"Unknown" caller id calls my cell twice a day. How do I stop them?
May 21, 2010 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Once or twice a day, I get a call on my cell with a caller id of "Unknown". How can I get them to stop?

Several weeks ago, I started getting calls to my cell phone once or twice daily with a number that shows up as "Unknown". The last time I answered, I heard a recording that said to hold "to discuss a personal matter". When someone came on, they asked for a name I don't know, and refused to give up much more info, except to say that they were calling from "MCM, a business".

Strongly suspecting that these were collection calls, I googled "MCM collections" and sure enough there they were: MCM: About Us

How can I get them to stop? Extra points for solutions that involve nailing them for $1000 a crack (or whatever) under the FDCPA.

[Yes, I can and do simply ignore the calls, but occasionally I'll get calls from someone over Skype that also shows up as "Unknown", so I'd like not to have to bounce every such call to voicemail.]
posted by Calibandage to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Better link from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
posted by schmod at 10:31 AM on May 21, 2010

Tell them to take you off their list, and for every future violation you'll report them to whatever authorities are appropriate.
posted by CharlesV42 at 11:34 AM on May 21, 2010

I don't know what service you have, but childblock may work. AT&T has this, and while it's meant to control a child's account, it does block individual numbers. I'm sure other companies have a version of this.

Or you could tell them your line is your (fake) child's line. I did this for one of my siblings, who is under 18 and obviously can't owe anything since they're too young for credit/loans.
posted by shinyshiny at 12:38 PM on May 21, 2010

In my case, "Unknown" is always my mom.
posted by Araucaria at 2:14 PM on May 21, 2010

Unknown for me is either my ex, my parents or AT&T. So, needless to say, I dont answer it very often.
posted by subaruwrx at 4:19 PM on May 21, 2010

If it is indeed a collections agency, you can request that all communication be by mail only. At least here, they must comply. I have the right to a paper trail and not being harassed over the phone.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 5:00 PM on May 21, 2010

hungrysquirrels, does that work even if I'm not the 'droid they're looking for?
posted by Calibandage at 6:04 PM on May 21, 2010

The same thing happened to me when I got my iPhone (as a new AT&T victim) two years ago. I activated it in-store, went out to lunch, and when I opened the box again at home, my phone already had dozens of automated SMS-messages from some indecipherable internet service (not Twitter or FB), strangers, and four voicemails; two from lawyers and two from doctors’ offices.

I have been getting five or six uniques a day for two years looking for the same two people who apparently had my number before. AT&T basically says that I have to change my number if I want to stop these calls (usually between 15:00 and 23:00).

My solution was to use Google Voice for my outside number.
posted by vkxmai at 7:17 PM on May 21, 2010

If they're calling for someone else but have the wrong number, not sure. They can be notoriously dis-believing when trying to convince them of that, if it's the case. Mail should still work, going in the other direction though in the form of a nasty legal letter to cease. In my situation, I just add the incoming letters to a stack... sometimes I'll open the envelope by accident, back in the stack you go...

Ultimately, change your number. I use pre-paid cellphones, and have gone through 3 I think within the last year, not due to collections, but it was a nice side-benefit.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 7:56 PM on May 21, 2010

I used this trick a few times and it worked in similar cases:

Get a recording of a FAX machine answering the phone and make it your outgoing message.

This seemed to convince them they had the wrong number better than actually telling them so..
posted by mmoncur at 1:48 AM on May 22, 2010

Just another datapoint: I'm on AT&T with an iPhone and this exact thing started for me about 2 weeks ago. Same recording, same company. WTF?!
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:52 PM on May 22, 2010

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