When Carole and I got married back in 1997, we started getting tons of phone spam from people wanting to sell us stuff. Apparently Durham County, NC routinely sold a list of newlywed couples to marketers (some of them referenced this fact) and we were the unwitting beneficiaries. So we changed our phone number to avoid getting eight to ten calls EVERY EVENING from people trying to sell us on stuff that newlywed couples apparently were deemed to need (aluminum siding, baby supplies, you name it).
And the phone company happily gave us the number of a MAJOR, um, “credit risk” — let’s call her “Tammy” — who had been using the number up until a week or so previously. We started getting dozens of calls from her creditors daily, way into the evening, sometimes in the middle of the night.
We also started getting calls from “Tammy’s” mother, who clearly didn’t believe that we didn’t know where her daughter was or that her daughter was in any way doing shady stuff that would have Guido and Nunzio and every other debt collector in a five-state radius out looking for her.
I’d always heard that phone companies didn’t reissue phone numbers for X months, but clearly that wasn’t the case here. Nice fresh debts, references to conversations “last week”, you name it. It was useless trying to tell people that we were not the “Tammy” they were looking for.
So we had to change our number again. We asked very very politely for a number that hadn’t been in use for at least six months and this time around all went as one would hope. No weird calls other than those from our friends.
(All this was on top of the power company getting us confused with another customer in our apartment complex who was moving out. When we got back from our honeymoon, our power had been off for about a week. Yeah.)