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I am not Peter Lathrop.

Yet I know that Peter Lathrop just ordered an iPhone 4 from AT&T on Tuesday and it will be arriving at his address in Indianapolis tomorrow. It’s still in transit with UPS.

I have no idea who this guy is. A cursory search of Google brings up little information on him. But I know his phone number.

Back in the “old” days, when you gave someone your address, letters rarely found their way somewhere else. But in the e-mail age, if you punch in the e-mail address wrong into an online form, suddenly, your e-mails could very well be going to someone else. Such is the case here: another instance of mistaken identity.

I first got an e-mail confirming the change to his cellular plan on Tuesday. No useful information was on that except for his account number, which, I was told by the grunt at AT&T customer service could not either prompt them to contact Peter Lathrop to let him know his e-mail was wrong, remove the incorrect address from his account, or make them give me his phone number so that I could call him myself. At the end of the call, I was told that if I could get him to call in and authorize me on the account, I could make the change myself.


At 1:52 a.m. on Wednesday, I got another e-mail from AT&T thanking Peter Lathrop for his order of a brand spanky new iPhone–a 16 GB model, in black for a mere $299 plus tax and data charges added to his new cellular plan. Now as much as I would probably love to own one, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, and I certainly would not jump on the AT&T bandwagon. Plus, I am far from awake at 1:52 a.m., and am even farther from placing cell phone orders at that time. However, this e-mail included a valuable piece of information: his cell phone number.

I don’t like the fact that I’m getting someone else’s e-mail. First off, I don’t like the idea that someone punched my e-mail address into some computer system at the former Ma Bell. I also don’t like the idea that someone named Peter may be waiting for his e-mail confirmations that have obviously not arrived at their intended destination. And I also don’t like the idea that someone besides myself is cluttering up my inbox.

So I called up this Peter Lathrop yesterday, left a message on his current AT&T phone, and told him that he apparently gave them the wrong e-mail address because I’ve been getting e-mails from them confirming the change in his cell plan, and his iPhone order. Oh, and I pointed out that because I was getting the e-mails, I had his phone number, and that’s how I found him.

I got no response.

Late Wednesday, I got another e-mail which included another round of thanks for his order, included instructions to activate his new phone, and ultimately, even the tracking number for the UPS parcel that’s on its way. (And I wish to point out that when you have that information, you can easily change the destination of the package…I did not do that.) This is how I learned he lived in Indianapolis…Though honestly, I could have probably found that out based on his area code.

So I called him up yet again today. I was greeted again by his voicemail, and I left yet another message explaining the situation.

Part of me is starting to think his old phone may have ended up in a toilet or smashed under a car wheel or something like that…Or he’s just like me and never feels his phone vibrate and he never remembers to turn on the ringer except on rare occasions.

I have not heard back from him on this, and I don’t know if I will. But, I do know that sometime tomorrow, he’ll be getting the box with his new…sigh…iPhone 4. And I’ll probably get another e-mail thanking him for his order.

I’d feel a lot better about this if he just updates his e-mail address with AT&T.

See you tomorrow.