How did the DCA find me?
One of the most common asked questions is; I’ve moved address and not told anyone where I live but have just received a letter from a DCA.
So now you are asking how did they find you?
There are numerous ways of finding (tracing) you, which are listed below;
1. The Electoral Role – Most people register on the electoral role. Once you do this your details are updated on the CRA files that they hold on you. https://www.gov.uk/electoral-register
2. Royal Mail Redirection of Mail – If you move and redirect your mail via the Royal Mail, you would think that this is private. In fact, just like many companies these days, The Royal Mail sells off you information. Royal Mail also use a system called NCOA® Alert – When your customers move, they ask us to redirect their mail to a new address. Our NCOA® (National Change of Address) Alert data contains their full names and both the address they move to and from. The file covers pending, live, expired or cancelled redirections over the past three years. With this information, you can help protect your customers from identity theft. NCOA® Alert also provides fraud protection including: http://www.royalmail.com/marketing-serv … ncoa-alert [ http://www.royalmail.com/marketing-services-regular/choose-your-audience/data-management/ncoa-alert ]
3. Credit Reference Agencies. The CRA all have in place a process for DCA to use to trace you. Here is the evidence for you to read;
Experian – Autotrace Plus http://www.experian.co.uk/consumer-info … 0130116_10 [ http://www.experian.co.uk/consumer-information/autotrace-plus.html?intcmp=cis_creditportal_solutionfinderprod_20130116_10 ]
Callcredit – Trace Database http://www.callcredit.co.uk/products-an … /calltrace [ http://www.callcredit.co.uk/products-and-services/collections-and-recoveries/calltrace ]
Equifax – Debtor Tracing Plus http://www.equifax.com/business/busines … plus/en_gb [ http://www.equifax.com/business/business_debtor_tracing_plus/en_gb ]
4. Your Bank – As soon as you change your address with your bank, they will inform the CRA of your change of address.
5. Mobile Supplier – As soon as you change your address with your Mobile Supplier, they will inform the CRA of your change of address
6. To a lesser extent, your Gas/Electric/Water Supplier – As soon as you change your address with your Gas, Electric or Water Supplier, they will inform the CRA of your change of address.
7. Information on your credit application. The original creditor provides the collection agency with the information on your credit application. If you’ve moved, someone listed on the application (employer, bank, credit references, or nearest living relative) may know where you are.
8. Relatives, friends, employers, and neighbors. Collection agents often call relatives, friends, employers, or neighbors, posing as a friend or relative. – Totally illegal.
9. Phone books. Phone directories, printed or online, are good sources of names, addresses, and phone numbers. If a collection agency has your phone number, it may be able to find your address using a reverse directory. A reverse directory lists telephone numbers in numeric order, rather than by name.
10. Internet searches. You can find anything from aircraft owners to high school classmates online. Even clubs, churches, and PTAs put their newsletters online now, so your affiliations could show up in an Internet search. Then the organization might innocently help the collection agency find you.
11. Social Media Search. DCA will search social media websites to try and find you. They will even try and friend you on these sites or ask questions to your friends about you.
12. Specialist Tracing Companies. Creditors and collectors use Specialist Tracing Companies to locate people. Specialist Tracing Companies locate people using traditional and high-tech techniques, such as telephone books, email address finders, Social Security number searches, telephone company call records, public records, domain name lookups, military and Selective Service lookups, prison inmate lookups, professional license lookups, apartment locators, hotel/motel locators, business and corporate records, hunting and fishing licenses, and even eBay seller searches.
13. Postcard Trick They will send you a postcard asking for you to contact them urgently (it has also been known for them to say that they have a parcel for you to collect). Once you contact them, they will ask you to confirm your details.
14. Writing to every address where there is a person with the same name. Quite a common tactic used by DCA to search for you. This method is normally used as a process of elimination.
15. Pretexters. Pretexters get people’s personal information illegally, using false pretenses. A pretexter might call you and say he’s from a survey firm. He might ask you some questions to elicit basic personal information. When the pretexter has enough information, he calls your financial institution and pretends to be you or someone who is authorized to access your account. He gets more personal information from the bank.
These are just some of the methods that they can trace you by, and not all of them legal. I’m sure other members can add to the list 😀
Brilliant post, as always, and loaded with info we all need.
However, this one disturbed me: 2. Royal Mail Redirection of Mail – If you move and redirect your mail via the Royal Mail, you would think that this is private. In fact, just like many companies these days, The Royal Mail sells off you information.
I would have thought this is a violation of the Data Protection Act. No doubt they have used the protection from identity theft card to smooth the way, but still, I wonder just how legal it is?
It’s probably in the t&c when you agree for them to redirect your mail. I wonder if there is an opt out clause? Though I doubt ut.
Simply method – redirect to a drop box such as http://www.mbe.co.uk/ who can then redirect to your new address. Might be a bit pricey though……
That’s a nifty little service AAF and should be worthwhile for anyone who wants to remain private and to keep prying eyes out of their business. Obviously, one has to pay a reasonable price under these circumstances. Nice one… 😀 Peace
Everything comes at a price except for getting out of debt free 😆 😆
Absolutely true when we all consider it from a monetary angle. However, I think that most will agree that we do pay a price in the long run, the one known as stress. I’d like to add the thought of the stress the DCAs go through when they suddenly realize that they’ve lost yet more thousands, which they saw formerly as easy conquests. 😆 😆 😆 Peace