I know that sounds unlikely, but it’s true.  And I have evidence!

It all started with a strange letter.

Now in my line of business, a letter has to be really out of the ordinary to win the title of strange, but this one was really odd. For a start, it came to me at home, not in the office. Then it was addressed to the wrong house number, but not an obvious typo (if you mean to type 21 you’re not likely to type 20 in error). Finally, and here’s the really odd bit – it was addressed to me in my married name! Not only did I go back to my maiden name 15 years ago, but I never lived in this area when I was married, so how did someone put this address (or nearly this address!) and that name together?

The letter appeared to be from a bank, asking me to contact them urgently, so of course the obvious assumption was that it was some kind of con or fraud. The bank wasn’t one that I remembered dealing with, but their details on the letter matched those on their website, so I gave them a call.

Having explained why I was calling to the lovely young man in the call centre (he really was delightful, perhaps that’s the most unusual bit about the whole story!) he then wanted to take me through security. But how could he. He’s got the wrong name and the slightly wrong address for me, so any question he asks me I’m going to have the wrong answer to and I was being very cautious about what information I gave out. Eventually he suggested that I go through the addresses that I lived in before I changed my name. Well there were a few of those and how many of us can remember post codes from 15 years ago!!!

The first two addresses drew a blank, but when I got to the third address (a property I only lived in for a very short space of time) he asked me if I could remember the house number, so obviously we’d hit the right one, but nope, I had no idea what the house number was, and I’d have no paperwork left relating to it. Thank goodness for Google Maps! I found the road, found the house (eventually) and managed to zoom in on the bin outside, which had the number of the house on it!

I was in!

Now, of course, comes the interesting bit. Having established that they were trying to contact me about a genuine account, that I had genuinely had over 15 years ago, what was it that had caused them to contact me after all this time. I assumed that the account was overdrawn and they were going to ask me for money. I was all ready with my “statute of limitation” typed arguments, when he told me that I had two accounts with them, both of which were in credit, and what would I like to do with the money. I think I must have asked him to repeat it about three times before I believed him!

So what has this taught me?

  1. It’s a really good job that I have someone wonderful looking after my financial affairs for me, because I clearly cannot be trusted with bank accounts if I’m capable of opening two of them, putting money in them and then forgetting about them! It’s also a good job that I’m good at law because I’d have made a terrible accountant.

2. Big brother really is watching you. If a bank that I haven’t used in 15 years can track me down despite the fact that I’ve moved about 6 times, changed my name and am very careful about what personal information I put out about myself, then we’re all at risk.

3. Whilst it was always going to be a very merry Christmas, it’s going to be slightly merrier now! I told you – proof that Santa is real and that I’ve obviously been very good this year!

Wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to tracking you down for a catch up in the New Year.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Full of Christmas cheer!