaint with the FTC ( and the CFPB ( They need to create a solution.

Sep 28, 2011
by: Anonymous

It's a pain in the arse with these people, I told them they have the wrong number and they said "We were told this was a good number". Well guess what, I can give anyone a number from a book and tell them it is a good contact number. Lets try 867-xxxx.....sorry Jenny!!!!

Nov 06, 2011
by: Anonymous

I got lucky... all I had to do was change the generic answering message on my phone to one stating my last name, and all but one of the collection calls for my new number stopped. The one remaining was a robo-call that only came once a week, so it was easy to ignore.

Apparently, A.A. ***** owed a LOT of people.

Feb 21, 2012
American Express is Horrible
by: Anonymous

I recently got a new telephone number, and received numerous collection calls for the person who had it before me. Most of them stopped when I told them I was not the person they were looking for. But I still receive daily recorded calls from American Express- despite the fact that I have taken time out, called, been placed on hold, and informed them my number was not the correct number SEVEN TIMES.

Their customer service is terrible and the last time I asked to speak with a "manager" who sounded like he was about 21. Heck, I'm surprised I wasn't connected to India where they outsource their jobs. The "manager" didn't care nor did he offer any explaination as to why it would take me SEVEN ATTEMPTS to remove my number from their system.

I told him I don't even have an American Express card- and never will because of their poor practices. I also told him I hope the person they are looking for owes them several thousands of dollars and they never see a cent of it!!!!!

Apr 02, 2012
Collections calls for someone else
by: Anonymous

I am tired of getting collection calls for people who don't live in my home, or people I don't know. I got home from work one day, and had a message on my phone from a collection agency on someone I didn't know. I called the agency back, and I let them have it and they hung up on me. So I did the only thing there was to do I called the agency back and they told me to stop harrassing THEM! I told them that they started the harrassment and that they were going to hear what I had to say, "The person you trying to reach doesn't live here and you need to stop harrassing me in my home! JERKS!

May 04, 2012
we think my pain may be outsourced from india
by: adam

some man with a very thick accent has been calling me off and on for months looking for some woman. he refuses to believe this is a wrong number and has called me a liar. when asked for the name of his company his accent gets very thick i assume that is on purpose. he has given a bogus phone number to call back, when i asked to speak to a supervisor he says it's me. i have done everything to convince this person to no avail. i'm not going to change my number. i have asked friends to listen to see if they can understand him better nobody can, we think this may be outsourced to india. ahhhhhhh!! hope he chokes on his curry

Reply from

This is very likely one of the overseas debt collection scammers. You may want to read our page about overseas debt collection scam calls.

May 11, 2012
Due Diligence Research?
by: Anonymous

Is there no requirement that collection agencies do any kind of research before calling a number to collect debts? I get calls nearly every night for people that have never had my phone number and do not have a name even close to mine! There ought to be some sort of standard for due diligence research, but I'm sure it's cheaper to make a gazillion calls hoping to find someone that to actually investigate.

Reply from

We agree! We really encourage you to share your experience with the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Both of those agencies are looking into the problem of robocalls. They need to hear from consumers!

Jun 07, 2012
10 to 20 calls a day I've had it
by: Anonymous

Just because my name is A J only anyone thats name start with A they call me. Starting at 8:oo in the morning till 9 at night, some I have asked to take me off their list and they promise they will HA HA never do. Its Allen, Arlene, Amber
etc. I even unplugged my phone for 2 weeks within 5 min. after I plugged it back in here we go again. I pay 20.00 a month for messages for everyone else. I might get 1 call for me once a month. I am elderly and so sick of this. MY next step cancel my phone service.

Dec 02, 2013
Sometimes it's the phone company's agency!
by: Anonymous

I was harassed several times a day for four years by a Florida Agency beginning immediately after I moved into my home and received a number from ATT.
Telling them they had the wrong person did not stop them. I discovered via internet that they were an ATT agency perusing the ATT debtor who previously had my number. ATT gives numbers to their debt collectors and then assigns same numbers to new customer!! I no longer use ATT!

Reply from

Ugh! First of all they may be breaking the law so it wouldn't hurt for you to consult a consumer law attorney. If that doesn't work at least file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Aug 14, 2014
It's Fun!
by: Anonymous

I pretend that it's the right number and play with them.

I like it!

Sep 24, 2015
Annoying as all heck
by: Anonymous

I keep getting a call from 509-822-6056 asking for a Nicole from Inland Transports. I have told them 8 times, this is my house no Nicole and no company. They simply call again and again. Nothing I do works to stop them.

Reply from

As we mentioned in our article you may want to talk with a consumer law attorney as this may be a violation of federal law. If that doesn't turn out to be a good option, you can always try filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Oct 29, 2015
Calls never stop
by: Grommit

It is true that you can politely inform a collections agency that they have the wrong number. And that agency will stop calling.

BUT, the calls NEVER stop, because the first agency sells your record to a second agency.
And, bingo, the calls start again.

How do I know? I have been getting calls for the same person for over 15 years. The initial agency transposed two digits in the debtor's phone number.

Reply from

You're right it can be impossible to get your number off these debts when they are sold. (Though eventually you'd figure they would give up on a debt that old!) Be sure to at least file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which is looking at reforming debt collection practices.

Dec 17, 2015
calls for someone i dont know
by: Anonymous

the calls im getting have nothing to do with debit collection it has to do with them looking for this guy named brent armtrong they always say were looking for this person he has a civil warrant on him an needs to contact us an like every time I say this number was gave to me when I got the phone and I do not know this person you are looking foe this happens at lease 6 to 8 times a day im so tired of it I have even told them take my number off your file an they always say ok but then its the same people keep calling I just don't know how to make it stop!

Reply from

At the top of the page we link to a new page we have written about this topic: debt collection for the wrong person. We hope you find that helpful!

Sep 15, 2016
I'm so sick of this
by: Anonymous

I have had my phone number for four years now. I've been getting collection calls fo Christopher Russell ever since. I have informed them every time that I'm not him, in fact I'm a female. I thought the calls had stopped but early this morning I received another call for him.. I went through the questions 1 for yes 2 for no etc. but after reading through all the other complaints on this site, I'm not very hopeful they will stop.

Mar 26, 2018
For the EX
by: Anonymous

I kept getting debt collectors calling for my husbands ex-wife and her sisters. Gave them her dads number and this seemed to stop most of the calls.

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