The person who originated the call, contacted a friend of mine who has no connection to my current husband. He said he was calling from the Department of Education because my husband had used her name as a reference. They tried to obtain information from her about him and asked her to get in touch with him for them.
She got their number and promptly called me because I am the one who does all the finances for our family. When I called them back, the person identified himself as "Will" and did not want to give me any information at first. He then told me that the name of the company was not the Department of Education, but Windham Professionals.
When I demanded to know why they called my friend, "Will" told me that my husband had used her name as a reference on his school loan. My husband did not even know my friend or me the only time he ever applied for a school loan so I told him that his information was untrue.
He then tried to get me to verify that we had the correct person by giving out my husband's birthdate and SSN. When I refused on the basis that this is private information covered by the Privacy Act, "Will" got angry and threatened me and my family. He told me basically that since I was not going to cooperate and since I wouldn't put my husband on the phone, this debt will now be made to affect me and my family too.
I informed "Will" that what he was doing was a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and that I am fairly certain that whatever means they used to gain my friend's unlisted, private cell phone number was likely in violation of the Privacy Act, and then hung up.