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More bad news, it is IMPERATVE you all read this

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Hi everyone,

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.




Ari, that's really scary - anyone can get your SS# just by knowing your name and address! I wonder where they get this info from and if there's some way we can stop them. Thanks for posting this. I will definitely be keeping an eye on my credit reports.

Sub: #1 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 08:52

dbaker6 dbaker6

(Posts: 1600 | Credits: 147.48)

Unfortunately dbaker, people access your information each and every day without you knowing it. Your social security number is everywhere you don't want it to be and sometimes people place it on the internet once their computers have been hacked. It is just amazing of how dirty and cruel creditors can be to give out your information without you knowing and without you even be warned that this is occurring.

Thanks for the heads up. I know that it is scary thought but what can we do with a goverment who insists on listening to our phone calls, tapping into our emails and opening our regular mail.

Sub: #2 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 09:14

Alexandra Alexandra

(Posts: 544 | Credits: 108.85)

It's a shame that things like this will happen. It's just a numbers game to the fraudsters, if they can get 5 out of every 100 to pay then they still made some money off of their scam.

In Accurint's defense, since about November 2004 the company has been blocking out the last 4 of a person's ssn with ****. I also think they are on top of their security... when my boss retired and I took his spot, I never deleted his username from Accurint. After about 3 months, a guy from their security operations called to inquire why his username was inactive. When I told him my boss was no longer with the company, the guy told me "for security reasons, I will have to suspend your account until you delete his username," and the guy waited on the phone until I logged in and deleted my boss' id. I also remember that we had to go through a big process to get our company signed up with Accurint.

Sub: #3 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 09:19

DebtCruncher DebtCruncher
Moderators
(Posts: 2296 | Credits: 269.79)

This is a big thing out here right now, too..I heard rumor that someone at my job has been a victim. It scares me half to death.

Sub: #4 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 09:57

finsfan13 finsfan13
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(Posts: 6919 | Credits: 652.11)

That's a sobering thought, Alexandra. Thanks, Debtcruncher, for the reassurance. It's just amazing to me what people can do with your personal information.

Sub: #5 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 10:56

dbaker6 dbaker6

(Posts: 1600 | Credits: 147.48)

DBaker, to answer your question on where they get their info... Accurint is tied to Lexus Nexis. They can get their data from anything electronic... one of their main things is that they go through all the public court records and compile all the information: court cases, bankruptcies, property deeds, tax assessments (all stuff that you could get through Freedom of Information Act). I think they have agreements with many service providers, like phone companies and utilities, where they get names/addresses/phone numbers associated with service at a particular address. When you go to a fast-food restaurant, and they have those sweepstakes entries that you fill out for a prize... you put your name, address and phone # on it ... I think those get compiled and made a part of this big database. They're even tied to some state's DMVs.

I use Accurint for two things: fraud prevention and skip tracing. When a person applies for a loan, I'll put their social into the program and see what comes back. 99% of the time it comes back matching the info they put on the application. But many times I can catch people giving me a bad SSN, or most commonly I can find out that they put down their mom's address on the application and they really don't live there.

If I give a person a loan, and then they skip out on it, Accurint is also good for locating people. OR locating their family, who we can contact to try and find new whereabouts.

But just like obtaining a credit report on somebody, when you use Accurint you have to electronically sign off that you are using the information for a permissible purpose. I'm sure they keep track of what user/IP is accessing what information, and if there are problems they can trace it back to a person. I have been tempted to pull up our president's info, but I know that would throw up some sort of red flag in the system and FBI agents would swarm my office. All in all, I think the system is just as safe as anything else... there is potential for fraud in anything we do nowadays.

Sub: #6 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 11:42

DebtCruncher DebtCruncher
Moderators
(Posts: 2296 | Credits: 269.79)

Ari---this site is lucky to have you (and others) who are in this business and are able to put others wise to illegal practices. Thank you for being our "watchdog" or are you the cat lover? Maybe "watchkitty"? Thank you

Sub: #7 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 12:04

Lorri Lorri
Moderators
(Posts: 1721 | Credits: 224.67)

Ari-thanks for the heads up! That is really scary, and I hope whoever is doing this gets caught and prosecuted..Karen

Sub: #8 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 21:25

Bossy4455 Bossy4455
Moderators
(Posts: 5854 | Credits: 743.03)

Ari, I agree this site is very lucky to have people like you. This is a scary situation. Thanks for the information. KYSIDE38

Sub: #9 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 22:12

KYSIDE38 KYSIDE38

(Posts: 2478 | Credits: 398.52)

This is yet another reason why it is so important to monitor your credit reports on a regular basis! Scary scary stuff.

Sub: #10 posted on Sat, 01/20/2007 - 23:07

Jessi Jessi

(Posts: 3361 | Credits: 269.59)

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