After a year or so of fielding calls for for a Terry Barnes, who apparently owed a lot of people a lot of money, I finally gave in and changed our home number. I'm not talking about a few random calls, either. I've taken calls from collectors--lots of those--but also from a few attorneys' offices and once from a detective. He's the one who told me about the large civil suit. He also suggested that I change the phone number. At that point, I didn't think it was too much of a problem and--silly me--that eventually people would stop calling after a few repetitions of "I'm sorry, there's no Terry Barnes here. No, I'm not Mrs Barnes."
But at long last, I decided that enough was really enough, so I made the call.
The process was pretty easy, though I didn't realize that you could actually choose from a series of numbers. And because Robin from AT&T knew why I was changing the number, she searched for a while t0 find the one that had been out of service the longest.
One week after I changed the number, let our families know that we weren't hiding from them, and updated all of our contacts, it began anew.
"Hello? No, I'm sorry, you have the wrong number. No, there is no Mrs Baker here. Excuse me? (sigh) No, no Mr Baker, either."