You get a few spam letters regularly, and it can get your blood boiling. But you can always throw them away, right? Lots of places are spammed with junk email, but nothing is comparable to 1234 AB, 123 in Netherlands. It is an absolute nightmare to live at this spammed address and you can’t even imagine!
The 1234 AB, 123 is an address that not only hackers, but many other people use, either to protect their privacy, or just out of laziness. What these people fail to realize is that actual people are living there who are affected immensely by this act. Motherboard Netherlands discovered the most spammed address of the country and began an investigation to find out its reality. It turns out that the address exists in the Noord Holland province and shows up on Google Streetview as well. They found out the numbers and approached the residents of the place to find out the effects of spamming on their lives.
You may have thought that throwing out a lot of junk emails might be the only trouble for the people living in this place, but the reality is much tougher. Motherboard first reached a man named Fransen and heard quite a bunch of interesting stories from him. Fransen said that after he had moved to 1234 AB, 123 in 2009, his phone and internet was cut off within half a year, and a few months later, he was deprived of the gas, water, and electricity connection as well. It took him a long time to figure out the actual problem.
Fransen finally discovered that many Dutch companies offer relocation services when someone moves to a new place. All they do is notify the utility suppliers to cut off the utilities and set them up at the new location. Many of these people fill out the address as 1234 AB, 123 to make the processes easier, and the authorities cut off the supply at Fransen and his co-tenants’ place.
Supply cut-off was the smallest of the problems faced by them, as Fransen then began to run into more walls. He tries unsubscribing from NCS newspaper, only to figure out that a large number of people did not pay for their subscription that showed up at 1234 AB, 123. To unsubscribe, he had to pay all the pending debts. He also could not buy anything at Bol.com (Amazon-like Dutch website), because many people had already used his address to register and then disobeyed the website’s terms and conditions later.
Fransen had no option to go on a vacation to restore his peace, as he feared that authorities might cut-off his utilities behind his back. He had to check the mail box constantly for any threats of utility discontinuation. Every time, he had to explain the same story that the indebted person does not even live at this address.
During the investigation, Motherboard also contacted an 83 years old woman, Mrs. Hendricks, living at the same address, whose life was as unfortunate as Fransen’s. Until a few years ago, the woman only received strange letters, but these began to get much worse. Soon a point came when she never had enough time to empty the mailbox, before it was trashed again.
Many of the letters received are addressed to “T. Test,” which is not even an actual name, but just a word that call-center employees use when they are learning to input new addresses. These letters do not get canceled, but get delivered to the same cursed address. Some of the mails are just hilarious, as Fransen says, “We received mail addressed to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dagobert Duck, and Piet Piemel. The level of Dutch humor is really sad.”
The people living at 1234AB, 123 have spent years to figure out a way to get rid of this nightmare, but all in vain. Local authorities were of no help as well, because the postal services had been privatized, and all the postal problems, including the assignment of postal codes, were being handled by the company PostNL. Despite the continuous efforts, the company paid no heed to the requests. Finally, the residents resorted to sending a cake to the director of the company, just to prove how terrible it is to receive things you did not ask for.
The only suitable solution came from the mayor of the city, who suggested that the building address must be changed to the adjacent street, as it was a corner building. The postal code remained the same, but the house number 123 was no longer associated with it. The residents could not even breathe in relief, before Fransen’s electricity was cut off again in December. It will be another ten years before they can manage to erase their addresses from the databases of utility suppliers, and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.
Fictitious names and address have been used for privacy concerns.