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Need Suggestions to Stop Harassment Looking for Family Member(s)

IngridN

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Help! My brother in NY is getting harassed by collection agencies, lawyers, etc. looking for a family member. It's getting worse...they are calling constantly, sending letters and even showing up at their front door. They are also calling their neighbors and tenants :( . My brother and his wife have told these callers that they have no contact with this family member (the truth), and to leave them alone. The family member lives in Calif no less! I'm guessing that at some point, this family member used my brother's address.

Surprisingly, I haven't been harassed. I use my maiden name as my middle name and still have credit cards in my maiden name, so am easy to find. I guess I should count my blessings...our family name is very unusual and unless there are some births I'm unaware of, there are less than 20 of us in the USA.

I understand that there are ways to minimize the harassement when you are the deadbeat, but is there anything my brother can do? TIA for any and all suggestions.

Ingrid
 

geekette

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tell him to call the cops for those that show up, tell callers that he's getting a restraining order, and then do so if necessary. Tell them he's recording the call to show police how many times they are getting harrassed for a debt not their obligation.

if he knows the name of any of the debt collection agencies, call them directly, ask for a supervisor, ask for their supe, on up the chain to as high as he can get and complain. loudly, repeatedly. get tough, threaten whatever.
 

dioxide45

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While they may not have any contact with the family member, do they at least have contact information? A phone number or address? If so, he should just give it to them. It isn't your brother's job to be a buffer. Once they get new contact info, they should stop bothering your brother.
 
Last edited:

IngridN

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While they may not have any contact with the family member, do they at least have contact information? A phone number or address? If so, he should just give it to them. It isn't your brother's job to be a buffer. Once they get new contact info, they should stop bothering your brother.

We compared contact info when we spoke last night and mine was more current, which I gave him. However, I think that information is out of date. When I googled and white paged them (the deadbeats, for want of a better term), their 'current' information (what I had) came up. This harassment has been going on for some time so neither of us understand what is going on and why they won't leave my brother alone and why them seem to think that the 'deadbeats' live in NY with my brother or that he knows where they are.

Ingrid
 

alwysonvac

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I did a google search and found the following....

From https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs27-debtcoll.htm

I am being contacted by a collector looking for my former roommate, neighbor, or relative. Can I stop this?
The FDCPA says a debt collector may contact someone other than the debtor, but only to learn the location of the debtor. Usually this contact can be made only once, unless the collector has reason to believe the person has new information. If you are a relative or roommate, a debt collector who contacts you repeatedly also violates your privacy. Excessive contact may be considered a form of harassment. You should be able to stop contact by writing to the debt collector. For an example of what to say if you are the alleged debtor and want to cease calls to you or if the debt is someone else's and a collector is contacting you about it, see sample letters 4 or 6 at Attachment B, www.privacyrights.org/Letters/letters.htm#Debt.

If the collector persists in contacting you, discloses details about the other person's debt, or if the collector's actions have been abusive or threatening, you should complain to the appropriate government agency and seek legal advice. The important thing to remember is that you have the same rights as the debtor, including the right to bring an action for any of the violations described here. For further discussion, see Part 7.

A debt collector keeps leaving prerecorded messages on my cell phone looking for someone I’ve never heard of. What can I do?
This is a common occurrence and can be quite annoying. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), prompted by debt collectors, ruled that autodialed, prerecorded collection calls can be left on cell phones. To fall within the FCC’s ruling, the cell phone number must have been provided on a credit application. http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-232A1.txt

However, despite the limitations of the FCC’s ruling, the reality is that cell phone numbers change frequently. Frustrations are heightened by the inability often to speak to a "live" person to explain the mistake. Recorded messages often include only a toll free number without the name of a personal contact. The PRC raised these and other concerns when the FCC was considering whether or not to allow debt collectors to leave prerecorded messages on cell phones. To read the PRC’s comments to the FCC on this issue, go to www.privacyrights.org/ar/FCC-DebtCell.htm

If you find yourself on the receiving end of prerecorded collection calls to your cell phone, first attempt to stop the calls by contacting the collection agency. Written contact is always preferable to a phone call. A sample letter to stop contacts about someone else’s debt can be found as an attachment to PRC Fact Sheet 27. www.privacyrights.org/Letters/debt6.htm

If this does not work, as is often the case, complain to the FCC. You may file a complaint with the FCC by:

E-mail : fccinfo@fcc.gov
Online : www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html
Telephone : Voice (888) CALL-FCC, or (888-225-5322)
TTY (888) TELL-FCC, of (888-835-5322)
Mail :
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

The FCC asks that you include the following in your complaint:

•Your name, address, and daytime telephone number
•The telephone number or e-mail address at which you received an unsolicited commercial message or call, or an autodialed call
•As much specific information about the message as possible, including:
◦the date and time you received the message
◦the identity of the company that sent the message to you
◦the products or services that were promoted in the message
◦the sender's e-mail address and any other e-mail addresses, street addresses or telephone numbers that may be referenced in the message
◦a description of any contact you may have had with the entity that sent the message, including whether you have done business with that entity before receiving the message/call and any steps you may have taken to reject future messages.

