Hi, you’ve reached the wrong number. Dumbass.

So I’ve had the same phone number for…five years? Six? I don’t remember. When I first got it and started getting calls for a certain business – we’ll call it Brooklyn Designs – I figured that Brooklyn Designs had had the number before me, and that the wrong number calls would taper off as their new number got spread around.

But they didn’t, they stayed steady. Not only did someone call just about every day for Brooklyn Designs, they were often nasty when I told them I wasn’t Brooklyn Designs, but a private person. And no, I had no idea how they could reach Brooklyn Designs.

It turned out they could reach Brooklyn Designs simply by reversing two numbers. At least one person a day was misdialing my number. So OK, these people weren’t paying attention, and the wrong number calls were never going to stop because there was always going to be someone making that same mistake. Fantastic.

I got used to answering calls that weren’t meant for me. But what really bugged me were the messages. I think my outgoing message sounds nothing like the message a business would have. For one thing, I say you’ve reached Amy.  I don’t mention any business, let alone the one they’re calling for. That should be a tip-off.

I’ve been calling back every message, usually about one a week. I didn’t want someone out there wondering why the hell Brooklyn Designs hadn’t called them back. But several hundred calls later, I’m getting a little sick of it!

So here’s my question: is it my responsibility to call these people back and tell them they left a message for the wrong person? Should I just delete them? Should I change my outgoing message to mention that I’m not Brooklyn Designs? Or should I maybe mention that I’m “otherwise known as Selfish Mom” so that they might get a clue that they called the wrong number? What would you do?

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.


  1. says

    Haha.. okay. This made me laugh. I’m sorry it’s happening to you. I wouldn’t think it’s your responsibility to call these people back. BUT, I would probably put in my messages that I am not Brooklyn Designs.. b/c I am a smart ass like that.

    • says

      @Rachel: I so don’t want to go that route, but if I do I have the evil urge to say “And if you think you’ve reached Brooklyn Designs, then you need to stop trying to do three other things while dialing a phone.”

      • Kelly says

        @Amy: Oh please do this. and then laugh, not snarkily but tinkly. I can’t stop cackling. Crap, this and the bra story now I have to get your RSS feed.

  2. says

    Wow. You’re a lot nicer than I am. I would have called a few people back, but not on a continuous basis. I think I’d just change my message to say you’re not Brooklyn Designs and if they still leave a message, you’re off the hook. Or change your number. (Which would suck because then you’d have to change it *everywhere*.)

  3. says

    Yes, you should continue to call them back forever.

    I used to have a phone number that was one digit off Sparks Steakhouse. We got calls ALL THE TIME. One time, I even took a reservation.

  4. says

    we used to get call for splish splash, a waterpark and also 6 flags because the the number was erroneously listed on cans of coke !!! spoke to a lawyer and lets just say we had many many free day passes to 6 flags!!

    • says

      @joyce: That’s awesome. I don’t understand how something like that could get all the way onto a can without someone double checking! It’s like when I see a misspelled word on an awning. Really? Nobody noticed that in the entire manufacturing process?

  5. says

    I can’t believe you actually call people back to let them know they had the wrong number! You are too good. I think I would say something on my voicemail message and leave it at that. Or I’d rigorously screen all my calls.

  6. Stacerella says

    Easiest way to get the msg across is to change your v/m to a child’s voice saying something like, “Hi, this is my mommy’s phone. She’s an awesome stay-at-home mom blogger. Please leave her a msg so she’ll return your call.” Often times, when I call people at home to let them know their computer is ready for pick up, I know when it’s a home by the child’s voice. No office or design company would let their kid record their outgoing msg unless they worked in child care specifically.

    Also, even after 8 yrs, we still get people misdialing and using a 1+area code to dial us 4 cities over, and when we tell them they’ve called a computer store, they still want us to transfer them to the oil change department to book their car. Sooooo… being all nice and shiz, I put them on hold and park them there till they hang up.

    Not my department, not my problem.

  7. Stacerella says

    Oh, and it turns out 90% of the misinformed callers we got told us their oil change reminding letter they got from their local car dealership specifically stated our store number. Clearly the dealership can’t proof for shit because their phone number starts with an 884 instead of 844 like ours does. D-oh.

  8. says

    You are way too nice! I don’t think you have ANY obligation to call anyone back about this. It’s not your fault they can’t dial a phone. I would screen my calls & just delete if it’s a wrong number. If you don’t want to change your number or put that you’re not Brooklyn Designs on your message, you might want to call the store and tell them what’s happening. Kindly suggest THEY change their number or you’ll start telling everyone THEY went out of business! ;-)

    • says

      @Chrisor: Oh that’s so mean, I don’t think I could do that! So when is technology going to autodial everything right from our brains? My problem will be solved then!

