Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

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tim1999
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Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by tim1999 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:03 am

For the past couple of years, I've been receiving junk mail at home from Sirius XM satellite radio. It is addressed to someone with the same first name as me but a different last name, trying to get me to renew the Sirius XM subscription in my 2007 Ford Explorer. Problem is, nobody with that name has ever resided at my house, and I've never owned a 2007 Ford Explorer. I dismissed it as some junk mail fluke and always just threw them in the trash.

Then yesterday I received some junk mail from a local dealership - one of those "we're looking for certain makes/models of trades and will pay big $$" mailings that they hire a marketing company to send out to their customer database. This mailing had my correct first and last name on it. And the freaky part was, it referred to the 2007 Ford Explorer that I supposedly own. I bought a car from this particular dealership about 10 years ago, but it wasn't a Ford.

Should I be leery of some kind of fraud here? Someone bought/registered a Ford Explorer in my name or using other personal info of mine without me knowing it? I've been checking my credit reports regularly for years and they are clean.

peppers
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by peppers » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:25 am

Sirius is relentless in sending us offers to subscribe to their service. Not happenin'.

Once a month, the dearlership where I have purchased vehicles in the past sends letters like,

"Your (whatever) is worth $X, and we need your car."
"I have a buyer willing to pay top dollar for your (whatever), bring it in and we can discuss".

And recently, "Hello, I am (whoever) and see you own a (whatever) purchased at (dearlership 1). I'm at (dealership 2) and we are ready to deal. Come in today and let's talk. We have new (whatever) ready to roll.
"..the cavalry ain't comin' kid, you're on your own..."

sscritic
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by sscritic » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:37 am

Your name is in the aether, as is your address. You will never get them back. Google, Facebook, and the NSA can piece together all the scraps of your life, even the Ford Explorer you never owned. You may think you never owned it, but once it is in the master data base, yes, you owned it and you always will.

jebmke
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by jebmke » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:56 am

sscritic wrote:Your name is in the aether, as is your address. You will never get them back. Google, Facebook, and the NSA can piece together all the scraps of your life, even the Ford Explorer you never owned. You may think you never owned it, but once it is in the master data base, yes, you owned it and you always will.
And names are recombinant. My wife gets mail addressed to her with the first name of some young woman who previously had her cell number ("Pamela") but with our last name.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

dl7848
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by dl7848 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:41 pm

I would be mildly concerned about getting the snail mail, but if nothing shows up in the credit reports, I wouldn't worry about it.

The bigger issue is if they are sending stuff via e-mail. That's an automatic red flag that it's a fraudulent e-mail trying to get you to click on an attachment that will download malware/ransomware on your computer.

sport
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by sport » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:46 pm

Last fall I bought a new car and traded in the previous car that was bought at the same dealer. Shortly after the transaction, I received a snail-mail reminder that the old car was due for service. There are a lot of places with records, and data bases used for sales and marketing. Unfortunately, accuracy is not the main concern for those who keep these lists.
Jeff

sscritic
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by sscritic » Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:03 pm

I get gmail addressed to an old man (older than I as far as I can tell) in Wisconsin with my name. Verizon sends me notices about his phone plan, and his dentist sends me reminders about his appointments. Thanks to the internet, I found his address and sent him a real letter and asked him not to give out my email address to his contacts.

My name is sscritic, but gmail sends mail addressed to ss.critic or sscri.tic to the one and only, me. If he used sss.critic, there wouldn't be a problem, but he doesn't, so there is. All I can do is hope he pays his Verizon bill and his dentist on time.

stan1
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by stan1 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:12 pm

I opened my yahoo account in 1997 and actually have my email address as first initial last name @ yahoo.com. I believe there are 1000-2000 Americans with the same first initial and last name I have. I do wish those other people would be more careful. I'm really not interested in renting a house that sleeps 30 people in Eastern North Carolina and I don't need a new roof on my house in Atlanta!

I also have first name dot last name. I think there are about 30-50 of us.

lululu
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by lululu » Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:14 pm

sscritic wrote:I get gmail addressed to an old man (older than I as far as I can tell) in Wisconsin with my name. Verizon sends me notices about his phone plan, and his dentist sends me reminders about his appointments. Thanks to the internet, I found his address and sent him a real letter and asked him not to give out my email address to his contacts.

My name is sscritic, but gmail sends mail addressed to ss.critic or sscri.tic to the one and only, me. If he used sss.critic, there wouldn't be a problem, but he doesn't, so there is. All I can do is hope he pays his Verizon bill and his dentist on time.
After a number attempts to clear this up, I would use the change address feature and send the email to the moon. That's the only way I've been able to get off some lists. I make it a highly improbably name like a jumbled variation of tothemoon@alice.com so that it doesn't wind up in some actual person's inbox.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:15 pm

Consider this a good time to check your credit report. You can do this online and for free, see the wiki: Credit cards (Credit report)
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

cherijoh
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by cherijoh » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:13 pm

A few years ago, I went to vote and was told that they no longer had me in the district book. They allowed me to vote provisionally and told me to contact the voter registration board to get it straightened out.

