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Help please - Mom fighting identity theft battle

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ihaveaquestion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-05 09:25 AM
Original message
Help please - Mom fighting identity theft battle
Does anyone know a surefire way to make credit collection agencies back off?

My mother is trying to convince them that two old cell phone accounts aren't hers and never were. They were opened in her name with addresses she never lived at and they're now in collection. She closed the accounts, but now they want her to pay the money and won't believe that she didn't open them - fraud reports notwithstanding!

She's filed police reports and complaints with Equifax, etc, to no avail. They insist they've verified the addresses and that the accounts belong to her - but won't send her the verification documentation. Her next step is a meeting with a lawyer.

Do filing complaints with the FTC help in any way? http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft / I sent her this site and she'll do what they say, but how much good will it do?

Anybody have experience with this?
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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-05 09:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. Tell them you aren't paying
So don't bother phoning. It's that simple.
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Akoto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-05 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
2. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Edited on Fri Aug-26-05 09:37 AM by Akoto
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/fdc.htm

That site details the rights granted to your mother under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If they're violating these rules and you can show them you know it, they'll back down rather than getting nailed with a suit. Your mother can also send them a letter (or just plain tell them to stop) and they must stop calling.

This, combined with the assistance of the lawyer you mentioned, may help to fend off the collectors until you figure out the identity theft issue.
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CornField Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-05 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
3. If she just wants them to quit phoning
Edited on Fri Aug-26-05 09:34 AM by CornField
all she has to do is tell them to stop.

Next time they phone, she should get on the phone and get the name of the company, the contact information and the full name of the person phoning her. (IF that person won't give up his/her full name, she needs to request a supervisor.) Then she needs to inform that person that she no longer wishes to converse with them at all. Then follow-up with a letter to that effect. I'd be sure to add that I was ceasing communication because I knew this debt was not my own.

She can also report the offending agencies to her state department, better business bureau, etc.
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Blue Diadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-05 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
4. Does your local tv news station have a call for action to assist
people who have unsolved problems?

My daughter received some good info from them about a car problem. They don't always have to investigate, they can give you information on what you can do or who you can contact.

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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-05 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
5. talk to her state attorney general & her congresscritter
my experience is not the best example, as my identity theft situation was handled smoothly & efficiently by the credit card co. once i provided documentation, which was basically a $10 notarized letter saying i didn't make the charges & didn't live at the address in question

i've had other complaints that seemed intractable, that my congressman's staff and/or my state attorney general's office was able to get sorted out w. a letter or two

since equifax is not behaving in reasonable fashion, absolutely, she needs to see an attorney & start litigation for damages against equifax as well as the collection agencies

cell phone fraud is not rare or uncommon, they should have procedures for dealing w. this, unfortunately collection agencies often pretend not to believe you've been defrauded, why, because some people break down and pay just to get peace from their harassment, which means they go on a list & will be contacted again, plus they've given the agency incentive to harass even more people

do not whatever you do DO NOT pay any money you do not owe

it never ends in the experience of a friend in that situation

once you pay part of a fraudulent debt, you've acknowledged the debt

it becomes yours

don't pay ANYTHING you don't owe

get your mom to that lawyer
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ihaveaquestion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-05 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
6. THANKS, EVERYONE!
You're all VERY helpful!

:yourock:
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miss_kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-05 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
7. File with the FTC
report the collection agencies that are harassing your mom to your state's AG.

If she hasn't already, she should send copies of the police report to the phone companies involved, including a nastygram with a message for them to call the debt back from the collectrolls and for them to do it sharpish. She needs to inform them that they are fraud.

The FTC will give her the names of the three CBR agencies (I think links may be on that site) She needs to contact them (with a pen and a notebook-they'll give her reference numbers) and report the fraud. Then she needs to follow up with a letter to all 3 saying she wants the 7 year warning on her CBR.

She should call her bank and put a # password on her acct. If her SSN is being used, she should password protect that too.

Good luck. If you have any questions down the line, please feel free to PM meI am an ex Fraud investigator, and more recently, an ID theft victim.
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