ARE YOU RECEIVING ROBO CALLS ON YOUR CELL PHONE ASKING FOR SOMEONE WHO YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW INCLUDING CALLS ATTEMPTING TO COLLECT SOMEONE ELSE’S DEBT?
IS A DEBT COLLECTOR CALLING THE “WRONG PERSON”?
Debt collection calls directed to someone who does not even know the person who allegedly owes the debt are commonly referred to as “wrong person” cases. When debt collectors or creditors continue to call a cell phone user who explains that they are not the person who the caller is asking for and truthfully tells the caller that they do not even know anyone by that name, documents their conversations and incoming calls, and hires experienced counsel to represent them in a TCPA lawsuit, the caller will probably become convinced that “we called the ‘wrong person’” but for different reasons.
If you are receiving calls on your cell phone asking to speak to someone else who is not even a member of your family or is completely unknown to you, the call probably concerns a debt. Debt collectors should not disclose the correct person’s financial information so they often refuse to disclose “why” they are calling. Despite these privacy protections, other debt collectors often describe the account that they are calling about.
Debt collectors often demand that the “wrong person” provide their Social Security Number. Personally, I would never provide my S.S.N. to a caller that I do not know. Even worse, some unscrupulous debt collector “update” their account information by changing the debtor’s S.S.N. to the S.S.N. that belongs to the person who they persuaded into disclosing it. Given the frequency of data breaches, it is not wise to provide your S.S.N. unless you have to.
On the other hand, if the call is directed to the right person, dodging the question by saying “not me” makes it extremely difficult to effectively revoke consent under the TCPA and does not “look good” to the court.
TCPA STATUTORY DAMAGES
The TCPA provides that callers who violate the TCPA are liable in the amount of $ 500 per call. If the violation is willful, the court may award an additional amount of up to $ 1,000 per call. That’s a total of up to $ 1,500 per call.
If a creditor, debt collector, and most other companies continue to call a cell phone after the user tells them that they are calling the wrong person, further calls may be willful violations. If the cell phone user tells them twice, then the caller can not blame their failure on an isolated mistake to attempt to mitigate the willful nature of their conduct.
If the caller disregards ample warning that they are calling the wrong person, they risk paying up to $ 1,500 per call.
HOW DID THEY OBTAIN YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER ?
Cell phone users who are receiving calls about someone else’s debt often ask me “how did they get my number?” Although it’s impossible to know before a lawsuit is filed and discovery commences, there are several possibilities : (1) the cell phone number in question belonged to someone else even years ago and the wireless carrier “recycled” the number and assigned it to you; (2) the borrower’s name is similar to your name and someone (or computer program) mismatched your name with records obtained from “skip trace” database; (3) the caller mistyped the borrower’s telephone number in their system and accidently entered your number instead; (4) someone listed you as a “reference”, emergency contact, or alternate phone number in their credit application; or, much less often, (5) you may be the victim of identity theft (although this situation is far less common than the first three listed here).
Persuading callers — especially debt collectors and many telemarketers — to “stop calling” is often surprisingly difficult. Many debt collectors often ignore instructions to “stop calling” even when the person they are calling never owed the debt. Debt collectors are accustomed to calling people and, if they refuse to pay the debt, bullying them into paying it. Unfortunately, this often happens even when the person who receives the call is clearly the “wrong person”.
DOCUMENT YOUR CASE
If you are receiving calls on your cell phone concerning people you do not even know, Mr. Petersen encourages you to read “Proving Your TCPA Case” for instructions how to preserve the evidence we will need to prove your TCPA case or call Mr. Petersen at 407 – 648 – 9050 for a free consultation.
CALLS TO A “WRONG PERSON’S ” LANDLINE
Landline subscribers have very limited rights compared to “wrong persons” who receive calls from debt collectors on their cell phones. The TCPA would not apply to a business call (such as a collection call) to a landline.
If a debt collector is calling a “wrong person” repetitively on a landline and the called party informs them that they are calling the wrong person, the called party probably may have a case against the caller if the debt collector. If the caller is not a debt collector but is an original creditor instead and is calling a landline, some state collection practices acts would protect the hapless landline owner from a “harassing” volume of calls. Recovery under the collection practices statutes — both the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) — are usually limited to $ 1,000 per case plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Many states’ collection practices acts do not apply to original creditors. Landline owners who are being harassed about a debt allegedly owed by a person who they do not even know should consult with a local attorney who is licensed to practice in their state.
GET STARTED TODAY
Hopefully, the information in this site assures you that you do NOT have to continue to tolerate unwelcome telephone calls which you are receiving. Mr. Petersen looks forward to learning more about your potential case and discussing how he can help you enforce your rights.
To get started towards enjoying your privacy again, call or contact Don Petersen today.
CALL DONALD E. PETERSEN AT
407 – 648 – 9050
Or, provide a brief description of you potential case and along with your contact information for a free case evaluation.
(C) Donald E. Petersen 2017