Friday night I received a call from the Takhar Group saying that I needed to call them immediately or visit their web site. However, the call did not identify the purpose of the call nor did it specify who was being called, so I assumed it was some sort of scam. I did decide to check the site and found out that it is a collection agency. Since I only owe money on my mortgage and one credit card (and my payments are up to date), I knew the call was not for me (or should not be for me).
I have gotten many calls in the past for people with my last name as well as for people with totally different names. I assume that the collection agencies just call anyone with the same (or similar) last name in the rough area or that the people who are in debt used my number in place of their own. Either that, or they had the number 18 years ago, before it was mine, and used that when getting into debt.
While I am not actually being badly harassed by such mistaken calls, it is annoying. For a while it was extremely bad-I would get a call or two everyday on my answering machine. In some cases I was able to call the company and convince them that I was not the person they were looking for. In other cases, the calls just stopped.
Because of these experiences, I think that collection agencies should be required to confirm phone numbers before calling. When calling, they should be required to identify themselves as collection agencies, state who they are collecting for, and state the name of the intended target. They should also provide a clear means by which the wrongly called can stop receiving these calls. Leaving a vague message to call is simply not adequate.
I do understand that collection agencies can be engaged in legitimate operations and that they need to use various means to find people and collect. However, I am tired of being annoyed by agencies trying to collect debts from people who are not me.
Of course, my annoyance pales beside the horror stories of people who have been subject to far more serious misdeeds and outright illegal activity at the claws of unscrupulous (or incompetent) collection agencies.
- Debt collectors pursued wrong people (independent.co.uk)
- Debt collector reveals harassment techniques (theage.com.au)
- Debt collectors use heavy-handed tactics (cbc.ca)
- Using MySpace Photo Of Debtor’s Daughter As An Intimidation Tactic Is A No-No (techdirt.com)
- Facebook Used by Debt Collectors (chris.pirillo.com)