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Old 15.07.2021, 19:31
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Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

TL: DR: Don't put your first and last name on the letterbox, as it is enough for people to use your address to order stuff in your name and potentially leave you with a big mess to sort out.

In todays's episode of "unnecessary headaches that p*ss me off": I'm being used for mail order fraud. Or rather, attempted mail order fraud, because the person doing it is either a kid with zero culture or someone who doesn't understand what a possible first name is.

Yesterday, my postie insisted I come downstairs to accept a package because he wasn't sure about the name. The label read "Mister [Last Name of my flatmate, let's call him Mr. Mettler] [My last name, let's call me Ms. Müller]", i.e. Mister Mettler Müller, with our address. Thinking my flatmate had somehow messed up an online order (it was a place we'd never ordered from before), I took the parcel and put it on the table for him. Turns out, he hadn't ordered it. We opened it to find three football training jerseys for a teenage boy, but no packing slip. Mysterious.

It then occurred to me that our letterbox was labelled "Mettler Müller", with the names one on top of the other, so someone must have thought it was someone's full name and copied it for their little scam. Only a complete moron would do that though, because neither of our names resemble a first name in any European language and I don't think they are anywhere else in the world. Hence my guess at the sort of person who did it.

Phoned the company that shipped the stuff, they told me I had to make a police report because the person was stealing my identity (and they couldn't investigate mail order fraud properly without report of criminal activity). So I toddled off to the police today with the offending parcel in hand. They promptly told me that what the mail order company told me wasn't entirely true but they were happy to take down the details and file a report. My worry was that the person would not just order one thing but try to order more stuff. They didn't seem to optimistic but were friendly enough, took pictures of the package etc. Then they said I should just send the parcel back, they would contact the company, I should just make sure that I hold on to the receipt.

Right, toddle off to the post office, send the parcel on its way and return home.

Open my letter box.

More effing parcels, these ones from a large company with an orange triangle logo.

More sports gear, this time there was a replica Olympique Marseille shirt* among the things. So I phoned THIS mail order company and explained the situation. They too insisted I go to the police. At this point, the most I would commit to was to offer to call them tomorrow and ask if they can add it on to my existing complaint without me having to show up again in person... Especially since the coppers told me that I have no liability: The fact that the name they are using does not belong to a real person and is evidently just taken from my letterbox means I can't be held accountable. Swiss law states that if a company sends you stuff that you did not order, you don't have to pay for it. Heck, you don't even have to send it back.

HOWEVER, if it had been my actual name and they had been quicker than me in retrieving the parcel, i.e. not aware that the order had been placed in my name, it would have be a whole different story and a much bigger headache to sort out (I say this now, but if this person has a whole football kit on its way to me from different companies, lord help me...). In this case, it would be more difficult to prove that it was not me, especially as I already have an account at one of the companies that sent me stuff.

And that is one of several reasons why you should not put your full name (i.e. first and last name) on your letterbox, even if your rental agency or the rest of the building does it that way. It is all too easy for someone to use that information for all sorts of nefarious purposes, including ordering things in your name and snatching them out of your letterbox / from the building entrance before you get home. You'll be none the wiser until demands for payment start appearing. It's easy enough to time yourself in line with the postie's delivery route and they hardly ever ring the doorbell for things that fit into the letterbox and don't require signature.

Now excuse me while I go and put a note on my letterbox about the issue so that any further parcels addressed to Mr Mettler Müller go back immediately or are at least delivered to me by hand so I can send them back. The cheeky little scrote shan't lay a finger on a single one of his ill-gotten treasures.

*I may or may not have spent a very aggravated 10 minutes trying to see if I can find any local OM fans but then remembered that dumping a week's worth of cat litter gold neatly contained in the parcel they ordered in the wrong letterbox would only get me into trouble...

Last edited by Kittster; 15.07.2021 at 19:44.
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Old 15.07.2021, 23:36
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

Love it.

For years these guys that used to collect TV tax were sending an invoice addressed exactly like in your example - Mr. Mettler Muller (where Muller would be last name of my wife).

As such a Mr. does not exist, of course never paid them.

It got fixed with these new guys taking over, so no issues there.
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Old 16.07.2021, 00:48
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

You want to put one of these in or near your mail box: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4T_LlK1VE4
and there are plenty of variants.
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Old 16.07.2021, 02:55
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

Quote:
TL: DR: Don't put your first and last name on the letterbox, as it is enough for people to use your address to order stuff in your name and potentially leave you with a big mess to sort out.
If you don’t have your correct name on your post box post are within the rules to return your mail to sender. Ridiculous nonsense!
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Old 16.07.2021, 04:00
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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If you don’t have your correct name on your post box post are within the rules to return your mail to sender. Ridiculous nonsense!
Re-read what I wrote. Understand what I am saying. Then maybe try again?
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Old 16.07.2021, 07:28
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

And the crime works like what?

Little irk orders stuff for payment by invoice to your name and address (when he gets it right). The postie leaves the package, which does not require a signature, in your milk cupboard. Irk nips round and takes it.

