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The High Cost of Robocalls to the Wrong Number

smart phone with an incoming call from unknown

With spam calls on the rise, consumers might already expect telemarketers, scammers, and debt collectors to stay in constant contact. Most consumers can recognize a robocall and know the consequences of answering. While it’s unlikely you can put an end to these calls entirely, an attorney may be able to help you recover damages for robocalls to the wrong number.

What is a robocaller?

Robocalls are easily identifiable as calls that feature a pre-recorded or computer-generated voice. Generally, robocalls come from an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS) programmed to call numbers from a massive database. The calls can go out to the same number repeatedly and automatically. The combination of an autodialer with an automated message is a powerful tool for companies selling a product or service, debt collectors or scammers to reach thousands more quickly.

Why am I getting robocalls asking for someone else?

The databases from which autodialers draw new numbers often contains scores of outdated information. For that reason, erroneous calls are frequent. In addition, companies contacting consumers often do not take the time to verify the information they are using. This is especially damaging if they are contacting someone who has not given consent to receive calls.

Another reason for robocalls to the wrong person is a debt collection tactic known as “skip-tracing”. Skip tracing is the process by which a debt collector tries to track down a debtor based on his or her known contacts. This tactic, however invasive, is legal if the caller acquires the information legally. If you inherit a number and the person who previously held it was associated with someone facing debt collectors, you might get calls asking for someone you don’t even know.

Are robocalls to the wrong number illegal?

Generally, unsolicited robocalls (or a call to a consumer who has not consented) are illegal. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives millions of consumers’ reports each year complaining about these calls. However, it can be difficult to act against the vast networks of automated systems, data miners, and scammers who can shift their operations as quickly as they are pinned down. What’s more, proving wrongdoing can be an uphill battle for consumers who are not familiar with their rights.

What can I do to stop robocallers who have the wrong number?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is the consumer’s first and strongest defense against unwanted calls of many types. The law restricts which automatic dialing systems debt collectors can use and how.

In the case of mistaken identity, your first step is to notify the caller they have the wrong number. If you do this and continue to receive harassment, you may be able to sue for damages. A qualified TCPA attorney can help you assess your individual case and, if possible, sue the perpetrator.

What is the penalty for violating the TCPA?

Each violation can cost the caller between $500 and $1500. What’s more, there is no cap on these damages—meaning a violator could pay a separate fee for each violation.


Repeated robocalls to your phone asking for another person is, in many cases, illegal. However, proving wrongdoing and an intentional disregard for the TCPA can be difficult. Our accomplished attorneys staunchly defend consumer rights across North Carolina. If you are receiving repeated calls from an automatic dialer asking for someone else, contact our office today. A member of our staff may ask for pertinent documentation before speaking with an attorney.

You can reach us at (919) 526-0450 or through our contact page.