Identity theft!

ID TheftYesterday I got a call from a collection agency attempting to collect a loan a payday lending company had given to someone using my name.  A while ago I had received a letter from them to that same effect, but none of it made any sense, and so I filed it in the “whatever” bin. I get so many letters that say “important – open immediately” and “official business” and so on that turn out to be just dumb scams that I often don’t even bother opening them. This one looked just specific enough that I was not sure, though. So the lady from the collection agency called and explained the matter to me. Now I had read and heard many an account of coersive and even abusive tactics used by these people, so I was very apprehensive. But she was nice and after some Q&A I was able to establish that there was no way that I actually took out this loan.

So I called the payday loan company and after a few phone calls, we established that someone in California took out the loan over the Internet using my name and SSN and a different address. I have never been to California and so I could not have taken out the loan. In fact, that company would not even lend me any money because I am not a California resident. So this is clearly case of identity theft, albeit causing more of a nuisance (to me) than any real damage. Considering how easy it is nowadays to get valid Social Security Number and name, it’s a bit surprising how easy this company makes it to get a loan on their website! And clearly they do not verify the information carefully.

Well, tomorrow I’ll be visiting the Police Department to file an ID Theft report and then I’ll fax that to the loan company and to the collection agency, and that should be the end of that. This does make wonder though, what if it was not so easy to prove that I did not in fact take out that loan?

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