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Names and Debt…


My husband has a very common first name. Paired with his somewhat common last name, it’s fairly easy to confuse him with another person on paper. Over the last year, it has started to cause problems.

I’ve mentioned before, there is a person with my husband’s name who has awful credit and is in collections on multiple accounts. We live less than 15 miles from each other.

Lazy collections companies do searches based on first and last name and proximity to the last known address resulting in…

My husband getting A LOT of collection calls lately.

He has to call each one, straighten out the confusion, and pray they stop calling. Some do. Others don’t. But whenever one stops, another starts.

I thought we were the only ones who suffered from this annoying problem until I shared my annoyance with my dentist. She laughed and said she and her husband had the same problem – they even had to fight a lien against their home!

Based on the sheer annoyance and time spent fighting this never-ending battle, we’ve decided to name our child 457983. That way, our kid won’t have annoying collections calls that don’t belong. Sure, they may struggle through elementary school but they’ll thank me later.

Is it just us? Or do you have the same problem?


  • Reply Jenn |

    I don’t really have that problem (the only people in the phone book with my last name are relatives), but I remember my mom had someone with her same full name passing bad checks somewhere else in the state. It was some podunk little town and they expected her to come to court there… they figured out it wasn’t her when she had to ask how to get to the courthouse, that’s how small the town was. The clerk said, oh this can’t be you lol

  • Reply jaye |

    My husband, who is Mexican, and has a very Mexican name, came up against this when he was getting his green card. It wasn’t a credit issue, however, it was a warrant for his arrest in Texas.
    Glad that’s over!

  • Reply Andy |

    I have this problem at work. I get over a dozen phone calls a day looking for a certain indivdual who I will call “SL”. She must have given her creditors a random phone number (to throw them off her trail) that just happened to be my work number. No matter what I tell the collector on the other end of the phone, they don’t seem to believe me.

    I can oly imagine how frustrating this is for you and your husband.

  • Reply creditcardfree |

    I get collection calls for my brother in law. Personally, I simply deny knowing him and tell them they have the wrong number. The calls stop pertty quick, but it is still annoying.

  • Reply jolie |

    My husband has a very common first and last name and we have had our share of credit calls from the other guy in town with this name. DH even had money taken out of his account causing a series of bounced cheques, back in the day. It took him over three months to get that all cleared up and the bank did not make it a smooth process. He left that bank and moved to another bank, making sure the other guy didn’t have accounts at the new bank.

  • Reply christy |

    My husband and his father have the same name, so my FIL’s credit info often shows up on my husbands credit report. But fortunately for us, it is always good info – not bad.

  • Reply Dylan |

    I grew up in a small town (less than 2000 people) and there was a woman who had a bad habit of writing rubber cheques. Unfortunately, she also had the same name as my sister. Oy. It’s not a problem anymore as my sister got married.

  • Reply Nichole@40daysof |

    My husband has this problem as well. I’ve started being extremely forceful and even bitchy when they call. I explain that there are at least four people with my husband’s name in our metro area. That they need to remove our number and find the right guy. If they call again after I have asked for the removal of our number, I threaten to complain to our state AG and the FTC. That usually does it.

    It’s the recorded collection calls that we can’t seem to stop. I’d rather have a human being to “reason with” any day of the week.

  • Reply Kaye |

    We don’t have this issues at all. We are the only people with our peculiar last name in the entire greater Savannah area. So I guess this slightly makes up for the fact we constantly have to spell our last name to everyone who asks or pronounce it for everyone who sees it. Sigh…

  • Reply Jen |

    I’ve never been confused for another person with the same first and last names, but I did get confused with people who have the same last name and first initial. When I first checked my credit report I was surprised and amused to discover they had me down for a mortgage that was taken out when I was 5!! All because the real homeowner had the same last name and first initial.

    It was very easy to have it removed 😉

  • Reply Dayna |

    My maiden name is somewhat unusual, so if you met someone with the same last name chances were we were related. But I remember when I was growing up there was a deadbeat who had the same first and last name as my dad, and lived in the same rural area but was no relation. It generated some strange phone calls.

    Now I’m married to a man who has the same first and last names as an older man in our town. Fortunately, this other man is a decent guy, but it still has resulted in strange situations — a call from the police following up on something. When we bought our first house, we realized our credit report showed my husband already owned a house. I gave him a hard time about sticking me in a small one bedroom apartment while he enjoyed a spacious home.

  • Reply Jean |

    I have encountered this problem over the years, but it was not associated with my name – it was associated with an old address. I kept my telephone number when I moved, and people would call my number looking for the person who had moved into my old house. I would always call back & tell them I wasn’t the person they were looking for, and they would stop – for awhile. Debt collectors ARE lazy when it comes to tracking people down.

  • Reply Honey |

    My first name is VERY unusual, and so is my fiance’s last name, so we have been safe thus far. Though his brother is probably going to declare bankruptcy and is just the type of person who will drag you down with him if he can, which is why we haven’t talked to him in at least 3 years.

  • Reply Makky's Mom |

    My husband shares his name with a semi-famous singer, who also happens to live in the next town over (about 15km away from us). Granted, this doesn’t cause us any problems, but we do get asked if he’s the singer guy all the time! Thank goodness this other guy doesn’t have bad credit!!!

