How do the eff do we make them stop?
August 20, 2008 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Why am I getting snail mail and phone calls for two people who never lived in my apartment, but who share my last name?

I've lived in my current apartment for about two years now. About three months ago my husband and I decided to get a land line to use in emergencies. Since we started the service, we have received phone calls almost daily for Cory OurLastName or Sawanda OurLastName. We've also started to receive mail for them at least once or twice a week, on which we write "no such person at this address" and return to the mailbox.

When we searched their names on one of the more popular, but sketchy-seeming, online phone books, we found that they were listed as heads-of-household in a different apartment within our same complex. They are listed with our phone number and, oddly, my husband is also listed as living with them. When my husband searches his own name, he also comes up at that address living with them.

Qwest was of no help aside from telling me to get a new phone number. Our number has always been unlisted with them, so that should never have contributed to our number/address being listed online, should it? I called my apartment management company and they were able to tell me that Corey and Sawanda did, in fact, live in the complex at one point, and at that different apartment number that we found online. The manager told me she would talk to the mail carrier herself about not delivering any more mail addressed to them.

We'd really prefer not to change our phone number, though we will if necessary. But what's to really stop us from somehow being connected to them again, even with a new number? Is there some logical explanation for this that we're missing? We are weirded out that our names, address and phone number are so easy to find. We live in Utah, if that's useful.
posted by lbo to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
This thread should be helpful. In my comment, the first one, I explain a similar situation that happened to me.
posted by kimdog at 2:41 PM on August 20, 2008

I had someone call me and ask for me. People often mispronounce my first name so I thought they were just mispronouncing it. Then they told me I had a $50,000 unpaid bill with travelocity (or maybe it was expedia). After I finished hyperventilating I asked the caller to spell the first name. The first name had the first two letters of my first name but after that it was different. When I asked her if someone may have stolen my identity since she had my number, she said that probably wasn't the case. Since the person had my last name and the first letter of the first name, they pulled all the matches on phone numbers in case they were the person they were looking for. I still pulled my credit to make sure it was clear and correct though.

Although my situation is a little different from yours, the moral of the story is that changing your phone number may not help since you share the same last name and very similar address to Cory and Sawanda.
posted by GlowWyrm at 3:07 PM on August 20, 2008

You might want to pull your credit report, just in case the mix-up extended there as well.
posted by procrastination at 3:51 PM on August 20, 2008

All credit scoring systems (and track-down-a-person systems, like collection agencies etc) are fuzzy matches, and the fact that you have similar names and similar addresses as these people will come up again and again, phone number or not... though it will decline over time, once that's your "sixth most recent address" and Cory and Sawanda's "ninth most recent address" that sort of match, instead of your current.

I think the phone number is an unrelated coincidence, unless establishing the phone caused the phone company to make a (false) connection between you two that somehow trickled back up into the (shared) databases used by credit agencies. The odds of ever talking to someone empowered to correct that, though, are next to nil.
posted by rokusan at 4:25 PM on August 20, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. Our credit reports look clear for now, thankfully.
posted by lbo at 7:02 AM on August 21, 2008

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