867-5309/Nicole

We’ve lived in our current house for 18 years and had the same phone number for that period. But about two years ago, we began to receive frequent (a few a month) phone calls asking for “Nicole Berman.”

We don’t know anyone by that name. And I’ve told the callers that.

But apparently, Nicole may owe some money to creditors. A variety of them, too, based on the calls, which have come from rent-to-owns, credit card companies and other unidentified 1-877 numbers.

Maybe Nicole once had our phone number. Maybe she accidentally transposed a few digits on an application and it’s subsequently been picked up by other companies desperately seeking Nicole. You would think, though, that if just a digit had been transposed, there would still be someone by her name living in my area code, but there does not seem to be. I’ve checked. I mean, I did want to pass these messages along to her . . .

There are other, more nefarious explanations, I guess. I prefer not to think about those.

So I’m resigned to answering calls for Nicole Berman. They interrupt housecleaning or naps on the occasional day off. They take me away from cooking or laundry, pull me out of the shower too soon, bring me in from weeding, or just make me get up from a good book. At the risk it might actually be someone I want to talk to, I generally answer.

I don’t like getting her calls. But what I really don’t like is when the caller does not believe that he or she has the incorrect phone number for his/her prey.

“Well, do you know Nicole?” last week’s caller asked me, after I’d patiently explained there was no one by that name at our residence, never had been, and that we’d had this phone number for nearly 20 years.

“Are you sure you’re not Nicole Berman and trying to avoid talking to Acme credit?” bullied another. “That never works, you should know.”

Sometimes it’s a tinny electronic voice in our voice mail: “Wee r trying to reach Neecole-eh Berrrrman.”

“If you hear from Nicole,” another creditor sighed, “please give her our message.” Alrigghtty then.

I saw an ad recently for how to deal with creditors that bully and harass. I just don’t know if it applies to you when you’re not actually the debtor . . .

I don’t know Nicole. Really and truly. But I wish she’d pay her damned bills. Or get her credit report data up to date. And if I ever do come across her, she may get a bill from me for administrative costs. My secretarial skills do not come cheaply.

Now, about Ron Smith. We got four — count ’em, FOUR! — calls for him yesterday from Citicard . . . .

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2 thoughts on “867-5309/Nicole

  1. Or, try having the only other “Corzine” surname listed in the tri-state area and have creditors call for your ex brother-in-law or sister-in-law. Of course, I get great pleasure in saying, “Yes, I do know where you can reach them. Let me get my address book.” 🙂

  2. Great blog entry, Tricia! Maybe I’m just partial because I’m dealing with the same thing. Appears that a Ronald Lees has a run up a whole lot of debt, too. As I’m just listed as “R. Lees” in the directory, every creditor who comes across “R.” thinks they have finally found him. And there are a whole lot of creditors! Some are actually sympathetic when I explain, but the majority really seem to believe I’m harboring a fugitive!

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