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12 August 2004 @ 10:51 am
Sufficiently Paranoid?  
I'm wondering if I should be paranoid about this or not... For a week or so now I've been having messages left on my answering machine for a "Bernice Moore". I don't know any Bernice Moore, but we have gotten junk mail for her every now and then, so I assume that she was a previous tenant.

I didn't think too much about it until yesterday I asked one pertient question: How did they get this phone number for her? Even if she was a previous tenant, I seriously doubt that she would have had exactly the same phone number.

Should I be worried that there this Bernice person is using my contact information? I'm worried that there might be some kind of identity theft going on here. Am I being overly paranoid, or should I be following up more on this? (And if so, how on earth would I go about it?)
 
 
 
Paul Meyerweregamer on August 12th, 2004 08:25 pm (UTC)
There is a little-known device called as a "reverse telephone book", which was normally available in libraries anywhere. At various times and venues there have been issues raised about whether they should exist, about the fact that they include unlisted numbers, etc. AFAIK, they are still around though in CA you might need some sort of authorization to access them. Anyway, given an address you can get the phone number. I suspect the original idea was for things like emergency services, billing agencies, etc.

So if the mail you have been getting for this person is of the bill-collection variety, they probably used one to find the number for the stale address. If you can make them believe that their quarry has moved, and that you are not Bernice trying to pull a fast one, they should leave you alone.
obsessivewomanobsessivewoman on August 13th, 2004 12:12 am (UTC)
I agree with both your friends.

Ideas:
1. You can ask the management company if she was a prior tenant to verify your suspicion.
2. If chatting with the folks doesn't help, you can block the phone numbers, if they are repetitive callers.
3. You will be giving out your new number (I hope) to only your friends and family so you should be fine on the new number. We have something called a call manager from the phone company and that is a godsend.
4. As a federally certified credit counselor (in my reckless youth), I can suggest that you order a copy of your credit report - where you can easily see if there are really any links to you personally with Bernice Moore. You can do that online and it should be immediately apparent. Bill collectors usually report directly to your credit reports as soon as they get your file so it should be on their if so.

I doubt if it is a collection agency as they are far more intrusive but, it never hurts to check.

Good luck,

Mara
The Gina: screamshipofools999 on August 12th, 2004 10:29 pm (UTC)
I think it is well worth calling back one of those people leaving messages and asking how they got your number. You can get more information to find out if you should be worried and if it is just a creditor tracking to your address, you will be saving them and yourself time but letting them know you have no contact with this mysterious person.

My advice, gather more info.