I recently changed my phone number. Today, I received a number of phone calls from an unknown entity claiming they had to make contact with the individual who last had the number, pertaining to legal documents or some other official purpose.

Some of the message is unclear, but I originally assumed the caller was an attorney, because the voicemail included the name, last four digits of the SSN, case number, two last known addresses, and a number at which the call could be returned.

Since that time, I've come to believe it is a phishing scam due to the repetitive nature of the calls as well as a family member telling me they received a similar, yet unrelated call, not too long ago.

In the event the call is legitimate, do I have a legal duty to inform the caller that they have the wrong number?

2 Answers 2


You have no legal duty to inform callers they have the wrong number. Official business is not carried out by telephone, despite the fact that some collection agencies commonly use the tactic that there is service of process forthcoming, or some other legal jargon, to entice a callback.

From a non-legal perspective, you may want to call and tell them to take you off their call list and that they have the wrong number; otherwise, they are likely to continue to bother you day and night.

It appears to be either a scam or a collections attempt.

  • 2
    "Official business is not carried out by telephone" I'm not sure that's a true statement, even though your answer stands strong even without that line.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 23:58
  • 2
    What I mean by "official" is "official legal". Lawyers do not call to say they are serving papers, nor do process servers; then have them served. Certainly business can be carried out over the phone, but anything that will have legal force and effect requires a mailing or a service to be initiated.
    – gracey209
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 0:00
  • 1
    Ha! I just got same call!!
    – gracey209
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 16:14

No; it's a scam. All legal notices have to be served by mail or in person. Which is perhaps partly why it's illegal to throw away mail for someone else.

If you are so inclined you should report them to the FCC. If you answer the call you can tell them, "Put me on your Do Not Call list." (Or you can try to get more details on who they are to report them to their state's Attorney General.) Or phone the callback number yourself and find out how much personal information they are trying to collect and under what pretext (and let us know!).


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .