DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’m having a hard time having telephone calls billed to me that are not mine. For the last two months I have been billed for four calls to Quebec that are not mine.

The next month I was charged for three calls to Caldwell, N.J., that weren’t mine. They refused to give me credit. What can I do to stop the scamming?

I’m a senior citizen, and no one lives with me. — No Name, Norway

ANSWER: Sun Spots wishes you had provided more information or sent a copy of the bill, which might offer some more information. What time of day are the calls? Are they made from a third-party phone or calling card? Do you live in an apartment building where some clever person might have tapped into your phone line?

If you write to the Federal Communications Commission (Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Complaints, 445 12th St. SW, Washington, DC 20554) with your complaint, send them a copy of the disputed bills. Or send them to Sun Spots and she will see what she can find out.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am writing in response to the March 8 letter from the person who was getting collection calls for someone who had had the same phone number previously.

My situation was a bit different. I was divorced in 1991 but continued to get calls for my ex-husband, who had put me down as a contact person. I had moved and remarried but still the calls came.

I called the Lewiston Police Department and was told to write the Federal Communications Commission. I did so and got back a long letter telling me they could not help.

Then my sister sent me a Dear Abby column about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which said that collection agencies could not pester me other than to ask where the person sought lives or work. It said if the calls continue to contact the Federal Trade Commission by calling 877-382-4357 or visiting www.ftc.gov.

I called and gave them all the information I had on the man, and it has been more than three months since I have heard from the collection agencies. I’m hoping that this will be the end of the calls; I have my fingers and toes crossed. — Judy, Lewiston

ANSWER: Judy’s letter illustrates a very common misunderstanding. It seems as though the Federal Communications Commission would regulate these phone calls, but it is the Federal Trade Commission.

With the first letter in the column, the dispute is with the phone company. With calls from a collection agency, the problem is not with the phone company but with another business. Collection phone calls are the result of commerce that went awry, and you could be contacted not just by phone, but by mail or even in person. So those calls are regulated by the FTC.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Someone who works for a social service agency in Lewiston dumped a lot of personal papers  in my backyard. This woman threw out Social Security numbers, mental health info, parents personal information, work information along with other stuff from CDs. There is information about the food program, emergency info, etc.

What do I do with this stuff? This woman has obviously broken some kind of privacy law and showed complete contempt and disrespect for these families and her job. — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots wishes you’d offered a few more details. You seem to know who threw the papers out. Could it be a neighbor who intended to burn the papers, but they blew into your yard?

At any rate, you should notify the agency (the name of which Sun Spots withheld) so that it can properly dispose of those papers. 

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.