In January 2014 I began receiving debt collection calls for an employee who was formerly one of my direct reports. Not wanting to get into a conundrum with HR (which is very easy to do with this company), each time I received a call, I simply stated that they had the wrong number and resolved not to become involved.

After around 9 months of these calls, I did ask an HR specialist how I should handle it. She agreed with me that it would not be proper protocol for me to contact this person as they no longer worked for me and that it wouldn't be proper for me to contact their supervisor as it was personal and confidential information. In the end, she gave me no help and I was right where I started.

After a couple more months of almost daily calls I started explaining the situation to the callers - not in so much detail - just that it was a person who had worked for me in the past and that I had never had any type of personal relationship with them. (Not sure why he used my number anyway.) Each time I was told that my number would be removed.

Here we are, April 2015, and I'm still receiving calls almost every day. Does anyone have any idea of how I can resolve this without creating more problems for myself?

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    Depending on your location you can take the legal route. You'll want to consult an attorney for this (There are attorney's specific to dealing with debt collectors) Likely the attorney will just write a threatening cease and desist and the calls will stop. Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 19:21
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    If this is the USA then look into the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The debt collector has already violated the law by telling you that the previous employee owes debt. Additionally, by contacting you more than once, they have violated the law. Next time they call try to get some form of identification out of them (ie. the company name, a contact phone number) and then simply inform them that they have already violated the FDCPA, you don't want them to call again and if they call again you will call the FTC and report them. You won't hear from them again.
    – Dunk
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 21:09
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    Are you receiving these calls on your personal home or cell phone? Or your work line? Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 16:31

3 Answers 3


Does anyone have any idea of how I can resolve this without creating more problems for myself?

I'm so sorry you have to deal with debt collectors.

Find the address for the company and send a certified letter indicating this is not your debt and to cease contact. See here for some suggestions on how to do this. Keep a copy for your records.

You probably know all the information at this point about the supposed debt, so you can easily write this letter.

Once it's confirmed delivered, keep detailed notes of every additional attempt by them to reach you. Include agent name, time, phone number, etc.

When they contact you after this (and they probably will since most debt collection agencies are... well they keep calling you in spite of you being the wrong person draw your own conclusions about their ability to conduct business well), in no uncertain terms:

  • Request to speak with their supervisor
  • Inform them they are in violation of federal law
  • Inform them they are willingly participating in harassment
  • Any additional attempt to contact you about the debt will result in legal action
  • You have documented the violations in detail and will continue to do so

If this happens again, there are plenty of lawyers and services who are more than willing to aid you in a bullet proof case against debt collection agencies (including the government).

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    If they're always calling from the same number, a caller-id block may help. Unfortunately the mechanisms for faking caller id are unprotected and entirely too well know, something I keep begging the FCC and FTC to demand be fixed ....
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 15:03
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    Might be worth adding that dependent on your country of residence you may have grounds to sue for harassment, if anything the legal threat is normally enough for them to cease attempts to collect debt.
    – li x
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 14:17
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    I would also like to add that I have heard of cases where companies sued cold calling companies for harassing their employees. Try telling them you are at work / on a business phone. It has helped me personally, but will likely depend on location and circumstance
    – bytepusher
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 19:12

Does your company have a legal department? A lawyer on retainer? Have them contact the agencies making these calls and tell them to desist. I'm sure the lawyer can come up with a creative and legal way to make it in the debt-collectors' interest to stop.

  • This is the answer! Upvote
    – Mawg
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 9:16

What they are doing is harrassment. So on your next call you tell them that they are harassing you, that they should stop, and the call after that you call the police.

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    While I agree with this in nature, but don't call the police, call an attorney. (Odds are the collection agency isn't local and therefore outside your police dept jurisdiction anyways) Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 19:23
  • Of course it's harassment. Harassment is the very nature of their business. Hence they tend to be good at it and have fairly good legal support. Police is useless in this case. You need a capable attorney, which unfortunately costs lot of time and money
    – Hilmar
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 12:57
  • Or at least you need to let them know you're ready to sic a lawyer on them, as noted in the other answer. That may be enough,
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 15:00
  • @RualStorge if it can be dealt with by the police (they are presumably in some jurisdiction), that would likely be much cheaper than an attorney.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 10:34

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