I received one of those calls today on my home phone where a no-nonsense voice said, "Call Michelle," and then gave me a toll free number plus the extension.
Since I was going to be on the road, I wrote the number down and made the call from my cell phone. I started getting nervous while waiting because the recording kept stating that this was a debt recovery outfit, and "Your call is important to us and may be recorded."
Finally, after waiting awhile, one of the operators that tell you that your call is important came on the line and put me in Michelle's voicemail. I left my phone number and continued to drive down the road.
No-nonsense Michelle called back in about 15 minutes. She explained that she was collecting a debt on a Visa card and that no payment had been made since 2006. I assured Michelle that I use a MasterCard and in my distant past have not used a Visa card.
We then went through the question and answer routine: "What is your middle initial?"
My reply was, "D as in dog," although I felt like someone was dogging me. Apparently that matched up with what she was looking at in the computer.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to explain that I pay the balances each month. We then went through my birth date, which was before World War II. She paused, and then read a number, asking if these were the last four digits of my social security number.
I was able to reply with a grateful, "No."
All along I was thinking someone had stolen my identity and I was going to have to go through a period of unraveling the mess.
When the numbers didn't match, her voice lightened up, indicating that she was sorry she had bothered me. Meanwhile, I was happy to find out that there was another Richard D. Hedges who apparently was a deadbeat, and the good news was at least it wasn't me. With a polite thank you ending our conversation, she hung up, still on the lookout for someone with my last name and an unpaid bill.