I got a message today on my cell phone from a collection agency; haven't received anything in the mail. I'm 99% sure the debt is not mine. My CR is clean and I'm pretty certain all my old collections were paid off, and, if not, they should be at least 10+ years old (so past the reporting period). I have a pretty common name, so I think I'm getting a call for someone elses debt. Should I just ignore these calls and block the number or is there something else I should do?
if they keep calling i would google the number and find what CA it is. I would then send them a cease and desist letter
Doesnt appear on any report (keep an eye on them just in case), not your name/info/debt = safe to ignore. I often get calls from collection agencies, usually asking for previous cell/tel owner. I just tell them that this is a new line and they don't call anymore, sometimes I need to tell them several times as they are rather stubborn. A line/number may be 2-3 years old and still get calls from a collection agency from previous number if the person didn't bother to update their info (or perhaps didn't want to update).
Your situation is exactly the purpose behind the DV process.... requiring a debt collector to cease collection on an asserted debt until they have at least determined and verified back to the consumer that a reasonable investigation on their part confirms that the contacted consumer is in fact the party who owes the debt.
Sending a DV is more comprehensive than sending a simple cease communication letter, as in addition to barring communications with you, it also bars any form of collection on their part, including credit reporting, until such time as they have obtained and provided verification of the debt.
So I think I'm going to call them and see what this is all about. I'm wondering what info I should or shouldn't provide. Since I haven't seen anything in the mail or my CR, I'm wondering if I provide them info, if they'll use it to attribute it as my debt and put it on my CR. As I said above, I'm pretty certain it's not my debt, so I'm not worried there but I would like to avoid the hassle of trying to get something cleared off my CR if I could have just not called and avoided it originally. If I ask them who the creditor is, will they tell me? If it's not one i know, will they take my word that it's not mine? Right now I think I'm only going to provide my name and number since I know they know both of these. If they are uncooperative, I change my tact to ignoring them.
I would call them, but not for the purpose of helping them identify you or an asserted debt.... just the opposite.
They called you. I would, if the identify themselves as calling regarding a debt, simply ask for as much info as they have about an asserted debt of yours, offer nothing, and end the call.
That will also clearly establish an initial communication with the consumer, triggering their 5 day period to send dunning notice, which must identify the alleged creditor and amount of the debt.
I would not simply ignore any situation where a creditor might be asserting an unpaid debt.
+1 I've notice people getting too jumpy with the cease and desist letters. These are last resort measures, not something you swing at with the first pitch. Use the DV method, not only does it stop the calls, it puts the collection in limbo until verified. If it does turn out to be a validated debt, you've shot yourself in the foot and send them a big card saying "SUE ME". Send the DV first, investigate what it is.
I've had a few calls regarding persons not me, usually I say "there's no such person here and never has been, I've had this number 2 years..." That ends the conversation, or they ask are the last four of your social 1234, I say no, and it's ended. Sometimes it's easiest to call back or answer a call. I do keep a log of the number on caller ID, company info, etc.
The FDCPA makes clear distinction between two types of calls from a debt collector.
The first type of call is one that is directed at the party who is asserted to actually owe the debt. Such calls identify an alleged debt. They may speak with your spouse, who is treated under the FDCPA the same as the consumer alleged to owe the debt. Any initial call of this type triggers the debt collector's requirement to send dunning notice within 5 days thereafter.
The second type of call is to a third party who is not the one alleged to owe the debt. Such calls are strictly limited to attempting to obtain location information about a consumer, and may not disclose that they assert the party owes any debt. They are generally limited to one call, and cannot be barred by a cease communication letter from the debtor, but do fall under a cease collection bar if the consumer has sent a timely DV.
If they call and identify an alleged debt, and dont allege you to be that party, that is a violation of the FDCPA.