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Tinfoil hat time?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Clementine_3, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. Clementine_3

    Clementine_3 Android Expert
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    So, here's the story:

    My brother is apparently in some financial trouble. We know that because my sister and my sort of ex-husband-ish have both gotten calls from collection agencies asking to speak with either my brother or sister in law (by name). Now there is no way they are listed as contacts or co-signers or...anything. My brother lives in MI (he moves around a lot), my sister lives in IN and I live in NY. Sis has a land-line but it's listed under her husband's name and my ex land-line is listed under ex's name (I've only had a cell since 2005). So neither of us are in the phonebook with our names, just the husbands.

    The only thing I can come up with is that, since we are all on Facebook, it's quite easy to back-trace and I find that unsettling. Sis and I both use our maiden names on FB so that's the connection that I see. We appear as Brother Familyname, Sister Familyname Marriedname and Me Familyname Marriedname. I have my FB as private as possible, as does my sister. My brother does not. I know FB is not at all private nor do I feel comfy with what they share (I swear, this may make me kill it once and for all).

    Are these 2 different collection agencies really able to narrow down where to call relatives based on what is out on the big internet? Great Googly, that is scary.

    How else, besides FB, are/could they be doing it? What information is out on what data-bases that links us and our land-line numbers? Really, I am perplexed (but not at all surprised, everything is a big open book these days).

    I feel all naive right now...
     

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  2. Rukbat

    Rukbat Android Expert
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    Is it tinfoil hat time? No.

    Can they really trace you through FB? Yes. And through many other lists they can buy.

    Side note - the FTC considers this (both calling relatives in an attempt to collect a debt and disclosing debts to 3rd parties) violations of law. Next time either one of you gets a call, play dumb and ask "who is this, again?" Get the person's name and the company name. (If you get the "It doesn't mater" nonsense, tell them it matters if they want the conversation to continue, because you don't speak to unidentified callers. And don't worry about any threats they make to you - write them down as accurately as you can - they're a violation of federal law. You - even if you were the debtor - are NOT under any legal obligation to speak to collection agencies.)

    And if you put your phone numbers on the do not call registry, that's another law they're violating by calling you.

    Then file formal complaints with the FTC. (There's a complaint form on their website.) Oh, and they DO take these complaints seriously. Even calling you too early or too late can result in fines or worse for the company.
     
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  3. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    Facebook is but one avenue on the information superhighway. There really is not much anonymity anymore and they can get much of what you suspect from tax records. Not income tax, but real estate, which are part of the public record. I showed a neighbor once that I could find out what their mortgage payment was, their employer and a few more items by looking through the county's public database.

    I'm sure collection agencies use much more granular search tools, too, as well as some deception. You'd be surprised how much information people give out over the phone if the story is good enough. Now I'm not suggesting they are misrepresenting themselves, just vague enough to be taken the wrong way ... deliberately.
     
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  4. Clementine_3

    Clementine_3 Android Expert
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    They've called my ex 4 times, he keeps telling them he doesn't know who they are looking for and to stop. The other place called my sister once and did stop.

    Thanks for that info, I'll make sure the ex follows up if they call back. I've not gotten a call yet...
     
  5. Rukbat

    Rukbat Android Expert
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    Little known fact - if they're told to stop in writing (return receipt, signature), and they don't, the debt may no longer be collectible.
     
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  6. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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    They can also harass you as the owner of a recycled phone number or a similar name.

    The debts get sold and resold to collectors. Every resell is fair game.
     
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  7. Rukbat

    Rukbat Android Expert
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    Holder in due course has been illegal for decades.

    Thee "new creditor" can call you once. I you tell them to stop calling, they'll have to prove that they have no association with the collection agency they "sold" the debt to. Passing a debt from one company in the same group to another in an attempt to circumvent the law is larceny br fraud.

    Oh, and if a former caller has been told that despite the similarity in names, or the owner of a phone number that's owed money by a former owner, the next creditor that calls is considered responsible for knowing that, and is guilty of willful harassment. (Proof that you personally owe the debt is the burden of the collector.)

    The only reason any of these things work is that people aren't aware of their rights under the law.
     
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  8. bjacks12

    bjacks12 Android Expert
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    I was offered a job once for a place that offers unsecured loans(similar to a payday loan, but more like a loan shark).

    I researched them and these are the tactics they used. I believe they acquire all kinds of contact info from you at signing (friends, neighbors, relatives).


    If your brother got into a jam and went to one of these outfits, he may have given them your sister's phone number as well as your ex's number.
     
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  9. Clementine_3

    Clementine_3 Android Expert
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    Although anything is possible I really don't think he would have done that. He, nor my sister in law, would freely put us on anything without telling us. Now, that's not to say he didn't take a shady loan out, I just don't think he would have put our information on an application without saying anything.

    But, anything is possible.
     
  10. huh

    huh Android Expert
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    it's the bill collectors...they get paid ...when the debt gets paid....

    so they will use any means neccessary to track that person down including taking a stab at the dark with possible relatives....if you tell them point blank not to call or bother you anymore...by law they have to stop harassing you....
     
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  11. huh

    huh Android Expert
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    in total denial
    brothers!!!:rolleyes:
     
  12. Clementine_3

    Clementine_3 Android Expert
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