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I have an negative tradeline that BoA is reporting on my credit report.  This debt isn't mine and I have written BoA several times stating as much and have also asked for any documents that they might have to prove the account is mine.

 

They respond with letters saying that the account is mine and that they no longer have the credit application or copies of any payments made.  They also stated that they don't have copies of transactions either.

 

They had sold the account to Midland but Midland stopped reporting once I disputed it with them.

 

I've made BBB complaints, and the CFPB complaints and have gotten no where.

 

I'm at the point where I'm going to sue them in small claims court but I want to make sure I have my ducks in a row before I jump off the bridge.

 

If anyone could give me a starting point that would be helpfull.

 

 

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Did you try disputing it in writing to the 3 big credit reporting agencies?  Then make them do it again, and investigate.  You need to try that first, if they keep verifying, then look into suing them.  If you look around you might be able to find a class action case.  At any rate, you would probably need to hire a consumer attorney to take them on, since it is not as simple as filing a cross complaint when you are sued.

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I have an negative tradeline that BoA is reporting on my credit report.  This debt isn't mine and I have written BoA several times stating as much and have also asked for any documents that they might have to prove the account is mine.

 

Do you have any idea how your name became associated with this account?  Could it be identity theft?

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Did you try disputing it in writing to the 3 big credit reporting agencies?  Then make them do it again, and investigate.  You need to try that first, if they keep verifying, then look into suing them.  If you look around you might be able to find a class action case.  At any rate, you would probably need to hire a consumer attorney to take them on, since it is not as simple as filing a cross complaint when you are sued.

 

I've done this 4 times and they keep validating the debt.

 

Are you suggesting I sue the credit bureaus or Bank of America

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Do you have any idea how your name became associated with this account?  Could it be identity theft?

 

I really have no idea.  It could be identity theft but I can't get Bank of America to assist me with that.

 

I sent them a letter stating that I believe this could be either identity theft or they have the wrong individual and they wrote back and said basically "Nope, the statements to your house were never returned."  When I asked them to provide me a copy of those statements they sent, they said they no longer exist.  Go figure.

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I've gone down this road and have gotten nowhere.

 

Essentially what happens is this:  Everyone takes BoA's word against mine.  BoA hasn't provided anyone with any documents or evidence, just their word.  Even Midland backed down quickly and I called them and they said BoA didn't provide them with anything either.

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I really have no idea.  It could be identity theft but I can't get Bank of America to assist me with that.

 

I sent them a letter stating that I believe this could be either identity theft or they have the wrong individual and they wrote back and said basically "Nope, the statements to your house were never returned."  When I asked them to provide me a copy of those statements they sent, they said they no longer exist.  Go figure.

 

I have personal experience successfully deleting identity theft items from all my credit reports, even though it took me three months to do this, but it can be done.

 

From what I understand, you did not authorize this account, and you do not know who did this, so it is by definition identity theft.  Here is the problem.  This cannot be resolved with a normal dispute.  Instead, if you tell them you are an identity theft victim, this is what typically happens:

  • The credit reporting agency (CRA) will not help you, and will give you the wrong instructions.
  • The original creditor (OC) will not believe you, and tell you to dispute it with the junk debt buyer.
  • The junk debt buyer (JDB) will not believe you either, and may insist it was you.

The problem is you cannot prove a negative.  From their point of view, you are guilty until proven innocent, so you have the impossible task of demonstrating you did not do it.

 

Fortunately, section 605B of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides you the legal means to block this item from your credit report, so it will not appear at all.

 

My sense is you will probably have to start all over from scratch.  Let me ask you this.  Have you already done the following:

  • Created a FTC Identity Theft Affidavit on the FTC website and printed it out.

     

  • Filed a police report at your local police station, obtained a police report file number, signed the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit in front of a police officer, and noted the name and badge number.

Tell us if you done the above or not, so we can discuss the next step.  This is a multi-step process, and it has to be done in a particular order, or else things will become more complicated.

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I have personal experience successfully deleting identity theft items from all my credit reports, even though it took me three months to do this, but it can be done.

 

From what I understand, you did not authorize this account, and you do not know who did this, so it is by definition identity theft.  Here is the problem.  This cannot be resolved with a normal dispute.  Instead, if you tell them you are an identity theft victim, this is what typically happens:

  • The credit reporting agency (CRA) will not help you, and will give you the wrong instructions.
  • The original creditor (OC) will not believe you, and tell you to dispute it with the junk debt buyer.
  • The junk debt buyer (JDB) will not believe you either, and may insist it was you.

The problem is you cannot prove a negative.  From their point of view, you are guilty until proven innocent, so you have the impossible task of demonstrating you did not do it.

 

Fortunately, section 605B of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides you the legal means to block this item from your credit report, so it will not appear at all.

 

My sense is you will probably have to start all over from scratch.  Let me ask you this.  Have you already done the following:

  • Created a FTC Identity Theft Affidavit on the FTC website and printed it out.

     

  • Filed a police report at your local police station, obtained a police report file number, signed the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit in front of a police officer, and noted the name and badge number.

Tell us if you done the above or not, so we can discuss the next step.  This is a multi-step process, and it has to be done in a particular order, or else things will become more complicated.

 

I've never thought about this, but this makes sense.

 

I haven't done any of this, but I think I'll go do that first.  I'm getting no where on this file but I'm going to take these above steps today.

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I haven't done any of this, but I think I'll go do that first.  I'm getting no where on this file but I'm going to take these above steps today.

