Why are our names still linked?
November 9, 2008 2:34 PM   Subscribe

I was engaged, but never married to, a guy 11 years ago - somehow our names and my mother's address are linked together in several combinations out in cyberspace and on direct-mailing lists. How can I unlink them?

I can find myself with his last name in online people searches, my mother gets catalogs and credit card offers with his first name and my last name, my first name and his last name. She even gets mail with his wife's first name and my last name. To my knowledge, we had one credit card together that had my maiden name on it, but that card was reported lost years ago.

I haven't lived in my mom's house in 10 years and I am happily married to someone else and have taken his name. Luckily with my married name I am only linked to my husband.

I thought I was rid of this creep for good! Can someone give me any ideas? He is so not worth all the junk mail that he is generating! (Hopefully he and his wife get mail with my name on it!!!)
posted by amysk to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
Unless you're willing to legally change your name, there's nothing you can do about it.
posted by Class Goat at 2:47 PM on November 9, 2008

Do you really think that there's some central repository of "linked" names somewhere?

You're basically SOL. At least it's just junk mail and not identity theft. (You have checked your credit report to be sure of that, right?)
posted by toomuchpete at 3:03 PM on November 9, 2008

This is very common and has come up on the green before. Honestly, I don't know that there's any way to fix this. The records linking you and your ex are likely spread across multiple databases, and has been sold to numerous mailing list companies. There's no one place to you can contact to change this. Just make sure your credit report is correct.
posted by kimdog at 3:06 PM on November 9, 2008

Register your Mom's address with the incorrect variations of your name with the Direct Marketing Association. They put you on the do-not-mail registry for three years, and it costs $1.

Also, if the junk mail has contact information on it, call and ask to be taken off the list as the mail comes in. You don't need to give your current name — just say that the person does not live at the address, and to please remove immediately. (It helps a lot if you have the customer number from the address label.) Maybe your Mom can save the junk mail, and once a month you can go through it and call.
posted by limeswirltart at 3:16 PM on November 9, 2008

You can stop the catalogs by using Catalog Choice - it won't get you off the rented lists but will stop the catalogs one retailer at a time.
posted by leslies at 4:10 PM on November 9, 2008

You might also want to check your credit report for inaccurate names, addresses and dispute them as incorrect.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:18 AM on November 10, 2008

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