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Identity theft and collection agency not accepting proof.

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My son started getting bills from Spectrum Billing around Dec 07. Addressed to my son but the cell phone that the charge was made on was not his. He knew who the owner of the cell phone was and gave the bill to him and told him to straighten it out twice. well they started calling here. My son told them it was not his cell phone and to stop calling. They said the charge was made on his charge card, he told them he didn't have a charge card.We finally found out his Debit/Credit card which had been reported as lost in May 2007 was used on this Nov 07 phone call. He went to the police and reported it, He tried to get the "friend" who owned the phone to go with him with his phone records to prove he didn't do it. He told my son the phone had been lost during this time. But ended up going alone. He went to the bank, they spent a day, back tracking to find when his card was replaced. Bank manager wrote a letter stating when it was replaced. Apparently Wachovia does not "cancel" a debit card when it is reported lost and they replace it, this was news to us and most people. I faxed copies of both the police report and the letter from the bank manager to Spectrum Billing. Since then my son has been out of state is now on the road as a long haul truck driver. Spectrum decided that wasn't good enough proof. They said they validated that he made the payments and he said he would. I asked when and got the dates. I asked what phone number did they validate it on, they said the cell phone that was used. Well now we know so called friend did not lose the phone, he or some one with him said yes they were my Son and yes they would pay for it. But when My son told me to ask them for a copy of the so called verification they say they didn't record it. They called so called friends home since we faxed a copy of the police report. Said friend told them he would bring money to me to pay them, which he didn't. So we have identity theft, fraud and my son is unable to be in one place to handle this. He didn't do it. we are still being harassed by phone calls.Is it worth it to get a lawyer to try and take care of this 215$ bill?They said send the police report, since they didn't arrest the friend it wasn't good enough. They said if the friend called and said he did it they would take it off my sons credit and go after the friend. But apparently that isn't enough.To us it's the principle of the thing. you should have seen my son when I showed him how you could GOOGLE the phone number called from the cell phone. He hit the ceiling. A certain type of ****phone call. Any ideas? do we have to pay these people and trust they will take it off his credit report and then sue the "friend" meaning more time spent. I am handicapped and can not sit in a court room. My son can not be here.Spectrum said at one point our son had to pay them and then go to small claims court to get the money from his friend.

[color=Red]****Adult term removed - Jason[/color]




Hello MMMPLM75 and welcome! I'm afraid I'm not very well versed with this type of problem, but please hang tight, someone who is will be around to help you as soon as possible.

Sub: #1 posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 20:03

Shazzers Shazzers
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I know this post is a year old, but I thought I'd post any way just in case the matter hadn't been resolved or in the event that someone else stumbles upon the page like I did and needs a similar answer.

I myself am a victim of identity theft at the hands of a once former friend, and a law student who has done his research on identity theft. Let me just start by saying to consider yourself lucky. I say this because your son only has one fraudulent charge on his credit report, and it is only $215. Now, that's not to minimize your situation, its just sort of a "count your blessings" statement. So many people get hit with a lot more than one charge, and a lot more than $215. I myself have more than $7,000 in fraudulent credit card balances on my credit report, as well as an $18,000 car loan.

The first thing your son needs to do is stop communication with the collection agency so as to avoid saying something that may commit him to payment of the bill, and or be considered a waiver of rights.

Next, you need to place a fraud alert on your son's credit report with all three credit reporting agencies. They are, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Just google their names and you'll find their web addresses. Be sure to place the "extended fraud alert" on the report, and not the 90 day alert. The extended alert will stay for seven years, or until your son removes it.

After you do that, collect all the information you have about the charge. Police reports, every piece of mail or fax you ever received from the collection agency and the cell phone carrier that sold the debt to the collection agency. Write down everything that your son's supposed friend has ever said in regard to the charge and his communications with the cell phone company and the collection agency. Then, take all this to the police station and demand that they arrest him.

This is not only identity theft, but because your son's "friend" used a phone to commit his crimes they are now considered wire fraud which is a federal offense that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a fine. He can also be charged with impersonating your son since he spoke to the collection agency and told them that he was your son and that he would pay the bill. He is also guilty of a host of other related crimes (fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, identity theft, impersonation, lying to the police, forgery, et cetera).

In order to make an arrest you must present enough evidence to prove "probable cause." You do not have to prove this man's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the job of the prosecutor, most likely one of the Assistant District Attorneys. Just take the police enough evidence (everything I've described above) to constitute probable cause in order for a judge to grant issue a warrant for his arrest. A grand jury will then determine if there is sufficient evidence to go to trial. The burden of proff is probable cause, and evidence can be circumstantial and heresay is admissible at this stage. Less than three per cent of all arrests result in a no-bill from a grand jury. The other ninety seven per cent result in indictments.

After you have given all the evidence you have and the friend has been arrested and indicted, the prosecutor must prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the crime occurred, and that it was perpetrated by the man on trial for it. This is not your job. Of course, the prosecutor will require your full cooperation but ultimately it is his responsibility. Remember, the prosecutor has the subpoena power--which you do not. He can force the collection agency to hand over anything that they haven't been willing to release to you.

Also, the prosecutor will deliberately over charge the accused in an attempt to extract a confession. This will probably happen. He will charge the ex-friend with all of the crimes I described and then some, which could add up to the equivalent of a life sentence. Then, thinking that he's going to spend the rest of his life in jail for $215 he will be willing to plead out. The prosecutor will offer to drop all but one of the charges (probably wire fraud) in exchange for him pleading guilty to that charge. He will likely pay a fine, do a short county jail term and be ordered to pay restitution if you decide to go ahead and pay the bill.

In any case, once the man is arrested call the collection agency and tell them. They will likely write off the debt and stop contacting you. Then, when he is convicted or pleads out call the collection agency and the credit reporting agencies and demand that they remove the post on your son's credit report. They are required by law to do so if you can prove someone else was responsible for it. In this case, a conviction for or admission of the crime (pleading) by someone other than your son is proof enough.

I hope this helps.

Sub: #2 posted on Mon, 06/08/2009 - 03:22

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The police will probably not do much about a $200 charge. It doesn???t matter what the police do though. All the guy has to do is file a police report stating what items are not his on his credit report and declare it as identity theft. The guy does not have to prove his identity was stolen and he certainly does not need to figure out who did it and get them to confess. Even if he knows his friend did it he is not required to get that friend to provide statements or cooperate with the police in order to get the negative items removed from his credit report. That becomes the problem of the creditor and the police to figure out. The creditor and the credit reporting agencies have to remove those items from his report or they are in violation of the FCRA.

Sub: #3 posted on Thu, 06/18/2009 - 08:48

DOLLARSandSINCE DOLLARSandSINCE
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