Friday, June 22, 2007

Keepin' it Real

I was catching up on my school reading when my home phone rang at about 9:30 PM. I figured it was one of my parents since everyone else calls me on my cell phone and answered.

Quick background, I have a very very basic home phone service. No caller ID, voice mail or even answering machine and I don’t even have long distance capabilities on it. My cell phone has all those services included in the plan so I only used my home phone to dial into my company’s network. When I finally got DSL I kept the home in operation to make those just in case calls and so I wouldn’t “burn up” my cell phone minutes when I worked from home.

To make a long story longer, the person asked for me and then proceeded to tell me that my number was listed as an alternative telephone number for my little brother. That was news to me because I don’t think my little brother even knows my home number. I can count on one hand the number of times I talk to him in a year and that’s just because we’re not particularly close and we generally catch up when we see each other on holidays and over IM. The person on the phone identified himself very quickly and then asked me for a way to reach my brother. I was a taken aback because 1) I had no idea what this was about and 2) I was weirded out that they called me looking for a way to reach my brother. Since I don’t give out anyone’s number all willy nilly I asked the caller to tell me his name again and where he was calling from.

Now here is where things got a little bit dicey. The dude on the phone immediately got snippy and then tried to use some scare tactics such as “I know your bro is still in XXXXXXX (to use The OE’s term) and that it was in his best interest to contact them. That’s when the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I got a little bit pissy and said I’m not giving him any information until he tells me what this is about. That’s when dude said I’m not going to waste any more of your time and said goodbye, so I hung up.

Remember that scene on the Chappelle show in the “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong” segment and the girl receives a wrong number? Well that’s how I felt so I called my brother who assured me he didn’t have any clue as to why the person called me and that he was current on all his bills. Then I “Starred 69” the number and then gave it to my brother. I could have called what appeared to be a bill collector back to give him a tongue lashing but I saw what happened when folks “kept it real” and really it’s none of my business.

I’m just trying to figure out how in the world they received my number since I’m pretty sure my brother 1) doesn’t have it and 2) why would he give out my number as an alternative when he could easily have given them my dad’s number or a fake one.

I saw a 20/20 episode one day about the scare and illegal tactics bill collectors use to try to intimidate folks who owe money and if there are any out there reading this:

“I hate when mofos ‘be’ playing on my phone”


Anonymous said...

Something similar like that happened to me a few years ago. Somehow some bill collector got my number and was looking for a cousin of mine. How they got my number, I don't have a clue. Even my cousin didn't have my home number. Anyway, they called my house like once every couple of months looking for my cousin then finally I told them that they'd better wipe my number out of their rotation or I'd wipe them out. I know that was the wrong thing to say, but I haven't gotten a call since then.

Luke Cage said...

Miss Nikki, you scare me luv! -lol- Miss H, that is pretty creepy. And I too saw that 20/20 episode with the bill collectors talking about, I know where you live and I'll notify everyone in your building that you don't know how to pay your bills and whatnot! I'm like, what the fu@#??

Those collectors act like that's their money they have to collect. but that story is really a doozy luv. Beware!

c2a said...

That's hillarious. I'm still catching up on Chapelle shows.

If I can't find a person, I'll do a search on names associated with that person, see whose information comes up and call to ask for the original person.

I'll think of that clip next time I want to keep it real.

The OE said...

I got a call once from a company looking for another operative, using one of their cover names. The operative was deep undercover and there was no way the caller were getting anything out of me. Bill collectors are no match for a secret agent. But one does wonder if enemy agents give out phone numbers just for kicks.

CreoleInDC said...

Girl...this exact same thing happened to my girl Queeny cept the people that called her had BALLS! Now granted HER brother was wrong, wrong, wrong...but don't be calling nobody regarding someone else's grown bizness. That is just not right.

I'm glad you didn't cut the fool...but to be honest (pun you wouldn't cuz you're a class act. Me on the other hand...BAAAAAAAABY...we woulda shared words. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Probably a bill collector. However, it is very unusual (IMO) that a bill collector wouldn't leave a phone number for your brother to call them back at.

To each his own, but I would have called them back. I hope you kept a copy of that number in case you need it later.

Did you ask your brother if he's give your number out?

Now let me say this, he wouldn't have to give it out for a bill collector or any scumbag who knows his legal name to get it.

If a person knows his legal name (or sometimes partial name) and the state he lives in, they can use a cheap service to look him up online and it gives a list of his known relatives and their legal names and addresses, and maybe even their phone numbers, if a listed number.

Is your number listed?

Anyhow, once a person gives out their name, they've effectively given out the names, addresses, and possibly phone numbers, of their relatives who live in same city for sure, and maybe even the same state.

How do I know these things? Two reasons. One is business experiences. Two is because I once got very mutually friendly (by emails) with a girl who worked for an unnamed government agency. Of course, I didn't know who she worked for cause she told me she worked for a chiropractor's office. Next thing I know, she was calling me on my unlisted cell phone to say hi and surprise me (all she had at that time was my email address, but that was enough). Surprise! I freaked out. So she told me who she really worked for. That didn't really calm me down much, but I tried to mellow out.

We were only flirting. So no harm done, but she scared the bjeezus out of me. I won't even tell you the other things she did, and you probably wouldn't believe me anyway. All harmless fun to her, but very disturbing to me.

I don't think the general public has that kind of power, but I do know that as a businessman, I've had to look people up on the services that are available to the public, and when you look someone up you get a list of their relatives, their addresses, and I don't remember if that includes listed phone numbers or not. I haven't looked anyone up in a long time. So I don't recall all the details.

You know those online services that offer to help you find someone you went to high school with? I mean those type services. Bill collectors, businesses doing background checks or trying to collect a bill, P.I.'s, (and who knows who else?) use those services.

My guess is that either your brother gave out your number, or they got it from one of those services when they looked him up.


K.unwrapped said...

that youtube clip had me dying LOL. man those bill collectors are doing too much. i don't even know if calling relatives is legal!

The Humanity Critic said...

I feel you, whenever I get those types of calls I always want to find them and go through with a hate

Lady D said...

That is nuts. I never heard of that before. I'm sure I'll be getting one of these calls soon.