Monday, January 07, 2008

Because giving advice and instilling paranoia is what the Internet (and television) does best...

The other day I realized my mortgage company never sent me my statement and payment coupon for this month. Since I am actually a dark ages sort of girl who pays bills on paper by writing a check and stamping an envelope, I went to my account online, printed a PDF of this month's statement, and sent it in that way. Yes, I realize that once I was in my account, I could have transferred funds to pay instantly. But I also still receive calls on a land line and I walk to work in the snow uphill both ways. Do not question my set-in-my-ways old ladydom, OK?

Today, I received an envelope in the mail from a guy I'll call Randy Jackson in City-I've-Never-Heard-of, Michigan. Inside was my December statement from Homecomings Financial, with a note saying, "This was sent in MY envelope from Homecomings!"

So. First off, kudos to Mr. Jackson for taking the time and the stamp to solve this where's-my-statement mystery for me. Good people over in Michigan, I can only presume. (Shout-out to 3Cs and to Stacey and to former resident JN, obviously.) Here is my question for you, Internets, however. Do I take this goodwill gesture to mean Randy intends me no harm? Can I assume anyone willing to give me his full name and mailing address wouldn't possibly use the private financial information presumably accessible from my mortgage statement for any nefarious purpose or gain? Or should I be canceling or shifting my account immediately to avoid becoming a cautionary identify theft tale? Have I been watching too much Dateline if I think you can even get any private and beneficial information from a stranger's mortgage statement?

For the record, I do not even watch Dateline. But I am, quite obviously, an old lady, and being suspicious is traditionally our way. Also, good work, Homecomings billings representatives. Gold star on that attention to detail, I say.

21 comments:

steve said...

Knowing very little about these sorts of things, here's what I'd do. I'd give the Homecomings folks a call and One, let 'em know they f'd up, and Two, ask 'em if there's any harm in Randy (Mr. Jackson if you're nasty) knowing your info. I wouldn't think there would be, but I'm about as financially responsible as a crack-addled twelve year old.

Aaron said...

All this talk about homeowning is making me feel immature.

As is the fact that I'm snickering at the word "homeowning".

3carnations said...

I would call and chew out the folks at Homecomings. If your mortgage statement is anything like ours, it only has your name, acct number, address and balances...Not a social security number. If he called with that info, he wouldn't get far without your social security number...Just the same, maybe they should change your account number?

As one of those good folks in Michigan, I've got to say Randy's even better, because I would have just called the company. I wouldn't have mailed it to you. Maybe I should leave the state. I obviously don't fit in here.

And, for the record, I still pay my bills by check, too. Several months ago, I set up internet banking. It said to wait 3 days to log on. I did, but when I tried to log on, it said my info was incorrect and locked the account. In all this time, I haven't managed to call the bank (which I go to for work at least twice a week, incidentally) to get it corrected.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, if it were me? I'd have a drink for Randy and go on my way. He COULD be the nicest, dumbest criminal ever, but I'd bet against it. However, if you're in a CYA mood, a just-making-sure call to the company couldn't hurt. Oh, these times we live in.

Word verification is "neurglik." That's another one I'm adding to my vocab.

Anonymous said...

Drat. I meant to sign that, so you'd be sure that I'm not Randy. Hee.

--Shana in Missouri

Jess said...

I don't think I'm contributing much that's new here, but my guess is that this guy wouldn't be handing out his address and whatnot to make it easy to track him down if he was going to try to steal your financial information. However, I would call up the company, explain the situation, and ask their advice. I suppose theoretically this could be some very elaborate setup by a criminal who stole your info, then framed this Randy person in order to put your mind at ease. Seems unlikely, but the phone call is probably worth the endless amount of time you'll likely spend on hold.

lizgwiz said...

Okay, I watch way more Lifetime TV than Dateline, so I think you should write him back, strike up a delightful correspondence, and eventually meet and marry him.

Why are you all looking at me like that? ;)

nancypearlwannabe said...

I have no idea what kind of information is on a mortgage statement, never having received one myself. But I can tell you that I often get financial information from various institutions coming to me when it should have gone to a previous tenant or another person entirely. Since I have no forwarding info, I usually shred them after calling the institution that sent it to me.

So basically, I have no idea if you should change your info. But I'd definitely call your mortgage company to let them know what happened!

Stefanie said...

I really wasn't sure a call to the company was worth it, but you guys are probably right; I should probably do it anyway just to see what they say.

Also, Liz? I love you. :-)

-R- said...

My 401(k) people sent my statement and all my information to someone else. And I found out about it because the person sent all the paperwork to me. I just called the insurance company and yelled at them, but I didn't change my account or anything.

L Sass said...

I like Liz's suggestion, too.

I'm with everyone else--call the company and see what they suggest. Also, just so you're "on record" as reporting the incident in case probably-harmless-Randy-from-Michigan DOES try any funny business.

stacey said...

I think you should def call them and complain. Ask them, "what can they do for you?" At the least they should waive one month of payment, don't you think? I appreciate Randy making all of us Michiganians look so good. I wouldn't have noticed it at all since I just throw mine out and pay it online. :(

Noelle said...

I think you should go back to renting. Just to make me feel better about myself.

3carnations said...

Stacey (Stefanie, you don't mind me commenting to your comments, right?) - I wasn't born here, so I'm certainly not the authority...But I was always under the impression we were Michiganders... :)

Whiskeymarie said...

I wouldn't do a thing, then I would promptly forget the whole thing even happened.
Then, a few months from now I would have a very confused look on my face when I can't figure out why my bank accounts had been drained.

No, seriously. I wouldn't do anything but call the mortgage co.
Randy seems like a nice guy- I agree with liz.
;)

Lara said...

I am giggling at Liz's suggestion - and I wholeheartedly agree with it. "Hi Randy in Michigan! Thanks so much for passing along my mortgage statement. Are you single?"

Poppy Cede said...

I read this in the middle of the night last night but I didn't wanna seem like a stalker so I waited until today to post, but then I was in meetings all day. Darn it!

K, in case no one else has thought of it, I agree with calling the mortgage company, but I also think you might want to put a flag on your credit report that says "no opening any new accounts of any sort without triple verifying with me that I am the one who opened it." In most states, or maybe all, this is a new thing, but a free thing.

theotherbear said...

You should call the company and give them grief.
Oh, and yes you should also marry Randy.

Stefanie said...

3Cs--Of course I don't mind. :-) Comment away.

WM--Meaning to do something but promptly forgetting about it until it comes back to bite me in the ass later is DEFINITELY something I would do.

Poppy--I left you five comments in less than five minutes last night, and YOU'RE worried about being a stalker?? ;-)

Everyone else--OK, I will call the company (unless I forget, per WhiskeyMarie). And I'll let you know how it goes with Randy. :-)

stacey said...

3C's, (sorry Stef) you are correct but I'm not a fan of the word gander...so I just change it when I talk about it. :)

Kim said...

Honestly, if it were me, I wouldn't do anything. I would assume Randy wouldn't use my info since he took the time to send my statement to me. I'm lazy. As a matter of fact, I'm sorry to say, if I ever receive other people's mail, I usually shred it. Good thing I don't get stray mail often.