I moved in to this apartment a little over a year ago. Several previous tenants appear to have been behind on their bills, based on the huge volume of mail I received for these people. Taking it to the post office and telling them none of these people live at that address anymore fixed most of it pretty rapidly, but stuff for one guy keeps coming. I don't open any of this mail, but just from looking at the front of the envelopes, he is behind payment on a federal student loan and at least two other debts. Let's call this guy Joe.
About nine months ago, a guy came to my door at 10 PM trying to serve court papers on Joe. I told him that Joe hadn't lived there since September 2009, that I was the sole occupant, but that mail for Joe was still coming to the address. I showed him my ID to prove I wasn't Joe, and he was very apologetic and polite about having disturbed me.
Fast forward to today. I still get mail for Joe about 1-2 times a week, which I promptly label "No longer at this address" and put in the outgoing mail area. This morning I got a call on my cell phone; when I picked up, the person asked for Joe. I told them the same thing; no longer lives here, bills for him are still coming here, I have been the sole occupant for 1 year +. They apologized, said they would remove my name and address from the system, etc. I didn't think to ask who they were calling on behalf of as I was in the middle of getting ready to go to work.
What bothers me is this: in some database, a search is turning up my address + my phone number + Joe's name. I don't want my personal information to somehow get mixed up with this guy and have it lead to me getting screwed somehow. I myself got deep into debt many years ago and managed to pay the whole thing off over time; my credit score still sucks and I am working slowly to rebuild it.
The lady who called mentioned that "when we do a general search, sometimes these associations just pop up". So my question is: How do I figure out where this information is coming from and how do I disassociate myself from this guy? I already check my credit score whenever the free check comes up, and I try not to pass out my personal info too much, but I can think of a few places that have the address/phone combination and could have sold it.
TLDR: Last guy to live at my place gets lots of bill collection notices; my address and phone number have become associated with his name in a database somewhere. How can I undo this/what can I do about it?
PS: this is in California.
Spin isn't in academia? You're in for a real disappointment when you go to your first conference and see two old men with mighty beards politely implying that the other person is more capable of fucking a dog then writing a scientific paper.