Flipping Grief
November 9, 2023 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Oh, that is a hard read. That poor family, and that poor young man.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:35 PM on November 9, 2023 [2 favorites]

Damn. Very powerful writing.
posted by luckynerd at 2:08 PM on November 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

Yeah...this is a thing and thank gawd I'm not going through what she's going through (at worst, a minor annoyance). I get *at least* 3 text messages a week from random numbers that start with some variation of "Hey Anna" (my name isn't Anna), this is (rando first name) and pitching me on selling my house at (address I don't live at), which they have invariably 'just driven by'. No amount of 'take me off your list' slows them down for a second. And it's not centralized or completely automated...these are individual garbage-people and/or garbage-companies who have purchased a list someplace and are trying to grift me. I guess I can take some solace in thinking "you paid money for a crappy, inaccurate list".

I don't know Anna, and I sure hope she doesn't fall into the "life has shit on you, and the smell has attracted the slimy bottom feeders". It's a lovely house in a very nice neighborhood (it's not far from where I live, and close to some bars I like...totally not stalking). Not sure how my phone number got mixed up with her identity, but we're apparently doomed to be associated in some pack of scumbags list of "people we can hopefully prey on".
posted by kjs3 at 2:13 PM on November 9, 2023 [5 favorites]

I feel very sorry for this family and the brother. It's a loss no one should have to go through. I also think this essay would be a little more honest if it reckoned a little more fully with the fact that his brother was, at the end of his life, an adult whose nice apartment was built on the backs of illegal immigrants he consciously chose to exploit. Not just a wide-eyed victim of the system, but someone who went out of his way to participate. It's there, in the corner of the room, watching, but seen only out of the corner of the eye.
posted by praemunire at 2:17 PM on November 9, 2023 [3 favorites]

posted by limeonaire at 2:22 PM on November 9, 2023

I get *at least* 3 text messages a week from random numbers that start with some variation of "Hey Anna" (my name isn't Anna), this is (rando first name) and pitching me on selling my house at (address I don't live at), which they have invariably 'just driven by'.

Six years ago, my wife was let go from her job. Unfortunately, her phone had been provided by her employer (yeah, yeah, I know) and she lost it and her number. So, she had to get a new phone and number. Verizon assigned her a new number.

Within a couple of months, she started getting calls for “Bonnie” who apparently owed someone a lot of money. She would get several a day. And texts. Verizon had obviously reused a very-recently-vacated number. But, by that time, she had established her new number everywhere, and starting over with yet another number just wasn’t going to work.

The calls have let up considerably, but she still gets a few every week.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:53 PM on November 9, 2023

I've had my phone and accompanying number since 2018. The previous holder of the number owed money. I still get collection-agency robocalls -- managed to reach someone at one agency and tell them to leave me alone, but the currently most persistent one doesn't offer any obvious way to tell them that this dude hasn't had this number for five years.
posted by irrelephant at 3:04 PM on November 9, 2023

A year or so after the funeral, that man’s own son, the friend, died from a fentanyl overdose. Two other young people who mourned Conor at his funeral have since died from fentanyl overdoses. The daughter of my brother-in-law has since died from a fentanyl overdose. I don’t know how to grieve or accept when the whole is grievous and unacceptable.

posted by chavenet at 3:28 PM on November 9, 2023 [7 favorites]

I get a few dozen of these messages a week. I also get messages from people who aren't in my contacts but really do need to reach me. So I end up engaging with some of them (not the ones that start out "hi Anna"). The best one was taking me down some rabbit hole, so I said "is this the part where you send me stock pictures of absurdly large breasts?" and "she" promptly responded, "go away, you male dog in heat" which is still one of the best text messages I've ever gotten.
posted by nixxon at 4:01 PM on November 9, 2023 [4 favorites]

This is a terrible story (and I also noticed the way the decedent's fortune, such as it was, was built on the sweat of immigrants). But the fucking calls, man.

My mother lived in a rehab/hospice facility for the last few months of her life, and we moved her mail to my address. I was living in Austin off Oltorf, south of the river, a couple of miles from the Oracle campus (still in planning stages then), and when she died the scumbags would not stop calling and sending "handwritten" notes in the hopes I'd sell the house on the cheap and they'd make a mint. My mom had Alzheimer's and I'd done a lot of anticipatory grieving, so it made me angry more than anything else, but the thought of someone who was really suffering from an unexpected death really hit me where I live (and infuriated me on the poor family's behalf).

A friend's adult stepdaughter died without warning this week. She left four kids under 11 and a husband and the thought that this grieving family is going to get chased by the house ghouls is also infuriating.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 5:04 PM on November 9, 2023 [3 favorites]

Verizon had obviously reused a very-recently-vacated number.

Unfortunately, that might not be true. There's a 'sewage flowing downhill' aspect to the collections racket that might be in play here. Basically (oversimplified), the initial lender will try and collect from the debtor. They'll spend a certain amount of time/money doing that, but at some point it's not worth it and they decide to take a loss and sell the debit to a collections agent for some number of pennies on the dollar. These first-tier collections folks are big/visible enough they kinda-sorta play lip service to the rules of engagement (like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in the US). And they have a cost model, too, and eventually they'll decide that they don't want to keep that debt around anymore, sometimes because after a certain amount of time it's illegal to try and collect it. So what do they do? They sell it down to the next lower tier to make a few bucks, and the people at those tiers know that all the legal/ethical avenues to collect have failed, so they don't even pretend to follow the rules, up to and including straight up extortion attempts and threats of violence. Worst of all, there are provisions in the law that allow debt to be literally raised from the dead if you aren't very careful in how you deal with these people (including debt that has already been settled). And this continues potentially forever, with disgraced paper being sold on to the next slimy operations who try and strongarm a few pennies out of someone.

My ex wife left a good bit of debt behind. We have been divorced for about 20 years. I can always tell when one pack of crooks have sold on her paper to the next pack of crooks, because there's suddenly some *very* aggressive people hammering my phone (and our daughters phone, and her brothers phone) with fun stuff like "the cops are on the way if you don't settle this right now" (they aren't) to "I know where you live and I'll come beat this money out of you" (no you're not) to "I'll make sure everyone on LinkedIn/FB/etc know you're a deadbeat" (happens, is illegal, but so is contacting anyone but the debtor about the debt). Last time was 2021 as I recall, so I'm about due for the next round.
posted by kjs3 at 11:07 AM on November 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

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