Category Archives: data protection

Where did they get that?

A slightly disturbing tale of (lack of) data protection.

I live in a flat: one of four in a converted house. Naturally, with just four flats everyone knows who’s who, so the flat numbers don’t really matter when receiving mail. Similarly, we occasionally get callers selecting the wrong doorbell, and that’s (normally) fine.

But yesterday I had a phone call. It reached me on my mobile, but was routed from my fixed line (got that from 1471 – the caller was 02089513823 – I’m publishing that in case it’s familiar to anyone). Was I Flat 1? (Nope). Someone was trying to deliver a parcel. To whom? The man notionally in Flat 3. And when I say notionally, I mean just that: I think it’s well over a year since I’ve seen him. The agent tells me he had to move in with his mother who is ill and needs care, but I guess that’s none of my business.

What bothers me is: how the **** did someone delivering to my neighbour get my phone number? I’m not in the phone book: a vain attempt to reduce the amount of phone spam I get. They had very patchy information: the address “Flat 1” and the name of the man who rents Flat 3. Did they get it from some database, searching for any residents of the building? Isn’t the Data Protection Act supposed to make that sort of thing illegal?

Or was this someone phishing for information to construct an identity theft? And if so, what can I do about it? The call may’ve confirmed information they had about me, and I told them more than I should’ve done about the man they claimed to be delivering to 😦

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