I am picking up on a disturbing trend at my new place of employment. The majority of the new accounts I am required to collect are defaulted gas station credit cards. Shell, Amaco, Citgo, Texaco, you know the ones.
More often than not, when I contact these "debtors" or they contact me, they are taken by surprise and they swear they have never taken out such an account. Now, since I know consumer's rights, I'm not going to trample upon someone's right of validation. If they deny ever haivng these accounts and want to dispute them, more power to them. However, here is where it gets worse.
The dates on these accounts show and opening date and a charge off date of more than a year to up to ten years later, suggesting that the account was opened, paid upon for a period of time, then forgotten and turned over to collections, making identity theft difficult to prove from a creditor's perspective.
These "debtors" on these accounts have certain similarities. Most of them are in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Hampshire. Areas not exactly famous for high incomes, mostly low to middle incomes. Also, the "debtors" are usually retirees, college-age kids, and foreigners speaking broken English if any English at all. What does all this have in common? They are less likely to be able to afford legal counsel for identity theft! And since these defaulted account balances are small, supposedly they'd be better off just paying them and having them off their credit reports. They need their good name after all.
Here is one more alarming piece of information that all of you need to know to arm yourselves. Any person or agency with access to Accurint can acquire your date of birth and social security number just as long as they know your name and any past or present address.
I think the agency that sold my agency these accounts is behind these fraudulent gas card accounts. Why would all these gas station creditors need to steal all these identites and make up these phony accounts? It doesn't make sense. Sure, a few of the accounts are valid, people own up and pay them, but like I said earlier, more often than not people swear up and down they never had the account! One guy was 11 years old on the date his "account" was opened, one guy said he never owned a car or had a driver's license!
I want you all to keep your eyes peeled on your credit reports for any crap like this. The name to watch out for is Arvesco. This is the third party agency that sold us all these defaulted gas cards. I don't know how they did it, set up the accounts I mean, but it has been done, and the damage has been done. If there is any other information about this you need or that I have left out, please ask away.
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