That isn't your phone number! It's mine!
October 6, 2017 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Today, after my mother in law mentioned her phone number being spoofed, I got curious and googled my own number to see if anyone had reported it as a spam caller. What I found: Someone else with my same last name is listed as the owner of my phone number; their listed address is a very similar address to mine--one that has caused mixups in the past. What might have happened, and what, if anything, should I do about it?

So, the supposed "most recent" owner of my phone number is "Matt L" while I am "Susie L." I'm not related to any Matts. The number is also given as a T-mobile number, while my carrier is Verizon.

"Matt L." lives, supposedly, on a street about 3 blocks away that starts with the same few letters as my own. Let's say he lives at 1301 Pinellas, while I live at 1301 Pinetree.

This is extra strange because I also, last year, began receiving mail for someone who, it turned out, *actually* lived at 1301 Pinellas. (That was a real human, by the way, whom I met and spoke with and resolved the mail issue. His name was not Matt L, or Matt anything.)

In the case of the mail, it was easily explained when the Post Office showed us the dropdown menu of addresses -- mine was right above his, and clearly they just clicked wrong when inputting his mail forwarding slip.

But how to explain the phone? I know there's no "Matt L" living at that address -- because I know who lives at that address! Is this just some glitch of those shitty, shady, info-scraping sites?

For what it's worth, my phone SEEMS to work fine, as I receive calls, and don't seem to receive calls intended for someone else.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is this just some glitch of those shitty, shady, info-scraping sites?

Unless you receive info to the contrary, yes. What was the site where you found this information? Is it a reputable site? Is there any reason to believe this is anything other than just dodgy info-scraping? Can you remove the erroneous info from the site or report it as incorrect?
posted by jessamyn at 10:35 AM on October 6

The number is also given as a T-mobile number, while my carrier is Verizon.

Did you port your number at some point? If I look up my own cell phone number it is listed as belonging to Sprint Spectrum, which is the holding company for Sprint[┬▒PCS]. I ported it to AT&T a few years after I got it, but it did originally come from SprintPCS. I believe if you ever let your ported number go it will revert to the original owner of the block of numbers from which it came.

Also at least one skeevy site shows my number (that I've had for years) as owned by a woman across town. Nobody has ever called my number and asked for her. To answer your question I'm just going to go with garbage data on a garbage site.
posted by fedward at 11:27 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]

Did you port your number at some point?

Gosh I've had the number so long I honestly don't remember whether I started on another carrier. It's entirely possible -- I mean, was Verizon even a thing in 2002?

I don't know what would constitute a reputable result for googling a phone number, but the sites carrying this info are probably not reputable, no. I guess the address thing, being the same one as the mail error, tripped me up into thinking this was perhaps turning into an actual problem.

(Though you can bet when I move next time I'm going to be checking in advance for much-too-similar addresses nearby...)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:35 AM on October 6

Let's see... Verizon was Airtouch/Bell Atlantic before the GTE merger, and that merger happened riiiight around 2000, so it's possible you've always been on Verizon.

Those data scraping sites are terrrrrrible. It's probably nothing.
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:59 AM on October 6

FWIW, I'd be kind of pumped if those sites were reporting someone else's info as connected to my phone number. If someone were trying to dox me, I'd be glad to know there was a red herring in their way.
posted by Krawczak at 5:59 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]

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