Tue, Aug 29, 2000 8:51 PM
Subject: Re: Assistance for victims
I am interested in work in the area of victim assistance. I have been the victim of identify theft and embezzlement and continue to pay large sums of money to clear these accounts.
I am an attorney and feel completely helpless. There does not appear to be an adequate, complete or useable recourse for victims. The credit bureaus are of no assistance and in one case enabled the identity theft. At one time I contacted the credit bureaus and disputed the account. I disclosed that the account is a fraud because it did not contain certain identifiers I use (i.e., middle initial, etc.) The credit bureau simply notified the creditor and the next statement was undated to include the identifier.
Because I have identifiable assets, I have creditors unwilling to even investigate the disputed charges and simply say I must pay. I have litigated some matters, but the cost is extreme. I can litigate my own cases, but that is still an expense.
As the current system is setup the consumer has no recourse once they have been a victim. Further, the burden is shifted to the consumer instead of the creditor or the credit reporting agency to prove the information they report is invalid. I advocate reform that requires the credit reporting agency and the creditor to prove the account is valid prior to reporting a derogatory account. They can undertake a validation process and verification and if necessary must obtain leave of the court to report such, once a customer executes a statement under oath that the account is not their account.