The One With Southern Walmarts
A customer had multiple checks forged and transacted at various Walmart stores in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. In total, the customer was victimized by more than $14,000. The customer’s bank refused to work to resolve the issue or to provide the documentation requested. The bank also became unresponsive and refused to refund any money to the customer. ID Preserve identity theft restoration specialists stepped in to assist the customer by initiating disputes about withdrawals from the bank and Walmart. Specialists also contacted various state and federal law enforcement agencies. After receiving a formal dispute letter explaining that it would face large civil and administrative liabilities and penalties, Walmart refunded all of the amounts from the forgeries to the customer. The case ended in a full recovery in about five months, and the customer saved $5,000 to $8,000 (based on a rate of $300.00 per hour) that they would have spent hiring an attorney to handle the recovery.
An ID Preserve customer had fraudulent charges on his Discover card. ID Preserve identity specialists obtained as much account information that they could from the customer and filed a dispute with Discover, showing persistence and tenacity. Discover initially denied that the charges were fraudulent, and claimed that the signatures matched the signature of the customer in their records. After vigorous questioning, specialists demanded copies of the signatures and upon receipt, recommended that the customer have a handwriting expert review the documents. The customer reviewed the signatures and decided to retain an attorney to pursue the fraudulent claims using the information he had. ID Preserve specialists had successfully assisted the customer and brought him to a place where he was confident to seek court action. Specialists remained as key witnesses in the action if future litigation was needed.
The One That Lasted Over a Year
A customer had her business checking account and routing information copied by a fraudster who had created preauthorized electronic checks. The person was able to withdraw funds in small increments from the customer’s account for more than a year. The customer overlooked the small charges until she realized that the money had been deposited in a separate account to pay annual taxes that had been dwindled to almost zero. In total, several thousand dollars were stolen. The customer’s bank refused to work with her to resolve the issue or provide documentation. ID Preserve specialists stepped in to assist and initiated disputes about unauthorized withdrawals from the bank. Specialists also had to report the bank branch to several outside regulatory agencies for investigation because of the bank’s lack of cooperation. Eventually, the bank refunded most of the client’s funds, however, specialists are still working with the customer and agencies to request the remaining funds. Though not a high-dollar case, it was very complex and stressful for the customer, as her bank had not responded to any requests. Specialists have been working with the customer for about 10 months and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.
The One With Social Security
A husband and wife had their personal information stolen by an acquaintance. The person applied for four new accounts in access of $10,000 and used the stolen information to request that the customers’ Social Security checks be re-routed to a different bank account. The person was able to obtain two months of Social Security checks and deposited them. The Social Security Administration was not helpful, and advised that the customer contact the bank that received the funds and request a refund before they would pay back the Social Security benefits. However, the bank said that the Social Security Administration needed to refund the money and refused to help. The customers tried to work with the bank and the SSA for about five months, unsuccessfully. By the time they reached ID Preserve’s specialists, they were very frustrated. Specialists stepped in and sent demand letters to the bank requesting a full refund. After a couple of phone calls and negotiations with the bank’s legal department, specialists obtained a full refund for what the customers had lost. Specialists also sent dispute letters on all of the fraudulent accounts and were able to get each account dismissed.
A customer called because of several fraudulent accounts on his credit reports. After trying to dispute the items himself with no success, he contacted the ID Preserve specialists. Upset and feeling violated, the customer said he couldn’t believe that someone was using his personal information and said, “I don’t think you will be able to help me, but I have a problem.” He told the specialists that the creditors were treating him like a fraudster, when he was actually the victim. Specialists calmed the customer and helped him see that he now had an advocate. The customer had a total of nine fraudulent accounts reported on his credit file. After six months of communication through letters and phone calls with creditors, specialists were able to get all accounts deleted from the customer’s credit reports. The customer was extremely happy and appreciative of the service provided by ID Preserve specialists.
The One That Saved $30,000
A customer was receiving notices from the IRS that he had income reported that he had not paid taxes on, and an investigation was opened. The IRS investigation prompted the customer to pull a credit report. What he found was an open collection account reporting on his credit report that was not his. The collection agency told the customer that the collection was related to a criminal restitution charge using his personal information. The agency also told him that he needed to contact the judge involved in the case to get it resolved. ID Preserve specialists started working on the case with the Attorney’s Office of Mesa County and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in September 2010. Specialists assisted in obtaining all necessary items from the customer in order to clear his name. A full investigation, including fingerprint analysis, had to be done to clear him. Specialists continue to work with the customer and county to get the records sealed. The identity theft has made it difficult for the man to get needed licensing for his profession. ID Preserve specialists have provided documentation to the licensing department to be sure he can now receive what he needs. The estimated time spent on this case is about 75 hours, and specialists have saved the client $25,000 to $30,000 in attorney fees.
The One With Workers' Compensation
This case involved a judgment on a customer’s credit report in the sum of $60,250 from the New York Workers Compensation Board. The customer was a business owner and adamant that he, nor his company, owed this money. ID Preserve specialists contacted the WCB to get more information but the board was not able to locate the judgment in their records using the customer’s Social Security number. After being referred to Advocate for Business, our identity specialists contacted the group and began working with a representative, who was able to locate the judgement and contact other departments at the WCB who were able to determine that it did not belong to the customer. Apparently, there were several hundred businesses with the same name, and this was probably the reason for the mix-up. About a week letter, specialists received a stipulation in the mail vacating the judgment immediately of $60,250. They forwarded the stipulation to the courthouse and to the credit reporting agencies. After these actions, the judgment was successfully removed from the customer’s credit report.
The One With the World Traveler
A well-traveled, international businessman had his Social Security number used by a criminal in another state. He became aware of the fraud when he was stopped by security on one of his international flights because his name had been placed on a criminal watch list. He was not prohibited from flying but was concerned that that could happen in the future. The customer had a staff of people who could work on the situation for him, and those employees contacted ID Preserve for advice on what to do. Specialists recommended that they contact the police department in the jurisdiction where the fraudster was arrested and work on obtaining a “certificate of ID theft” or “certificate of innocence,” which the customer could carry with him while traveling. Specialists also recommended contacting the FBI or Federal Department of Justice to assist in clearing the man’s name from national criminal databases. The customer’s name was successfully cleared from the criminal watch list.
The One With a Lying Girlfriend
A doctor trusted his girlfriend to handle all of the household finances. They had joint accounts, but the customer never handled transactions. The girlfriend began to open several credit accounts in the customer’s name, even opening a completely different bank account and transferring money to the joint account so it would seem like the customer was involved. The customer was unaware of what was happening, but eventually learned of the activity and the couple separated. When the customer tried to have the fraudulent accounts cleared, he did not receive any cooperation from creditors or collection agencies. They believed he was the one who had opened the accounts. The customer was referred to ID Preserve, and specialists required the customer to file a police report. Specialists disputed all of the accounts – seven total – and resolved the creditor claims. The ex-girlfriend was arrested and charged with felony fraud. The customer’s credit was restored and he was very thankful for the specialists’ recovery and advocacy, saying he couldn’t have done it without them.
The One With the Busy Business Owner
A customer became a victim of identity theft on four different occasions. The customer attempted to dispute the debts herself before turning to professional help. The fraudster appeared to live in the same city as the customer, causing creditors to think the customer was committing the fraud. The customer owned her own business and was overwhelmed with her own responsibilities. She noted on several occasions that her schedule was very full and without ID Preserve’s identity specialists, she would have had a difficult time staying on top of what needed to be done.