Soutwestern Bell Telephone Company (TEXAS) Complaint - So called "Identity Fraud"

Review by Octavia on 2004-12-10
ARLINGTON, TEXAS -- I was a good customer of SBC while living in Texas and moved with a paid in full account. Almost two years later (April, 2004) my credit report with Equifax reflected a collections notice, the first I've had. It was for $5,200 and showed the owner as SBC and the collection agency as Encore Receivable. I began the process of clearing this from my credit report, thinking it would take a few phone calls, letters, or emails. WRONG. Both companies immediately labeled this problem as Identity Fraud. However, I never received a bill and have not to this date. In addition the account was to a person with my name in St. Louis, MO, a place I've never lived. Also, there were none of the indicators of fraud. I believe either SBC or Encore made a mistake and somehow reported this to the credit organizations. Neither company had my SSN. I protested without luck to these companies that this was not identity fraud. One of them sent me a fraud packet, saying I should complete and mail. I sent one to each company. Most of the questions were irrelevant to my problem. I spoke to several people at both companies. With the exception of one individual, everyone was polite, but obviously didn't have the authority to help me. I been sent from each company back to the other. I consulted legal advice from ALTA and was told the company has thirty days to respond or clear my record. I have not heard from either company saying this was done. I have reported this to the FTC and written a letter requesting help from Senator Kay Baily Hutchinson. Her staff have not responded, but I expect they are on Christmas break. My real concern about this is that the companies apparently have more power if they call a mistake a fraud. Congress has made it so difficult for a lone consumer to rectify a blot on his/her credit report. If there is a group out there trying to work with people like myself, I would be glad to join. D Willis.
Comments:1 Replies - Latest reply on 2005-04-12
Posted by CAMedWmn on 2005-04-12:
I have run into the same problem with Verizon, to some extent. Verizon was actually able to track me down via Equifax and a DSL service in my name, and to inform me they suspected my identity had benn stolen.

I have used my Nextel as a primary phone for several years now, so new service in my name was seen as quite unusual. The phone service was connected in a city I haven't resided in in quite some time. The suspect using my identity had her own phone disconnected days earlier, over an unpaid bill resulting from huge charges from collect calls from her boyfriend, who is in the county jail.

It is entirely proper, and for your protection, that SBC filed an identity fraud warning with Equifax. You should follow this up by placing a fraud alert immediately by automated telephone system through Equifax. They will in turn file the fraud alert with all the others as well, on your behalf. The report remains for 90 days. You must then follow up with a police report IN THE TOWN YOU NOW RESIDE IN for identity fraud. You can then use this report to place a fraud alert with Equifax that will last for 7 years. Equifax will file a similar one on your behalf automatically with the other credit reporting agencies. THIS IS FOR YOUR PROTECTION!!!!

The fraud alert will have the effect of preventing others from establishing any services or credit in your name without positive, in person, identification. Should this ID not be confirmed, the fraud alert will include a telephone number where you can be reached to verify that fraud has occurred. In every instance, you should file a police report, regardless of how trivial it may seem.

Identity fraud is a huge problem, mainly because the victims of this fraud refuse to do anything about it until it is way too late. Many refuse to act because they fear (incorrectly) that an identity fraud alert will hurt them and their credit. While it does create extra steps one must go through to confirm their identity, it is well worth that bit of inconvenience.

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