"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

Who is Jane and what does she want??

Photo by Ian Keefe on Unsplash

Here's a rather weird story that is, as yet, unresolved.

Early this year we started getting mail for someone who doesn't live at our house. This person has never lived at our house as far as we know. I've lived here for over 5 years. My husband has lived here for over 12 years. Before that, an older couple owned the house and had lived here since the 1970s. It's possible that this person was a tenant of theirs at some point in the past, but we'd never heard of her, and until this year we'd never received mail for her.

Mysterious Jane
It actually all started in January, when two women turned up at our door one Monday morning asking for someone who hereafter will be referred to as "Jane". Despite repeated assurances that there was nobody by that name living at our house, these visitors insisted that perhaps I was actually Jane, and that the car parked in our front yard was the property of someone else they knew, wasn't it?? And anyway, they just wanted to buy some drugs.

Wait, what??? Umm, I could probably find you some paracetamol??

Just who are you, Jane?
One evening not long after this encounter (which shook me up a little if I'm perfectly honest and which I reported to the police), we were notified by our neighbours that the police had knocked on their door. Apparently a woman had phoned police earlier in the evening, reporting that she lived at our address and that there were people in the driveway snooping around her cars. At the time that this all happened, we were out having dinner, but our neighbour had helpfully given the police my husband's number. He subsequently received a call explaining that the police had indeed attended our house, checked the cars, said hello to our very friendly and not-at-all-useful-as-a-guard-dog surrogate "man's best friend", and determined that nothing was amiss.

This mystery caller's name was........... Jane. Umm, starting to be just a little suspicious now, and also a little spooked as my husband was heading away for a few days and I would be home alone. Hopefully NOT with Jane or any of her associates stopping by.

Come and get your mail, Jane
Soon after, the mail for Jane began to arrive. Firstly just one or two letters, mostly from the Department of Transport. It was very odd, and we were pretty sure all these "Janes" were connected. Somehow. We readdressed the mail and returned it to sender, labelling each envelope very clearly with "Not at this address".

The mail kept coming. Sometimes a flurry of letters within a week, sometimes a week or so in between. Mostly from the same government department, but occasionally in more anonymous envelopes with only a post office box return address. The mystery deepened. Who was this Jane and why were we now receiving her mail??

It was also, honestly, starting to wear a bit thin. We began writing more terse messages on the envelopes before returning them to the nearest post box - "Does NOT live here and has NEVER lived here" and such like. I took a bunch of letters into the local police station, told them the whole story of the "Janes" and asked them what we could do. They were not particularly helpful, but took the letters and said they'd get in touch with the sender. The cynic in me felt it was unlikely to make it to the top of their priority list.

The plot thickens
The next thing we found was a pink card wedged into our door, from a "service delivery agent" of one government department from whom some of the mail had been coming. The slogan read "Your debt is your business. Resolving it is ours". Uh oh, this sounds serious for Jane. The card requested that Jane please phone the company and quote the reference number provided.

Needless to say, Jane didn't call.

The tyranny of bureaucratic unhelpfulness
Over the past few months we have received, dutifully re-addressed, and "returned to sender" more than 50 letters. Probably way more actually, we haven't been keeping count. But they still keep coming. We recently returned from holidays to find yet more mail, and two more pink cards. Not only that, but Jane's name suddenly appeared beside our names on the mailing slip for our roadside assistance magazine.

That was really the last straw for me. How does that even happen?? So I made several calls. First to said roadside assistance organisation. They advised me that they would call Jane and ask her if she still wanted to receive the magazine............

Next I called the police (again) to ask (again) if there was anything we (or they) could do about this. Apparently not. What Jane was doing was, apparently, not a crime (and therefore of no consequence to them, obviously). Okay, so not a crime, but definitely a nuisance.

Next I called the relevant government department, explaining the situation and asking them to please change the address of this person. Their response? Umm, no. Not possible without Jane's permission.

What?? But she doesn't live here!!!!

