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Not our debt. How do we make them stop calling


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So, on Thursday I got a call on my office line asking for my husband. This was a surprise since the phone line is in my name (and my last name is different than his.... I use both my maiden and married name). The name on the caller ID was unfamilar to me, but appeared to be a business name. I told them the person they were asking for had the same name as my husband but that I was perplexed how they got the number since he's never been listed on it, since it's my business line.

My husband has common first and last names and we occassionally get calls from collection agencies on our home line, which is in his name. They've always been for a man by the same name with an address on the other side of our city. So, to nip these calls in the bud quickly, I explain that I'm his wife, that we occassionally get calls for a guy with the same name, and what are the last four digits of the social security number of the guy for whom they're looking. It's always a different number than my husbands.

Well, much to my surprise, this time, the person on the line belted out the last four digits of my husbands SSN. So, at that point (without telling her that was, indeed my husband's last 4 digits) I asked her what address these debts were from. She had two addresses, one in Seattle, one in Overland Park. We've never lived in either of these places, or even in either of the states they're in. She told me the debt was from Sprint from 1997. My husband did have Sprint in 1997, but we lived in California at the time and he was never even late on a payment. In fact, neither one of us has ever missed a payment or been late on a payment on anything in our lives. We both have really good credit.

So, I explained this to her and told her she had to have the wrong person. It's a common name, we've never lived in either of the places she sited and we've never been late on any of our payments, let alone delinquent...

Well, since then they called again on Friday and again today. I wasn't here either time, but can see they called on my caller ID. Next time they call, which I suspect will be around the same time tomorrow, I want to to tell them to quit calling. I've already told them this isn't his debt and we've never lived in the places in question. So, I have a few questions:

1. How did they get the last four digits of his SSN. Just trolling credit reports? This is definitely not his debt.

2. Isn't it illegal to be calling me at my place of business? They know I'm the wife of a guy by the same name of the guy they're looking for, but they also know he's not here and it's my place of business--I told them. Isn't it illegal for them to call here?

3. This is just out of curiousity--this debt is from 1997. Isn't the statue of limitations like 7 years? (not that it matters that much since it's not my husband's debt, but I'm just curious. I was surprised they were trying to recoup a debt that old).

4. Is it now up to us to prove it's not his debt?? I would think the fact that we've never lived where the debt was billed would be sufficient, but apparently our word isn't enough, or they wouldn't be continuing to call....Shouldn't it be up to them to prove that it's my husband's debt? Which, of course they won't be able to do since it's not...

5. Can they put this 11 year old debt that's not his on his credit report since they seem to have somehow gotten ahold of his SSN?

Sorry this is so long but I just want to see if anyone has any ideas how we can make the phone calls stop and also ensure that this debt this is not my husband's doesn't harm his credit.

Thanks for any information you can provide to help.

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So, I have a few questions:

1. How did they get the last four digits of his SSN. Just trolling credit reports? This is definitely not his debt.

Yes and by running his name through Choicepoint which is a typical skiptracing thing to do.

2. Isn't it illegal to be calling me at my place of business? They know I'm the wife of a guy by the same name of the guy they're looking for, but they also know he's not here and it's my place of business--I told them. Isn't it illegal for them to call here?

Yes, if your husband writes them a letter and tells them that "it is inconvenient to contact me at any telephone number for any reason". Send it to them certified mail return receipt.

3. This is just out of curiousity--this debt is from 1997. Isn't the statue of limitations like 7 years? (not that it matters that much since it's not my husband's debt, but I'm just curious. I was surprised they were trying to recoup a debt that old).

Seven years is indeed a long time but you must understand that just because a debt is past SOL for legal action, they can still try to collect unless the statute of limitations in your state also works as a statute of repose then the debt is extinguished.

In that letter your husband is going to send have him state that it is not his debt and that he demands that they cease and desist collection efforts towards him in regard to that debt.

4. Is it now up to us to prove it's not his debt?? I would think the fact that we've never lived where the debt was billed would be sufficient, but apparently our word isn't enough, or they wouldn't be continuing to call....Shouldn't it be up to them to prove that it's my husband's debt? Which, of course they won't be able to do since it's not...

Phone drones don't care. They just want to make a commission or collect their hourly wage. It's not a matter of you telling them facts, they simply don't care.

5. Can they put this 11 year old debt that's not his on his credit report since they seem to have somehow gotten ahold of his SSN?

If they do, simply have your husband dispute as obsolete which means that the debt is past the legal reporting period of 7 years and it should be removed.

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