  • Reply GrannyAnnie |

    My husband and his father had the same name, and we lived on the same street. We were initially denied approval for our mortgage b/c my father in law had too much credit use already. It took a couple of months, loads of paperwork to several entities, and much frustration to clear this up. I now also monitor our credit report quarterly to be sure nothing else shows up. Major hassle. No way would I name my kids the same.

  • Reply Marlena |

    We recently refinanced and found out that there was a lien against our home. The guy had the same first and last name as my husband, but a different middle name. I was really mad about it. They should have to check somehow that they have the right person before they put a lien on the title of their home! Luckily, our mortgage lender took care of it for us and we simply had to sign a form, but I would have been furious if I had to get an attorney to get it off there. We get calls constantly for other people. Very irritating.

  • Reply Becky |

    It hasnt happened to me for the same name, but as soon as I connected my landline after moving here, it started ringing looking for some dude named Collin. When I answered the calls and told them they had the wrong number, the call frequency drastically increased. I started screening all calls and only answer those coming from people/places I could identify by caller ID – after awhile (about 2 years!!) those collection agencies stopped calling.

  • Reply Amanda |

    I haven’t had this issue with credit, but when I started high school there was a girl in the senior class with the name Mandy MyLastName. I’ve never gone by Mandy, ever, but I got a letter stating that I wouldn’t be graduating due to poor academic performance. I was a freshman.

  • Reply Tonya |

    We have dealt with this as well, due to my husband’s name. The WORST was a shipping company that extended credit to someone with his name who never paid. I kept telling them they had the wrong person that we had never used a shipping company. They would insist it was at our previous address (just a street a few over from ours)…..but our previous address was in another state! It took MONTHS to get it to stop and then they sent me a letter telling me they were writing off the debt and closing the case. I was furious. I called back and told them I didn’t want it associated with us and didn’t want our credit dinged by a “write-off”. I was assured that was a form letter and they were persuing the actual person for the debt, they had hired a company. Within a month I got a call from the company they hired on my cell phone wanting to talk about it. I almost screamed. But they stopped after one call.

    When my daughter got a cell phone we got collection calls for the person who had the number before her. Most were reasonable and removed the number from their system. One, however, wanted all my info (I wouldn’t let my daughter take the calls) before they would believe that I wasn’t the party they were trying to reach….NO I’m not giving you my info, I don’t even know this person.

  • Reply Penny |

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. My dad and I have similar names that are the same except for the final letter (mine has a y). Since we lived at the same address for much of my life, various items appeared on his report, then mine, and so on. One was an AT&T phone bill that belonged to him and bopped back and forth between our credit reports for nine years. Magical!

    This is quite common, unfortunately. The National Consumer Law Center published an excellent report on it that is available here:

    I found a few items in it especially enlightening. I didn’t know that it is the credit card companies themselves, Visa and such, that pay the credit reporting agencies. The credit reporting agencies have no incentive to bite the hand that feeds them and push hard for higher quality data. Also entertaining, if sad, is the testimony of call center workers on their lack of power in pursuing corrections.

  • Reply Claire in CA, USA |

    The only problem we’ve had with collectors is due to my husband’s cousin. Same last name, first name is the same as husband’s middle, same town. The jerks called cousin’s disabled mom who lives in TN (we live in CA), and harassed her until she gave them her son’s phone numbers. They called my husband, as well. He must have said the right thing, because they haven’t called back. 🙂

    I’ve done web searches for my name, and it appears I am the only one in the country. So far, so good.

  • Reply kevin |

    Your husband should change his name to avoid legal complications. However, naming your child that kind of name, seems a bit too odd. This problem should be complained to the municipal office immediately.

  • Reply Craig |

    Debt collectors are ruthless. Most of them wouldn’t care if you were the wrong person. Luckily my name is not that common.

  • Reply Kevin Yu |

    That happens a lot when you move into a new residence or business and get a new phone number. I know, it’s really annoying. Ask to speak with a supervisor and threaten to file a complaint with the FTC..that’s what I did.

  • Reply lizeth |

    I recently acquired internet service from a cable/internet company. Everything was great until yesterday my service was discontinued. I thought it was due to me having changed the card on the autopayment system so i called And paid my $35 Bill for this month. Was told my service would be reconnected in a few minutes.Needless to say-it wasn’t! I called the company earlier and asked them why my service wasnt On yet and some guy told me it was because my account had been linked to another 2 accounts that owed $28-ish i asked him how that Was possible its the first time i opened an account with them? And he just gave me the number for collection. I told him i wanted t cancel my account because they denied me service and he transferred me. The person i was transffered to told me i could just go and return the modem and my service would be cancelled. I asked her about the payment i had just made, it was for this upcoming month. I wanted to get it refunded. She told.me that money was put into the debt Linked to my account. I insisted i only had one account with them but they didnt listen they said the two other accounts linked were linked because of my last name and because of my address. I’ve just moved here about a year ago. These other two accounts i was told were from 2006 and even thoufh i told her i didnt know these people, they didnt care. Any help on how to get this cleared up? Oh they also lied. The woman told me mu service had.been cancelled since october. And when. Told her that was incorrect she then said my service had been interrupted twice and that someone had called and connected it and that whoever had called them had been told to provide proof of a different residency to prove i had just moved there. Needless to say they lied because i am the only one Living here.

So, what do you think ?