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A relative who has never lived at our house is in the habit of falsely using our home address as their place of residence whenever disclosing their place of residence for legal purposes, rather than using their own.

Additionally, this relative is the family wastrel/black sheep/prodigal child, and is intentionally using our address in order to avoid the consequences of their bad behavior, and as a result, we receive bills and other legal documents intended for this relative, but what is more troubling, we also receive visits from debt collectors and officers of the law who are looking for this relative. We cannot even tell these people where to find our relative, as they know that we will not help hide them, and so we are not told the relative's current address or other contact details.

We are in the position where this relative's actions have become intolerable, but asking the relative to correct their residential address registration with all entities where our address has been falsely substituted has been refused - apparently our discomfort is amusing to our prodigal relative.

We are at the point where this relative has destroyed any shred of affection that we may have had for them, and we are prepared to apply the full force of the law in order to have this situation corrected, no matter how negatively it may impact our relative.

We and our relative live in Victoria, Australia, so what laws of that jurisdiction may we reasonably expect to be able to use to redress this situation?

EDIT

Ideally there would be some criminal matter with which we could have our relative charged, since we do not have - nor do we feel that we should have to expend - the financial resources necessary to protect ourselves from our relative by bringing a civil suit.

  • Part of the problem is likely to be that this relative hasn't actually committed a crime against you (despite the trouble he has caused). The victims, from a legal point of view, are the people he has defrauded and who are now sending round debt collectors. – Paul Johnson Jul 28 at 14:42
  • Could it not be said that we are also victims of our relative's acts of fraud, since unauthorised and unjustified use of our address is the fraudulent act, and the nuisance caused to us arises from those acts of fraud? – Monty Wild Jul 28 at 22:30
  • @MontyWild this might fit some definitions of harassment. I have no idea whether that is the case in Victoria. – phoog Jul 28 at 23:30
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You could seek an injunction prohibiting this

This would make any future instances contempt of court.

However, there are a number of difficulties:

  • it’s expensive. Only the Supreme Court can issue injunctions and you would expect to pay about $20,000 in legal fees and court costs, possibly more if it was contested.
  • you need to serve your relative with the application and the injunction. As you don’t know where they are this is problematical.
  • it’s limited to Victoria and wouldn’t stop them using your address while they were in other states, territories or countries.

Proactively notify likely organisations

You could write to likely government departments, credit reporting agencies, major retailers etc. advising them that this person does not live at your address. Depending on the efficacy of their systems this may stop them using your address in the first place.

  • I have the feeling that while giving false information to the question of one's residential address is illegal, and can be punished if the authorities choose to do so, that there is also some criminal charge that we can bring against this relative. I'm just not sure what. Additionally, that way, once charges had been laid, the onus would be on our relative to defend the charges, not on us to prove them. – Monty Wild Jul 28 at 2:24
  • @MontyWild the onus is always on the person who makes the allegation, not the defendant except in very particular and not applicable here areas of the law. – Dale M Jul 28 at 2:35
  • I agree... but in a criminal matter, we could present the necessary evidence to the police along with the complaint that our relative has committed offense X against us, and provided that the police found that the offense had most likely been committed as we have accused, then our relative would be in the position of having to provide a defense. I just don't know exactly what 'X' is called. – Monty Wild Jul 28 at 2:43
  • @MontyWild Perjury, to start. – IllusiveBrian Jul 28 at 4:08
  • 2
    @IllusiveBrian unlikely- you usually don’t fill out forms under oath – Dale M Jul 28 at 4:21

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