Next, we called the bailiff, who had attempted unsuccessfully to "serve" Jane with, no doubt, some kind of official documents. No answer, just leave a message on their voicemail. We did. Twice.

As a last resort, I called the postal service, hoping that they might at least be able to stop the letters before they got to our mailbox. No such luck. Their policy is "deliver as addressed".

The pros and cons of policy
Most of the time I'm truly thankful for the protections that come with bureaucratic policies and procedures. Policies that keep my private information just that - private. But surely this was going too far. These same policies were keeping Jane's information way too private for my liking.

After all these phone calls we realised that we had exhausted every avenue, and there was absolutely NOTHING more we could do about this situation.

The government department would not make an address change on Jane's file without her permission.
The roadside assistance company would call Jane and ask her if she still wanted to receive the magazine.
The postal service has placed a "note" on file for our distribution centre, but have advised that all we can do is to continue returning the mail to sender.
The bailiff has now received several messages, none of which have yet been returned.

At the end of all these incredibly frustrating phone calls I actually felt quite helpless and a bit teary.

Giving up control
I want to control this situation. I want to fix it. It's ridiculous and it really shouldn't be this hard. And what's worse is that nobody seems to really care that Jane has given a false address - OUR address. It's not fraud, apparently, because there is no monetary gain involved. No, just repeated annoyance and frustration for us. Well, mainly me actually, if I'm completely honest. I'm frustrated and annoyed by the whole thing. And I'm really feeling the lack of answers and the lack of control.

Who is Jane?
Why is she telling everyone she lives at our house?
Where does she really live?
How does she even know our address?
Is she a drug dealer?
What's inside all those mystery envelopes?
Why won't anybody DO anything about this?

All these questions remain unanswered. I know I find this type of situation more difficult than my husband, because he's a much more easy-going person. But controlling this one is clearly beyond me, and that is incredibly frustrating. It's prompted me to ask "What is God wanting to teach me through this?"

And wouldn't you know it (yes, you would because I gave you hints) it's that pesky control issue yet again. I need to just let it go. Gather those letters up as they come, cross out our address, scrawl a quick "return" on the front, and drop them into the nearest post box at my earliest convenience, as many times as necessary until, somehow, some way, eventually they stop coming.

I can only control what I can control. I can't fix this problem. I can rid our house of Jane's accumulating, wrongly-addressed, unclaimed, mysterious mail slowly or quickly, but I can't stop it coming.

And it's in my best interest to be okay with that.

16 comments

  1. This is such a funny story, it's almost like something out of a sitcom!! Who is Jane?? What does she want?? Why does she want your address? It's so crazy it's hard to believe it's true! Yet at the same time I can understand the annoyance in it for you. Funny at first but not so much once you've had to write "return" on at least 50 envelopes! God uses all sorts of things to teach us lessons doesn't he, and I hope this one serves its purpose quickly so you can go back to only receiving your own mail again! :-) xox

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    1. Funny and......... not!! And they just keep on coming!!! But what's even funnier (but again not really) is that since writing this post, I've felt so much more that I can just shrug my shoulders and let it all go. We've worked out all the senders now (thanks Google, I never knew you could Google a GPO box number........) and so now when the letters come, we just laugh and say "Oh, now it's the X department too". When these organisations actually do eventually catch up with "Jane", I'd love to be a fly on the wall, that's for sure!!!

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  2. Oh. My. God. This is crazy stuff. Seriously crazy. And bureaucracy gone totally mad. I would, however love to turn it into a mystery novel. Seriously though, I think if it were happening to me I'd be probably feeling the way that you are.

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    1. Haha Jo, I'd love to read your mystery novel version of this nutty situation, and would be especially interested in the outcome!! I just wish the bailiff would come by when we're actually home so we can have a face-to-face conversation with SOMEONE about it. Not confident even that would resolve it though!!

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  3. It's so weird it IS kinda creepy! The person who did it must have had a reason for using your address for something.