When I contacted voter registration, I was told by a snotty clerk that they had changed my address because I had filled out a change of address form. Did they really think I had forgotten that I moved? :oops: So I logged into the voter registration website and looked up my registration. It was assigned to someone with my name, at a different address, and registered to the other party. I did a reverse look-up of the address and called the woman and explained the situation. She had moved to Charlotte from Texas several months before and had registered to vote. Instead of giving her a new number, they gave her mine! It is supposed to be linked to birth date, but we weren't even born in the same month. Who knows, she may now have public records saying that she was born on my birthday. I had to show up in person with a recent utility bill showing my address to get it fixed.

So it isn't always fraud, it could just be a data entry error.

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pjstack
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by pjstack » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:30 pm

I get occasional letters from a Toyota dealership saying they "need" my model/year Toyota and will pay $xxx for it.

I did not buy my car at that dealership but I did take it in for maintenance once, so I guess I'm on their list forever!
pjstack

scone
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by scone » Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:11 pm

Back in the Jurassic period I was a database geek and did a lot of mail merge applications. The people who input the data are not that motivated, because it's a boring stopgap job that doesn't pay very well. The people who order the bulk mailings are not motivated to clean up the database, because it's expensive. And bulk mailing doesn't have a big hit rate anyway, so a few wrong ones are a small percentage of the total fails. Junk mail is a lousy way to reach customers, but everybody thinks they have to do it because their competitors do it.

I've worked on larger public databases as well, with similar issues of bad data, lack of motivation, etc. The only people I've met who really care about clean data are scholars, particularly if they are basing their PhD research on the data.

At one point I started counting the fatal errors in unedited databases I was about to work on. IIRC one out of fifteen records was DOA. So don't take it personally. All of your private info is out there somewhere, but a lot of it is likely unusably trashed.
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ElJay
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by ElJay » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:30 pm

pjstack wrote:I get occasional letters from a Toyota dealership saying they "need" my model/year Toyota and will pay $xxx for it.

I did not buy my car at that dealership but I did take it in for maintenance once, so I guess I'm on their list forever!
I had a Ford dealership, which I have never dealt with, that said last year they desperately wanted to buy my BMW so I could "upgrade to a new Ford Fusion." I think they get this info on what we drive from the insurance companies.

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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:51 pm

I would suspect this to be a data mining "oops" more so than a fraud case. Here's what I suspect has happened. Sirius XM at some point mistook your address for a subscriber with the same first name (perhaps lived on a similar street name in that town or the same street name in another town or something of the like). Sirius XM sold that erroneous information off to third party marketers. Third party marketers working on behalf of the dealership combined your name information from the dealership with the erroneous Sirius XM information, and you got that junk mail referencing your name but the other person's car.

If your credit reports are clear, then I wouldn't read too much into it. Stranger things have happened in the world of data mining for marketing (where mistakes don't really cost the marketers much of anything). There's a woman in town with the same last name and a similar first name to mine, although the data mining crosses are rare in this case since there is a marked age difference between us. Even just the post office makes silly mistakes like this. My PO Box was previously used by a woman with a similar first name, so I still get her mail from time to time. And I'm constantly getting mail for random strangers who live at a similar sounding street name across town, even though their names bear no resemblance to mine.

I would only worry if you started getting notices from an official government agency, like the DMV. That would indicate someone using your name and/or address for registering a car. Getting junk mail just means the marketers crossed the two records and don't care when they do that.

Edit: fix typo

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Info_Hound
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by Info_Hound » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:44 am

sscritic wrote:Your name is in the aether, as is your address. You will never get them back. Google, Facebook, and the NSA can piece together all the scraps of your life, even the Ford Explorer you never owned. You may think you never owned it, but once it is in the master data base, yes, you owned it and you always will.
You Sir, know more information than you should. (Yes, it's all true.) 8-)

Topic Author
tim1999
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Re: Possible fraud? Getting mail about a car I don't own.

Post by tim1999 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:27 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:I would suspect this to be a data mining "oops" more so than a fraud case. Here's what I suspect has happened. Sirius XM at some point mistook your address for a subscriber with the same first name (perhaps lived on a similar street name in that town or the same street name in another town or something of the like). Sirius XM sold that erroneous information off to third party marketers. Third party marketers working on behalf of the dealership combined your name information from the dealership with the erroneous Sirius XM information, and you got that junk mail referencing your name but the other person's car.
That sounds like how it may have happened. Thanks.

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