Here are some other links:
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Links - http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpajump.shtm
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Overview - http://credit.about.com/od/debtcollection/a/collectionlaw.htm
Your Rights Under the FDCPA: Recognizing Debt Collection Abuse - http://www.nedap.org/hotline/fdcpa-recognizing.html
What to Do If a Debt Collector Calls Looking for Family or Friends - http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/01/16/what-to-do-if-a-debt-collector-calls-looking-for-family/

Good Luck :)
 

Htoo0

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I had a similar problem once and it wasn't even a family member. We have the same surname however and it isn't common. Apparently these people lived about 7 miles up the road from us and the creditors simply assumed we must be related. Once someone clued us in as to why we were getting so much attention we began informing the callers of the law and instructed them to quit calling. I had to contact the FCC to put an end to Countrywide but we haven't had a call since. Hopefully they can get the calls stopped as well.
 

glypnirsgirl

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I still get calls for the people that I bought my house from more than 10 years ago. Our phone number has always been in our name - has never been in their name, and we still get the calls.

Here is the letter that I send:

I have been the victim of your collection tactics. I consider your tactics (calling me repeatedly regarding a person who lived at this address before I bought this home) to be a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. §1692(b) et seq) which provides in relevant part the following:

Acquisition of location information
Any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall—
(1) identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his employer;
(2) not state that such consumer owes any debt;
(3) not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information;


Additionally, you are specifically prohibited from communicating with me because I am not the debtor. (b) COMMUNICATION WITH THIRD PARTIES. Except as provided ... without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a postjudgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than a consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.


I am a "third party" as described in the above referenced section. Because the person you are seeking has never resided at this address since the time that I purchased the property. you have no rational basis to believe that I am furnishing erroneous or incomplete information. There is no reason that I have ever been listed as a contact person on the debtor's credit applications.

If you contact me after receiving this notice, I intend to invoke my full rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which are:

15 USC 1692k

Civil liability
(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, any debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this title with respect to any person is liable to such person in an amount equal to the sum of—
(1) any actual damage sustained by such person as a result of such failure;
(2) (A) in the case of any action by an individual, such additional damages as the court may allow, but not exceeding $1,000;

I track my hours in dealing with this harassment. Make certain that you keep the tapes of our conversations. I consider the tapes to be evidence of your wrong-doing. The destruction of that evidence may result in additional penalties.

Sincerely.
 

IngridN

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Thank you all for the info. What my brother is having trouble with is that these people are calling again and again even though my brother has told them that the 'deadbeats' do not reside at his address, he doesn't know where they are. They seem reasonable after the conversation, but then someone else from the firm calls. My brother is kind of flaky and unlike me, not very organized. I kinda wish I could take this burden off him. I'll pass all this info on to him and hopefully, he can get this resolved.

The painful part is that this deadbeat family member is a very close family member, estranged from the both of us. My prayers are with him that he straightens out his life.

Like glypnirsgirl, the people I bought my house from were deadbeats. Fortunately me for me, it was the gov't they was messing with :D . When the IRS showed up at our door a few times, I was very, very cooperative and conveyed all the info I had...after all, I didn't want a notation in MY file that I wasn't being cooperative. Same when the Calif taxing authorities sent a letter 10 years later stating the former owner was using our address. Not only did I complete their form, but also sent a very nice letter explaining our relationship. Haven't heard from anyone in years and have a file folder cataloging everything :p .

Ingrid
 

jlr10

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We constantly got calls from collection agencies for DH's deadbeat relatives. For the ones we knew I gave them the cell phone numbers of the relatives (They were a little steamed about that as they didn't want to get the phone calls. But, as I pointed out, neither did I, especially since I pay all my bills on time and in full.)

For the last few months we kept getting calls from Ally Financial about the truck DH owned and wasn't paying. As we pointed out on numerous calls they had the wrong person (different middle name) and we did not now, or ever, own a truck. They continued to call. We would explain it to one person and then the next day a new person would call for several days, until they worked their way through the office back to the original caller. I finally filed a complaint with the FCC. Everytime they called, and I answered the phone, I informed them of the complaint filed and told them I would keep adding onto my complaint until they stopped. It took almost a month, and 21 additional phone calls, but they seemed to have finally stopped.
 

djs

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Years ago a debt collector was calling my parents' house for my sister. Although she hadn't lived there for 10+years (and hadn't provided that contact info) she was often there. After about a month of him calling every day I said "Mr. Adams, has she ever been here when you've called" he correctly said "no". My next question was "Mr. Adams, do you ever think she will be?". He never called again.
 
