I am starting to get more and more letters addressed to someone else even though I've lived at the current address for more than 10 years. There have been 4 different names with few different institutions ranging from a credit card that came to my address in someone elses name to requests for donation from a charity. Some repeat some do not. Googling revealed many articles all indicating that "this may be a SIGN of a scam / identity theft". What none of the articles shed any light on is the actual mechanism in which the scammer can take advantage of such a scam. After all if I got the scammers credit card, alerted the bank and threw it in the trash, what good did that do for them other than waste their time?
I need to know the mechanism for the following reasons
- Apparently someone using my mailing address is completely legal (as long as they don't commit fraud) So going to the police/financial institutions will probably not get me far. But if I know the mechanism I can spot when the scammer crosses a line and take it to the relevant authority with the right evidence.
- It can help me be alert for the step that comes next. I'm assuming this is some kind of "multi-step" scheme, because I still can't figure out what good does it do for someone to have their mail sent to me. By knowing what comes next I can hopefully avoid the trap.
- I get this happening at least once per month (not credit cards, but other other mail), so instead of chasing down every single name and every single institution, I'd like to focus on the most risky instances
- If the mechanism is very convoluted or obscure, I might sleep better at night knowing that whatever the scammers are doing is a long shot. If the mechanism is straight forward I will be very motivated to stay vigilant. There is ton of scams targeting me (and you) and I want to spend my scam fighting focus wisely. Or is this the scam? To desensitize me to this happening so that I'm not paying attention any more and then I am a much easier target for other stuff?
- Normally I would just freeze my credit and be done with this, but that's not available in my country, so I need to be even more aware of what's going on.
- The curiosity of "what are these scammers up to now?" is driving me crazy. If I know the answer, I am more likely to avoid doing something to play into their hand while I take steps to try and figure this out.