Unbelievable phone call

Well, OK, it’s believable, but IMO it becomes UNbelievable since it’s the second one I’ve gotten. So, I answer the phone and this guy says “This is Blah Blah. Is this Mr DX2?” I say yes. He asks about my neighbors a couple doors down. I ask who this is again, he tells me his name. Like I care what his name is. I tell him I’m not in the habit of discussing my neighbors with strangers who call on the phone out of the blue. He tells me that he’s just asking if I know my neighbors. (which is all he’s done so far!) So, at this point, I just say “have a nice day” and hang up. I’m a bit curious and wish and I had asked better and/or more questions. What would you have done?

I would be mildly annoyed and curious about this except that this is the second call like it I’ve answered in the last year or so. I assume that my neighbors owe someone money. Which is none of my business eexcept that now it is. I’ve been drawn into it by this (presumed) bill collector. And, I might ask, what kind of job is that to have? Yuck.

And I suppose I have a question too. Do I mention this to my neighbors? What do I say?

You can mention it to them if you’re on a friendly basis with them. Otherwise, I’d strictly MYOB, and tell Nosy Pants to stop calling you.

Possible burgler, casing the joint?
Private detective?
<Johnny Fever> :eek: PHONE COP?:eek: </Johnny Fever>

Bill collector or process server most likely. They’re hoping to catch a neighbor with a grudge who will give up some information.

About ten years ago, we used to get phone calls from debt collectors asking if we could pass on a message to our neighbors. I’m not sure that they identified themselves as such but it is always painfully obvious when they call.

We never did and would, in fact, deny even knowing them.

Yep. Unmitigated buttholery right there. Gah. I hate bill collector people even more than telemarketers. It isn’t just that they get paid to do buttholey things, it’s that the job draws buttholey people as a rule. Only a butthole would do something like threaten people who don’t know better, or drag the neighborhood into someone’s private financial hell.
Again, I say, “Gah.”

Might be a skip tracer for a bail bondsman. They want a sympathetic person to lead them to relatives, etc.

Phone call? Hah, I got a piece of mail, addressed to ME, about my neighbor! I threw it in the trash. And, yes, it probably was a bill collector–I didn’t read it that closely once I realized it was regarding my neighbor (whom I don’t know well at all, and certainly wouldn’t march over and bang on his door to have him contact a bill collector!).

Geez, that’s sleazy. What kind of creep would do that for work?

Insurance investigators do this. When Joe Neighbor claims he can’t work because of a bad back or somesuch, they want to know if you see him playing softball, roofing, shoveling, etc. However, I wouldn’t offer the info regardless of who they said they are. It could just as easily be Stranger Danger.

I know, pay your bills, responsibility blah blah blah, but sneaking around the neighbours is a low thing, done by low people. I don’t know if that sort of thing is legal in this country, but they’d get a fucking earful if they tried it with me about someone in my street.

Not to stand up for the scummy ways that some bill collectors work, but unlike telemarketers, they’re calling (when they call the debtor) for a reason. The debtor might be better served by facing the bill collector or the original lender head on “Apply directly to the forehead.”, which would also give less reason for the neighbors to get involved. However, many people live by the dictum, “If I ignore it long enough, it will go away.”

Is it possible your neighbor is getting a security clearance? This could be part of the background check.

I’ve been interviewed a few times for friend’s security clearances, and the agent is always very upfront about who they are and why they’re calling, so I don’t think that’s it.

No, they’d identify themselves most likely.

Frankly, if you have outstanding debts and you are not complying with legal methods of the bill collectors, I have no problem with these tactics. As long as the bill collectors aren’t breaking the laws in that jurisdiction, why not? You can choose to cooperate or not, but I don’t see this a being a sleazy thing at all. If the neighbors truly didn’t pay their bills, I find that pretty sleazy.

Certainly there are many on both sides who abuse the system and attempt to collect debts with illegal means. A pox on both of them. But this is just business.

Yes, it is legal. They can ask for info about your neighbor but they are not legally allowed to tell you why they are calling.

These are people I am friendly with, but not friends with, if you follow. Kinda wave hello from across the fences and driving by in the car. And they are about 20 years older than me, I would guess, so I doubt there’s a brand new job and a security clearance involved.

I don’t think I’ll approach them about it, but if I see them out I’ll spill it.

If they already know where the person lives, isn’t that enough to start pursuing them? Geez, just come by the place.

It’s not just sleazy; it’s a backdoor for genuine burglars and thieves. I’m not going to answer questions about my neighbours because anyone asking those questions MIGHT be a criminal looking to rob the place.

Possible, but I agree with muldoonthief’s take on that issue. My sister applied for a “sensitive position in international diplomacy” several years ago, and the relevant agency’s employees let our former neighbors in Ohio (they’re still there, she and I are the ones who’ve since separately left) know exactly which “company” was investigating. Years before that, the same ex-neighbors (I’ll call them the Davises) were visited by an agent of a more domestically-centered intelligence network, who revealed his employer’s name as he inquired about a recent applicant who at the time lived across the street from the Davises. On each occasion, the Davises said that they had been told they were free to mention that they had been contacted, but could not legally mention any specifics of the conversations.

Investigators of various types I can understand, but a bill collector? What exactly is he going to get from a neighbor that’s going to help him collect a bill?