L

laurac260

Well, since we are sharing personal stories....4 and 1/2 years ago I got a new cell phone. Almost from the moment I turned it on I got collection calls for the previous owners. Lots of them. Those have ceased, but the one call that WON'T stop is a call from a middle eastern sounding man trying to cell pharmaceuticals to me. I've told him repeatedly that he has the wrong number, so he stopped asking for Karen M.... , now he just talks to me. I've told him wrong #, not interested, can't speak english, Karen is in jail and I'm holding her phone, I've been polite, I've been rude, I've threatened to report them to the police, etc. The calls go on for days, then stop for about a month, or 6 months, sometimes even a year.

The last call came a week ago. I thought, "I'll play along" and ask the guy if he had any crystal meth, figuring that might scare him away, as he seemed to be selling "legal meds". He said, "sure, we have that." So I told him again I wasn't interested. How does one stop this sort of call to your cell phone?
 

MommaBear

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Well, since we are sharing personal stories....4 and 1/2 years ago I got a new cell phone. Almost from the moment I turned it on I got collection calls for the previous owners. Lots of them. Those have ceased, but the one call that WON'T stop is a call from a middle eastern sounding man trying to cell pharmaceuticals to me. I've told him repeatedly that he has the wrong number, so he stopped asking for Karen M.... , now he just talks to me. I've told him wrong #, not interested, can't speak english, Karen is in jail and I'm holding her phone, I've been polite, I've been rude, I've threatened to report them to the police, etc. The calls go on for days, then stop for about a month, or 6 months, sometimes even a year.

The last call came a week ago. I thought, "I'll play along" and ask the guy if he had any crystal meth, figuring that might scare him away, as he seemed to be selling "legal meds". He said, "sure, we have that." So I told him again I wasn't interested. How does one stop this sort of call to your cell phone?

If you recognize his phone number answer "US Drug Enforcement Task Force" Or "Los Angeles Police Department" as well as calling your local police department and give them the number he is calling you from.
 

Passepartout

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How about just blocking the number? Or at least not answering the offending number? Or answering then immediately disconnecting?

Collectors are such a PITA! I have had occasional calls for a distant brother. So far, when I tell them he does not, nor never has lived here, they stop- at least until a new guy tries it.

Good luck getting rid of them.

Jim
 

Janann

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Here is the letter that I send:

I have been the victim of your collection tactics. I consider your tactics (calling me repeatedly regarding a person who lived at this address before I bought this home) to be a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. §1692(b) et seq) which provides in relevant part the following:

Acquisition of location information
Any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall—
(1) identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his employer;
(2) not state that such consumer owes any debt;
(3) not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information;


Additionally, you are specifically prohibited from communicating with me because I am not the debtor. (b) COMMUNICATION WITH THIRD PARTIES. Except as provided ... without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a postjudgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than a consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.


I am a "third party" as described in the above referenced section. Because the person you are seeking has never resided at this address since the time that I purchased the property. you have no rational basis to believe that I am furnishing erroneous or incomplete information. There is no reason that I have ever been listed as a contact person on the debtor's credit applications.

If you contact me after receiving this notice, I intend to invoke my full rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which are:

15 USC 1692k

Civil liability
(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, any debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this title with respect to any person is liable to such person in an amount equal to the sum of—
(1) any actual damage sustained by such person as a result of such failure;
(2) (A) in the case of any action by an individual, such additional damages as the court may allow, but not exceeding $1,000;

I track my hours in dealing with this harassment. Make certain that you keep the tapes of our conversations. I consider the tapes to be evidence of your wrong-doing. The destruction of that evidence may result in additional penalties.

Sincerely.

I've sent a similar letter to a debt collector, and I CC'd the State Attorney General's office for good measure. I received a short "thanks for your letter" from the Attorney General, and I never heard from the debt collector again.:clap:
 

dwojo

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We compared contact info when we spoke last night and mine was more current, which I gave him. However, I think that information is out of date. When I googled and white paged them (the deadbeats, for want of a better term), their 'current' information (what I had) came up. This harassment has been going on for some time so neither of us understand what is going on and why they won't leave my brother alone and why them seem to think that the 'deadbeats' live in NY with my brother or that he knows where they are.

Ingrid

Tell your brother to call the state attorney general to report the harassment.
 
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