I have a friend who has been getting quite a lot of traffic to his personal email account that is not his activity. This would include someone in California requesting auto insurance quotes. This would include someone in Minnesota requesting free tickets to an event. And the prompt for this question, in the last month or so, several people (half a dozen or so) making online purchases and using his email as their contact information. My friend has been reaching out to the companies to tell them that the email they are using does not belong to that person.
At least one of the 'customers' has ordered, then attempted to cancel, and the company said cancelling was impossible because the order had already shipped, which made us think that this was the scam. However, a little snooping (because we had the customer's name and address) showed that it was a real address and said customer's name is tied to the property record for the address -- in short, seems like the worst way to execute a scam of some sort using your real contact information.
My friend has been closely monitoring his credit reports and accounts. There is no evidence that any of these people have access to any real information to attempt some kind of identity theft.
So, this is why I am here. Apart from getting some annoying emails that aren't really for him, given the scenario I laid out above, is there any risk to my friend that we're overlooking? As I wrote in the title, it feels very scammy in some way, but we just don't understand how simply directing emails to a different account allows anything untoward to occur.
I would appreciate any thoughts this community has here and thanks in advance.
p.s. The email he's using is two common-ish words on a fairly ubiquitous service, and well, I think we all have a throw-away email when a web form requires something (I hereby publicly apologize if I have been doing this same annoyance to a real person at email@example.com). Just moving emails would be a significant hassle as he has had this same one for 15+ years now. Furthermore, as above, it is not just spam going to the email, but what appears to be mostly legitimate business -- just initiated by someone else using his email.