    I'd start opening the mail and see what she's getting sent there. I wonder if there's another street with a similar name and she initially gave the wrong info to people. Though the call to the police is kinda strange. Hmmm... you need to keep us updated now! #teamlovinlife

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    1. We've wondered all the same things - is she illiterate or dyslexic and actually lives at number 68?? Did she leave a number off? The fact that it's now at least 6 different organisations that have her at this address is super suspicious though!!
      I'm hoping there will be a resolution at some point Deb, and will happily update!

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  4. Wow what a conundrum! I'm with you on wanting it resolved because it's not just about control, it's about having your sense of safety and privacy breached. If it's Centrelink mail that you're getting, I'd do a tip-off to them. That's when you call and let them know that the person is making a false claim (she's probably getting rent assistance from them). At least that way you know it will be actioned and she'll be contacted and asked for proof of residence at least - still, it's all really weird isn't it? At least the druggie visitors aren't an ongoing dilemma!

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    1. It would be so nice if we could just get Centrelink to solve our little dilemma, but alas no mail from them at all. What's amazed me is that these other agencies don't seem too worried about the fact that all this mail is going undelivered. They just keep on sending it!!
      Yes, I'm very thankful that we only had the one "in-person" visit requesting drugs, Leanne!! I was thankful I had the dog with me that day, even if he would have been a hopeless guard dog. At least they didn't know that at the time, lol.

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  5. Sue, perhaps it would make more of an impression on the postal service if, instead of putting things back in the post box one at a time, you saved them all up for a bit and carried a bunch of it into the office all at once? I don't know. Creepy!

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    1. We've tried many different strategies Jean, and none of them seem to have made a difference. I'm now resigned that we may well be receiving Jane's mail for the foreseeable future! The process of writing about it seemed to take the sting out of the tail for me, and I now feel quite peaceful that we've done everything we can and we just have to see what happens next!!!

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  6. Wow! How creepy! And to think nothing can be done is a little scary. Instead of identity theft it sounds like address theft! Hope you find some resolution! Thanks for sharing with us at The Blogger's Pit Stop! Roseann from This Autoimmune Life

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    1. It's been creepy, scary, frustrating and lot of other things over the past few months, Roseann, but now we're sort of amused and resigned. Each day that we find more mail for Jane we just laugh and wonder how long it's going to take for whoever is trying to get in contact with her to wake up to our readdressed returned mail and realise that perhaps our house is not where they're going to find Jane!!

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  7. Oh my goodness! You had me hooked til the end. I NEED to know who Jane is. Have you checked your ceiling? I'm kidding (kind of). There was a case a few years ago in Australia where a man was camping out in people's ceilings. Since then whenever something weird happens at home I say it's "the man in the ceiling". I get my husband to check up there regularly. LOL. But in all seriousness, this Jane stuff is CREEPY. Can't wait to hear what happens next! You've got to turn this into a movie ... #teamlovinlife

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    1. Leanne, you must have read my mind........... we have a loft (now) and I wondered the same myself, but hubby has checked and it's all clear, lol.
      It's definitely stranger than fiction though. I would LOVE to know just who Jane is. We still wonder aloud sometimes, as we drive down our (fairly long) street. Just last weekend we were playing around with house numbers, turning them upside down to see whether she might be dyslexic and actually think she lives at one number when she lives at another. My husband said "Maybe she's just always leaned over her mailbox from behind to check the number.........." haha. At least we can laugh about it, which hasn't always been the case, as you probably discerned from my post!!! If there is EVER a resolution, I'll be sure to post an update!! For now, though, Jane's mail just keeps on coming...........

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  8. That would freak me out totally - and while she may not technically be committing a crime the fact that debt collectors are sending letters suggests she is committing fraud somewhere. If she is unwilling to put her real address it suggests she doesn’t want to be found but needs the benefits that come from using a fixed abode. I hope you solve this quickly because it would make me very uncomfortable indeed.

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    1. We're pretty sure all of those things are true Tracy, but feel that we've come to the end of our available options and so just need to wait now to see what happens. The mail continues to come, but I hope that eventually someone will get the message that Jane actually doesn't live here!!
      Thanks for reading and commenting xx

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