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What has happened

A unknown party has ordered multiple items from zalando.ch (a clothing retailer), while using my address as the delivery address.

Note: I have no account there, and never ordered, so this was not an account breach or online identity theft in the strict sense.

Subsequently, the first arriving parcel has been intercepted by the fraudster at my mailbox before I even realized it. The second and third parcel have been delivered to my door, so I came aware of the fraud.

My actions

I have sent back the two parcels I received, and reported the missing packet and the fraud to the online shop. According to the shop, the fraudulent account has now been closed. I was told that I need to report to the police, which I did.

The police officer noted the incident in a short, formless report and emailed me a copy. However, I could not formally make an indictment, they said, as the actual damage is suffered by the online shop.

How to protect

I now fear that I need to go down the road of bills, reminders and enforcement proceedings.

How to protect myself from the upcoming unwarranted bills of the online shop?

Note: This is specifically in Switzerland, and even since zalando is a german shop, swiss law will be applicable in court, as per their GTS.

Note2: I now have set up the swiss post "notification service", as suggested by @xngtng to get notified whenever a parcel is on it's way to me. This allows me to get ahead of unwanted deliveries.

2 Answers 2

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How to protect myself from the upcoming unwarranted bills of the online shop?

At the outset, make sure you keep records/evidence of the events: your returning of the packages, your compliance with the shop's directions, the response you received from the police, and so forth. This evidence will defeat the shop's potential allegations.

It seems wrong for the police to say that "the actual damage is suffered by the online shop" as pretext for declining to address the incidents. You shouldn't have to remind the police that trespassing or unlawful entry is a crime. I was unable to find a Swiss statutory equivalent of mail fraud apropos of the buyer's false pretenses in giving your address without your authorization.

The police should at least create a report of this pattern of incidents. From the unknown party's odd conduct, it cannot be ruled out that at some point he will use your address also for purchasing illegal objects.

If the incidents persist, you might want to send the shop a cease-and-desist email message. At this point there is no reason for the shop to continue delivering packages at your address in relation to that account.

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  • I have to add that the police was quite forthcoming, they even offered to do an undercover surveillance of the mailbox. It's on public grounds, so no trespassing occurred. Since I suspected that the fraudster already got "cold feet" because of me intercepting the later packages I suggested that the surveillance might be leading to nowhere. It's just that they did not want to take the indictment.
    – Marcel
    Feb 11 at 14:02
  • The account has been closed now, I have updated the initial text. Since the shop insists on an "indictment to proceed", which I seemingly can not get, I fear of the looming bills.
    – Marcel
    Feb 11 at 14:08
  • I read your mail scam link, and actually it really seems they did not scam me, but the shop. Maybe I am overcautious, but I fear, even as the fraud was not towards me personally, I would have to pay for it. Hence my question.
    – Marcel
    Feb 11 at 14:11
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You can't protect yourself from getting a bill, although it's unlikely Zalando would pursue you without particular suspicious circumstances since the scam is relatively common. Reply to letters by registered mail and be firm, clear and succinct to reject the bills.

Debt enforcement proceedings are relatively straightforward in Switzerland. If you send a written objection to the formal notice issued by the debt enforcement office within the legal deadline, it is unlikely that they will pursue it in the debt court for small amounts.

Consider getting a legal insurance if you are really worried. You can also ask the Post to retain packages addressed to you.

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  • I am now using the tracking service of the swiss post. With my address confirmed, I can get an email whenever a parcel is on it's way to me, allowing me to set delivery options each time. I was lucky enough that the fraudster did not set up this beforehand, for his own benefit...
    – Marcel
    Feb 11 at 16:39

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