What To Do When A Collector “Mistakenly” Contacts You For Someone Else’s Debt

What To Do When A Collector “Mistakenly” Contacts You For Someone Else’s Debt.

collectorWhen a collector calls you or writes to you for a debt you don’t owe — but someone else does owe it — what do you do?

There are a few simple steps to take to fix this problem.

But let’s talk about what not to do, as tempting as it might be.

Do not ignore the calls or letters.  

If you ignore the letters or calls, they will continue.

Even if not by the same collection agency, another agency will likely call or write you.

You need to face this head on so you can put a stop to it.

You must take action.

So let’s get to the steps to take:

  • Tell the debt collector that they have the wrong person;
  • Document you telling the collector they have the wrong person; and
  • If the collector continues to go after you, consider suing to put a stop to this type of needless and illegal abusive collection.

You’ve Got The Wrong Person!

When a collector calls, tell them they have the wrong person (assuming this is true!).  Normally collectors will want to make sure they have the wrong person and will then ask you if you know how to get in touch with the consumer who allegedly owes the money.

Don’t be vague or ambiguous.  Instead be very clear.  “You have the wrong person.  There is no one here by that name.”

When the collector asks if you know where the “debtor” is or how to get in touch, don’t be cute or evasive.

If you do, say you do.

If you don’t, say you don’t.

Now, even if you do know, you are not required to tell the collector.  But it is normally best to do this so the collector and the consumer can communicate.

Document That You Told The Collector They Has The Wrong Person….

Write down the date, who called, the number, and what you said.

If you are getting letters, send a certified mail letter to the collector and tell them they have the wrong person.

If you can, even after you talk to the collector, send a letter to the debt collectors.

Here is an example:

I received a letter dated ________, addressed to _________, with an account number of ___________, amount owed of ________, and creditor of _____________.

[If you have spoken to the collection agency, reference it here].

[If you can, attach a copy of the collector’s letter but not necessary].

I do not owe this debt.

Also, I do not know who this person __________ is.  No one by that name has ever lived here and I have never [if true….] known anyone by this name.  

 I am concerned that [name of collection agency]  has put my address with someone I don’t know.  I don’t want this mixed up with my name or to affect my credit report.

 Can you make sure it is noted in the file that I have no connection with this debt or this person?  If [name of collection agency] continues to collect on this account or sends it out to some other collector, I want to make sure that it is in the records that I don’t have anything to do with this.

 I don’t want to get any more collection calls or letters on this and I don’t want this to impact my credit report in any manner.  If I continue to get calls or letters or if you damage my credit report, I will seek legal counsel.

Consider this as your warning to not take any further action against me.

Thank you and if you are confused by my letter, please let me know in writing so we can get on the same page.

I appreciate your courtesy in reading this and letting me know if this has been handled.


Your Name


If The Collector Continues To Collect Against You, Consider Suing To Stop The Abuse

I have filed cases against debt collectors who simply would not leave my clients alone when my clients were not even the target of the collection.

The collectors hated getting sued.

But here is the reality.

If a collector says you are lying because you really are the one who owes the money, and you don’t, then they deserve to be sued.

If the collector figures you will either pay the money (that you don’t owe) just to get the collector to leave you alone, then the collector deserves to be sued.

Or, if you do know where the other person lives but you won’t tell the collector (or if you don’t know) and the collector figures that it can just harass you until you give the contact information, then the collector deserves to be sued.

The bottom line is if you don’t owe the debt, you should not be harassed.

If you are being harassed, suing is normally the best way to put a stop to this type of non-sense.

Contact Us.

If you live in Alabama and you are dealing with this type of common collection abuse, feel free to contact us or call us at 205-879-2447 to learn about your rights and to learn the right type of action to take.

I look forward to talking with you.

Have a great day!

-John G. Watts


  1. Roger says:

    Hi John, great videos. I was wondering, how do you prove how many times a collector calls. I had a collector calling me for a debt owed by someone else and they blocked their number and lied about the company they worked for. So I had nothing to trace.

    It was sometime ago, but I have been curious as to how to prove the time of day they call and how many times they called. I finally changed my number.



    • John Watts says:


      Thanks for the nice words and the question you asked.

      Here are some thoughts for you:

      1. If there is a caller ID, take a picture of the call. If on your cell phone, take a screen shot (for example with the iPhone press home and top button at same time to take a screen shot). Then email the screen shot to yourself, especially if you have an email account that is cloud based such as Gmail or Yahoo so the picture is safely stored outside of only being on your phone (you could drop your phone in water, etc. and lose it).

      2. If there is no caller ID — blocked calls — then still document the calls as best you can. “Received blocked call at 2:33 pm on 1-14-15.”

      3. If you speak with a company that will not reveal its name, then you are almost certainly dealing with a scam company. This article, while focused on foreign scam debt collection companies, is still relevant to American scam companies.

      4. Ultimately if it is a scam company, not much you can do other than let the federal government and your own attorney general know. Once they have enough complaints, one of the those agencies will take action.

      5. Check your credit reports at http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com to see if you can find the alleged debt that this company is collecting on — sometimes you will see the real collector listed or you can call the original creditor and see who they sold the debt to, call that company and find out who they sold the debt to, etc. and finally trace it “forward” to the one calling you.

      Sorry that I don’t have a better answer for dealing with these scammers. If it is a legitimate, real debt collector that is simply lying, then we sue them. But as you say it can be challenging sometimes to find out who is doing the calling.

      I hope that helps in at least a small way.

      Thanks again for your comment and sharing your story with us!

      John Watts

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