Identity theft (which used to be called “impersonation”) is all the rage to talk about these days. Many companies make a tidy sum selling various services they claim monitor your identity and warn or even prevent when someone tries to impersonate you. MasterPo has heard mixed reviews of these but they – and the entire indentity theft conversation – overlooks the reverse scenario.
That is: What happens when someone or some entity insists you are someone else?!
That sort of happened to MasterPo and Mrs. MasterPo a few years ago.
We bought a new cell phone and was assigned a phone number from the carrier. But as it turned out the phone number had previously been used by someone in New York City, apparently as their primary number. We kept getting calls for that person.
At first it was typical stuff like sales calls, notice your Rx is ready, etc.
Then it got a bit more personal in the sense that why didn’t this person notify these people of their new number? We received calls from a mechanic shop that his car was ready and other seemingly important businesses calling to tell this person something they ordered or requested or wanted or paid for was ready for them.
Then came the next step: Calls from utility companies.
Apparently this guy owed a lot to utilities, especially Time Warner Cable.
We tried very hard to say that we aren’t this guy, we just bought a new cell phone and this is the number that was assigned.
But they didn’t listen.
Realistically MasterPo can see the other side. Someone owes a lot of money, this is the number the creditor has on file for them, but now the voice on the line claims they aren’t the one who’s on the owed account. Frankly if someone who owed MasterPo money and when called the voice at the other end claimed this wasn’t them MasterPo would be skeptical too.
But try as we did MasterPo and Mrs. MasterPo just couldn’t stop the calls that came at all hours of the day and night.
In the end MasterPo had to change the number again and then the calls stopped (but not before we had some fun at the company’s expense!).
In this case there was little the businesses could do to MasterPo. But this does show identify theft in reverse. Maybe call it “Identity Assignment”?
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