When collection agencies call, they don’t tell you who they are. Sometimes they use several different numbers and/or agents. A reverse phone lookup will help you find out who’s calling, so you can decide whether to press charges or not.
I used to receive recorded calls that said, “This call is for Latoya Noya Horn. If you are not Latoya Noya Horn, please hang up. If you are Latoya Noya Horn, please press 1.” The caller always had a nasal voice. Of course, I had no clue who Ms. Horn was and the calls were really annoying. One day I dialed 1 just to talk to someone, which brings me to the first action.
You’ll need to try to get rid of them yourself first. (This applies only to collection agencies who are calling someone else using your number. If you really owe money and it’s you they’re calling, don’t try this.)
- Start writing down every time they call. Write down their number, the date and time they call, and who they say they are.
- Find a way to talk to someone. Write down that person’s name and everything they say.
- Tell them you don’t know who the person is they’re calling for. Write down their response.
- Ask them to take your number off their calling list. Write down their response.
If they keep calling anyway, or someone else calls asking for the same person, you probably have a harassment case. One of the first things a lawyer will ask is, “What number/s are they calling from? Who do they say they are? How often do they call and what do they say?” Here’s where your information comes in handy, so make sure you’re keeping accurate records.
- Find a lawyer that specializes in suing collection agencies or robocalls (unsolicited recorded messages) for harassment. Best is to look online in your area or ask friends if they know someone.
- Do a reverse phone lookup on the numbers you think come from the collection agency. ReverseCellNumber.com has a vast database that can help you find out if all these calls are related. (Collection agencies often register several phone numbers in their name and assign them to their agents.)
- Contact the lawyer. Give them a summary of what’s been happening and for how long.
- If they agree to take the case, send them all the information you have. They will contact the agency with a cease and desist letter.
- Often the agency will ignore the letter and continue to call, so keep your records handy. Keep taking notes of any additional calls.
- Save any messages the collection agency leaves, if they do, so you can play them back to the lawyer.
If it goes this far (which it did in my case) you definitely have a harassment case. The lawyer will follow through, eventually taking them to court. Whatever money they sue for, the lawyer will take their costs out and give you the rest to repay you for the inconvenience caused.