Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sorry, you have the wrong number

When we moved to Ripon we had to change our phone number. All the home phone numbers in Ripon begin with the same three digits. The local video store doesn’t have any sort of fancy check out cards or little key chain cards that they scan; you simply give your phone number. In fact you can just give the last four digits, because they already know what the first three are.

Our phone number once belonged to someone named Jacqueline Jackson. Jacqueline’s husband might be named Jermaine…but I’m not quite sure, I could be subconsciously giving Mr. Jackson one of the Jackson 5’s names. Another lady named Jessica Ramirez had my phone number, funny that her name is Jessica, also.

No one calls my house phone besides work, my friend Casie if she can’t get through to my cell phone, and the people looking for the Jacksons.

Every day someone calls looking for the Jacksons. These "someones "are usually debt collectors. Banks, credit card and phone companies, perhaps the IRS… call my house every day. We have caller ID, sometimes I answer, and sometimes I don’t.

In the beginning I was very annoyed. We lived across town, had a different phone and answering machine, which would beep until I listened to the message. This would interrupt my already horrible day time sleep schedule. Not to mention we only had one phone, kept in the kitchen, and I would have to run across the house to answer it. If I chose to answer the phone I would tell them they had the wrong number and ask if they could take us off their calling list. Sometimes the people would just hang up, that would infuriate me. Others would apologize and promise to take us off the list, only to have a different person call from the same company the next day.

One time I was expressing my frustration to my husband, so he answered the next call. He laid it into them. Well laid it into them comparatively. My little child voice probably wasn’t taken as seriously as his loud stern man voice. The man apologized and actually did take us off the calling list for that particular company.

Since moving we have a new phone with new answering machine that doesn’t beep until I listen to the message. It doesn’t annoy me as much anymore. One time one of the local gas stations called looking for a person who had purchased gas there in the morning. I figured it was my husband because he would often fill up with gas before work. I had him call them back. Apparently someone with our telephone number used a bad credit card at the gas station that morning. After talking to the gas station man, they figured out that it was Mr. Jackson. How strange that the reason for my “wrong phone number problem” was in the same spot at roughly the same time as my husband.

Lately a representative for Mr. Lynch has been calling. It’s an automated message that says something like, “Due to the nature of this phone call we cannot disclose what it is about, please call 1-800 blah blah blah to speak with Mr. lynch as soon as possible.” I already know what it is about. I have not called Mr. Lynch back.

One night I was on call for work, so I kept the house phone by my night stand. The phone rang early in the morning, I answered. The lady was looking for Jessica. I said,"This is her." She went on to say how I needed to contact some credit card company … I was confused. I’ve never been late for a bill in my life. After coming to my senses I thought maybe this had something to do with the Jacksons. I asked what was the last name of this “Jessica” it was Ramirez. I explained she had the wrong Jessica she read me some social security number asking if it was mine …its wasn’t , but I still thought it was weird that she was telling me this lady’s social.

I forgot about Ms. Ramirez until about 3 months ago, when a lady called claiming to be Ms. Ramirez’s mother. She said that her daughter had received a collections bill from Verizon with Jessica Ramirez’s name on it, but my phone number. So she called my number to investigate. I explained my name was Jessica and I did in fact use Verizon, but there had been a mistake. I don’t know why I was explaining myself to this lady? It wasn’t my problem.

Later Mrs. Ramirez and Jessica Ramirez called together. Again why I kept talking to them I had no idea. At first Jessica was very accusing. I then started to explain that we hadn’t had the phone number for that long and I explained the Jackson problem. She started to tone it down and said her social security number had been stolen. I felt bad. I told her how I have a job, I pay my bills, and I would NEVER steal someone’s social. She could have chose not to believe me, but she did. She apologized and asked if I could forward any calls I get regarding her credit status and left me her phone number. I told her I would. Again it’s not my problem, but I felt so bad for her, I promised I would.

No one has called about Jessica since our conversation, and to be honest I don’t know what I did with her phone number. The Jacksons and Jessica both have a sad story. The Jacksons can’t pay their bills. Maybe they have the same problem that a lot of Americans do right now, a crazy mortgage, a job loss, and debt up the wazoo? Maybe they made some wrong decisions? Maybe I shouldn't feel bad for them? Perhaps they are the kind of people who buy a plasma TV instead of pay their PG&E bill? I guess it’s sad either way.

Jessica on the other hand has no control over her situation. A horrible thing happened to her. Her identity was stolen. What a mess. Sometimes I wonder if the Jacksons and Jessica are connected…maybe the Jacksons stole Jessica’s social security number? Who knows, it’s not for me to figure out, but I think if Jessica ever calls me again I will disclose my theory.

For now I will just let the phone ring and answer if I feel like it. I guess we could change our number. That would probably be smart, but then what if Jessica calls, what if I can help her catch the Jacksons?

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