What can I do about someone who is using my information?
May 29, 2013 2:20 PM   Subscribe

Over the weekend, someone with the IP address 50.129.xxx.xxx has been using my real name, main phone number and email to fill out a slurry of online forms about job searches, insurance, etc., causing my phone and inbox to blow up for the last three days. Is there anything I can do to stop/prosecute this person?

This information has already been fed into idiotic lead generators and after spending hours today ripping into the idiots in this small town I don't even currently reside in, that thought someone who's DOB was 1/1 and wanted to get quotes for full coverage for a HUMMER while living at a facility for the disabled, I'm fairly sure can be pinpointed by their accurate information. The streets are not even wide enough for a HUMMER, not to mention that none of these agents and callers know what an URL, much less an IP#.

I'd like to know how they got my information and why they chose to use mine if it wasn't just chosen at random, especially because there are a handful of people who would being just doing this maliciously, some of whom I have current protective orders against, others who are simply intent on harassing me, but none of these people are savvy enough to know what they've done would result in bombing my inbox and phone and be in Mount Vernon.

I'm fairly sure I could find this actual person if I wanted to but I don't think what they have done so far is technically actionable in any way, but because of the information they have that I know or pertains to me, it points to how they may have acquired it.

I've already talked to the police today on a separate matter, reaffirming that it is in no way technically illegal to be a self-absorbed, ignorant asshole with malignant intentions.

I have no idea if this would be considered a legal or computer issue or what category it falls under. I've had my phone and email for a very long time and hope to keep them.

I've already got to send legal papers to sites and services I use to stop one stalker from continuing to harass me online and be alerted every time I use them. I'm too tired to go stab someone in the face and I don't have the means to sue anyone at the moment. Is there anything I can do?
posted by provoliminal to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried contacting Comcast, the leaseholder on the IP?
posted by Lyn Never at 2:29 PM on May 29, 2013

I have only just had the time to find the IP and I have been up since 3am on 4 hours sleep. It has been a very long day.
It's been a long three days and I've only just started to deal with this issue. I don't even know if any agency, company, or institution of any kind would bother to do anything.
posted by provoliminal at 2:40 PM on May 29, 2013

I have faced a similar situation, and I saw a more recent question (though I can't find it now) which was almost identical. I never solved whether the mass form fill-out was malicious or some sort of phishing. The good news is that the calls went away after two days of constant spamming and a couple more weeks of more sporadic spamming. I did try to answer and tell the people that I was not the one who filled the form out -- some places called continuously if I didn't stop them -- but I'm not sure this helped in any larger sense.

I'd still love to know what the hell was going on.
posted by thesmallmachine at 2:41 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

[elided the full IP here, people should be able to answer your question without turning it into a "let's find this person" thing.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:20 PM on May 29, 2013

Happened to us at my job; we were never able to sort it out. It died off eventually, just like thesmallmachine says above. The best advice I have is to send new notices to the Direct Marketing Association, etc., and to get a hold put on your credit IF you believe you're actually at risk of identity theft. For phone calls, it's regrettably necessary to ask them to not call you again, as they now have permission to contact you (you didn't give it to them, but they don't have to prove it was you that gave the permission, so.)

Oh, and obviously, if this is someone with a history of other stalking or harassment stuff against you, this is the sort of thing you'd want to document as thoroughly as possible. You can also file a police report (I would, personally, if I had a stalker; filing a police report is also trivially easy compared with filing a legal action against someone in court.)
posted by SMPA at 3:41 PM on May 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, if it's not criminal, then it would have to be at least a level of harassment from your perspective that would mean filing a lawsuit (celebrities do this). Then you can file a Doe subpoena with the ISP.

I think it may be more worthwhile to you, at least as you seem to indicate, to think about who among the hopefully small group of enemies you have is likely to be the culprit. As go-to-celebrity-stalker-guy Gavin de Becker (Gift of Fear) describes his practice, when private-life clients say they don't know who could be harassing them -- in reality, they always know, they just gave someone a prejudicial pass because "they wouldn't do something like this".
posted by dhartung at 5:55 PM on May 29, 2013

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