You get a reminder to pay in about 6 weeks - which is the first you've heard of it. Meanwhile, irk is playing for Olympique Marseille...
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Old 16.07.2021, 07:52
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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If you don’t have your correct name on your post box are within the rules to return your mail to sender. Ridiculous nonsense!
That first sentence doesn’t even make sense.
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Old 16.07.2021, 08:26
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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That first sentence doesn’t even make sense.
A comma would have helped

Since this seems to have baffled the old chap: I did not advise to put a false name on your letterbox, just that it should not be your full name. The surname suffices.
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Old 16.07.2021, 08:41
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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And the crime works like what?

Little irk orders stuff for payment by invoice to your name and address (when he gets it right). The postie leaves the package, which does not require a signature, in your milk cupboard. Irk nips round and takes it.

You get a reminder to pay in about 6 weeks - which is the first you've heard of it. Meanwhile, irk is playing for Olympique Marseille...
Yep, that’s pretty much it.

It tends to work best in blocks of appartements with multiple letterboxes outside and they have to make sure anything they order fits in the milk box.

I read somewhere fairly recently that there had been much less of it going on over the past year due to more people being at home during the day and collecting their mail more frequently.
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Old 16.07.2021, 08:43
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

In nearly 20 years of living here, I've never had my first name on the mailbox. Yet somehow still get mail.
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Old 16.07.2021, 08:44
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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A comma would have helped

Since this seems to have baffled the old chap: I did not advise to put a false name on your letterbox, just that it should not be your full name. The surname suffices.
First letter of first name and full surname seems to be the Swiss standard and is basically done for you. I can't remember seeing a full name (first and last) written out in any place I have ever visited.

Last edited by Chuff; 16.07.2021 at 09:02.
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Old 16.07.2021, 09:01
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

Most of our neighbors have first and last names on their mailboxes but we only have the initials.

I guess the most Swiss thing to do now is to complain to the landlord about this disturbing inconsistency
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Old 16.07.2021, 09:05
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

I am beginning to wonder if everyone should have a locking parcel box. They exist here, just not the standard. Not yet anyways. Many problems would be solved with this.

I have lived in places where home delivery didn't exist. There was a group of mailboxes for letters (each box required a key) and then several large boxes for parcels which were accessed by a key left in the individual recipient's letterbox.

A more modern system would be using codes rather than codes.
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Old 16.07.2021, 09:31
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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I am beginning to wonder if everyone should have a locking parcel box. They exist here, just not the standard. Not yet anyways. Many problems would be solved with this.

I have lived in places where home delivery didn't exist. There was a group of mailboxes for letters (each box required a key) and then several large boxes for parcels which were accessed by a key left in the individual recipient's letterbox.

A more modern system would be using codes rather than codes.
The postal system comes from a time where it was expected that the house wife is at home, ready to receive parcels whenever the post can deliver it. Putting up a lock box for everyone seems a whole lot of boxes that are empty most of the time and either too small or big whenever there is a delivery.

In Luxembourg they had public lock box stations. You can pick which one is close to your home or office and get your stuff delivered there. You get a code on your mobile... and depending on the size of your delivery will a smaller or bigger door open with it. I dont think they invented that... Amazon set up "Amazon lockers" like that in many countries before. But I am saying that in some countries the public postal service does adapt to changing needs...

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Old 16.07.2021, 09:57
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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In Luxembourg they had public lock box stations. You can pick which one is close to your home or office and get your stuff delivered there. You get a code on your mobile... and depending on the size of your delivery will a smaller or bigger door open with it. I dont think they invented that... Amazon set up "Amazon lockers" like that in many countries before. But I am saying that in some countries the public postal service does adapt to changing needs...
Those look identical to the mypost24 setup they have here. I'm not sure is the functionality the same at all though.
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Old 16.07.2021, 10:29
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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In Luxembourg they had public lock box stations.
The post has them here too. I ordered a laptop which was delivered to a locker behind our local post office. I received a slip in the mail (or maybe it was a SMS - I forget now) with a PIN to collect it.

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Old 16.07.2021, 10:40
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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I am beginning to wonder if everyone should have a locking parcel box.
The unlocked boxes are widely used for buying and selling cheap used stuff, like kids toys and clothing. The seller puts it in his parcelbox and the buyer comes and picks it in convenient time without bothering the seller.
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Old 16.07.2021, 11:05
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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The unlocked boxes are widely used for buying and selling cheap used stuff, like kids toys and clothing. The seller puts it in his parcelbox and the buyer comes and picks it in convenient time without bothering the seller.
Well, the older Swiss will still call the box "Milchfach" - its the box that was originally intended for the milk delivery. (Back when supermarkets werent a thing yet...)
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Old 16.07.2021, 11:12
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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Re-read what I wrote. Understand what I am saying. Then maybe try again?
I read what you wrote, failing to put your name correctly on your post box just because one person had a bizarre experience is a dumb advice.
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Old 16.07.2021, 11:14
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Re: Mail order fraud or why you shouldn't put your full name on your letterbox

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I read what you wrote, failing to put your name correctly on your post box just because one person had a bizarre experience is a dumb advice.
Bad day Jim?
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