  9. says

    Your post title is what I day when a wrong number calls back twice in a row.

    I can’t believe you call people back. You are too nice.
    I’d just delete the messages.

    • says

      @Patty: Oh, that drives me nuts too. To combat that I always try to ask the caller which number they were trying to call, so at least they know if they mis-dialed or just were given the wrong number, without calling me back!

  10. Elissa says

    How about this?

    “Hi. Here is today’s design tip: paisely is in! Chintz is out! Your number is wrong!

    Thank you!”

    • says

      @Elissa: I could do really evil messages too, see if I have a ripple effect on the fashion industry. “Corduroy tights are the new hotness, don’t get left out!”

  11. says

    On opposite sides of the country, several years apart, I’ve had the same experience: the person who last had my number continues to give it out. And they’re dodging creditors. Try getting someone else’s creditor to stop calling.

    • says

      @Tragic Sandwich: I feel your pain here, because we get the same thing all the time, the same person/family has been using our phone number for three years to dodge creditors. And then when they do a reverse-phone-lookup they start sending MAIL to your address for the evil brats too. There is no reasoning with them at all either, they think you’re just pretending to be someone else and that you’re really the person that owes them $50,000. Our lawyer told us not to worry about it unless anything showed up on our credit report… which so far it has not thank goodness.

  12. Beth says

    I used to get daily calls from a Latin grocery store a few towns away. I guess they thought I was a vendor or something, but since I am not bilingual, I never really understood, nor did they when I would try to explain the mistake.

    We blocked the phone number.

    2 months ago, we switched phone carriers for the first time in 8 years. THE NEXT DAY: Call from the Latin grocery store.

  13. says

    I just had to comment, because I’ve had a somewhat similar experience. No, my name is NOT Jennifer nor do I ever go to your dental office…why would I lie about that?


    Perhaps, you should change your voicemail message to something like, Hi You have reached Amy…if you are trying to reach Brooklyn Designs, please call # here (if you have there number; or just say “you have the wrong number”).

    I do not think it’s your responsibility at all. How annoying that must be!

  14. DeeDee says

    The last four digits of our number is veryclose to a local pizza place. 5575 vs. 5755 so…we get calls for them all the time. Every single time we’re tempted to take the order!

  15. says

    When hubby and I first got married, our apartment phone number was one digit different than the local Best Buy’s and we got about a call a day for them. I took to answering the phone “This is NOT Best Buy, can I help you?” and even changed our answering machine to mention that we were NOT Best Buy. I figured if someone left a message for BB after that, they deserved to not get a call back!

  16. says

    I do not believe you would need to take it upon yourself to let people know. My husband gets calls for a local fireplace business. Come to find out the business published the number incorrectly in an ad. UGH.

  17. says

    Wow, you’ve been calling them ALL back? You are a better man than I am, Gunga Din. Except I know you’re pretty much the same man I am :) so I’m doubly impressed.

    You absolutely don’t have any responsibility to call these people back. I wouldn’t change your outgoing message, though, for the reasons you say. In other words, there is no real answer, other than A) hope they taper off, or B) change your number.

    It’s entirely possible that it’s not just that people are transposing numbers. “Brooklyn Designs” may have misprinted their number on some literature. Have you thought about checking with them?

    • says

      @Toni: I don’t want to change it either. I like the idea of having Fiona do the message. I mean, who would have their business’s outgoing message done by a kid? If the caller isn’t paying attention enough to realize something’s up, then they don’t deserve to be called back.

  18. Sarah says

    We’re one digit off the number of a public school, so we get a fair number of calls (including one at 7am today). I phone them back if they leave a message, but that’s very unusual: they realize that we’re not PS whatever fairly quickly. I did get a series of messages from a Legal Aid lawyer trying to phone a client about a month ago, who clearly didn’t realize it was a wrong number, so I phoned back and left a message, since that could have been urgent. Interestingly, we get a LOT of mail for other people at our address, usually to the same few people. I just write “not at this address, return to sender” and hope for the best.

  19. says

    I really like the idea of having your daughter do your outgoing message on the voice mail, that sounds like a good solution all around. And if they still leave messages it’s either a really interesting design company that let’s their kids answer the phones and talk to clients, or these people are just plain confused all around LOL

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