 

Make sure you get a copy of the police report from the police officer, and also the police report number.

 

Note down the name of the police officer, and his or her badge number.  Then sign the FTC Affidavit in front of the police officer on the appropriate page, so he or she can witness the signature.

 

Make sure you keep your original of the FTC Affidavit, and the police officer can keep a photocopy for his or her records.

 

If possible, get the "business card" of the police officer, preferably with his or her name on it.

 

Let us know once you have those two documents.  Refrain from submitting any documents, until we can discuss the next step.  This will save you a whole lot of trouble.

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Just updating this.

 

I spoke to my lawyer today and mentioned the IDT approach and he agreed it was a good idea.  However, I do have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint outstanding and he wants me to wait for that to close first which should be soon.

 

Any thoughts on that?

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I spoke to my lawyer today and mentioned the IDT approach and he agreed it was a good idea.  However, I do have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint outstanding and he wants me to wait for that to close first which should be soon.

 

Any thoughts on that?

 

I would had reserved any complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) only as a last resort, such as if the CRAs had previously rejected my FCRA 605B dispute.

 

I am 99% confident that if you did a FCRA 605B dispute, these adverse items would had been deleted within a week.

 

But it seems you did it the other way around.  In my humble opinion, I think you can still submit a FCRA 605B dispute, in parallel with your existing CFPB complaint, without causing a conflict.  It may actually reinforce your CFPB complaint to have an identity theft report in place with the CRAs, by the time the CFPB takes action.

 

My sense is, if you do not do this, by the time the CFPB contacts the CRAs or the OC, those entities will respond back saying you did not submit an identity theft report, as required by the FCRA, and you are back to square one.

 

I think at a minimum, you should still create a FTC Affidavit and file a police report (and request a copy for yourself).  Then if these entities request these documents, you can immediately provide them.

 

However, I think there is no harm in submitting a FCRA 605B dispute at this time, and proceeding despite your existing CFPB complaint.  If you wish to do this, please update us, so we can discuss the next step.

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There is something else you may want to consider.  The police officer may ask when you first became aware of the identity theft.  This date cannot be earlier than the date on your credit report.

 

The police may also ask you for the relevant page in your credit report, and even make a copy.

 

If there is a significant time gap between when you first became aware of the identity theft and when you first reported it to the police, others may question why you delayed filing a police report.

 

To avoid someone raising this issue later on, it may be best to generate the FTF Affidavit and file a police report (and request a copy for yourself) as soon as possible.

 

If you feel you must wait before submitting the documents to the CRA, you can do that, but it may be best to secure those documents first, without significant delay.

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There is something else you may want to consider.  The police officer may ask when you first became aware of the identity theft.  This date cannot be earlier than the date on your credit report.

 

The police may also ask you for the relevant page in your credit report, and even make a copy.

 

If there is a significant time gap between when you first became aware of the identity theft and when you first reported it to the police, others may question why you delayed filing a police report.

 

To avoid someone raising this issue later on, it may be best to generate the FTF Affidavit and file a police report (and request a copy for yourself) as soon as possible.

 

If you feel you must wait before submitting the documents to the CRA, you can do that, but it may be best to secure those documents first, without significant delay.

 

I'm going to file the report tomorrow but you bring up some interesting points.

 

Can I state on the police report that I have disputed this debt or should I leave that fact out?  Should I state that the CRA's have verified the debt with BoA?

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I'm going to file the report tomorrow but you bring up some interesting points.

 

I may sound repetitive, so please bear with me, if I do.

 

This is what you need to bring to the police station:

  1. FTC Identity Theft Affidavit.  This document is generated when you file a complaint on the FTC website.  In your FTC complaint, make sure you mention both Bank of America and the junk debt buyer (JDB) on the question which accounts you are disputing. 

    Report the JDB even if the JDB already deleted the items on your credit report.

    Make sure you save the PDF file of the FTC Affidavit and print out two copies, one for yourself, and the other for the police.  Bring two copies to the police station.

    Do not sign the document until you do so in front of the police officer, so he or she can witness your signature, when you sign on the relevant page.  Next to your signature and date, write also the current time.

    Note the name of the police officer and badge number

    If available, request a "business card", preferably with his or her name on it.  If the name is absent, request the police officer to write the name on the business card (or you can write it yourself).

    Be sure you keep the signed copy of the FTC Affidavit, when you leave.  This signed copy is what you will submit to the CRA later on.

     

  2. Relevant page of the Credit Report.  Make a copy of the relevant pages from the respective CRA's.  Circle or highlight the delinquent account in dispute. 

    If requested, provide this copy to the police officer.

     

  3. Government issued ID.  For example, this can be a state driver's license.

 

Can I state on the police report that I have disputed this debt or should I leave that fact out?  Should I state that the CRA's have verified the debt with BoA?

 

In your initial conversation with the police officer, tell him or her "I am a victim of identity theft, and I would like to file a police report."

 

Tell him or her that someone opened a credit card account (?) without your authorization, knowledge, or consent. 

 

Tell the police officer that your personal information was stolen, and you do not know who did this.

 

Most likely, the police officer will ask you your basic information, like your name, address, phone number, etc.  Then he or she will ask when you became aware of the identity theft.  Tell the police officer you became aware on the date you downloaded the credit report.

 

If the police officer asks why you delayed filing a police report, tell him or her you were not aware you were supposed to file a police report until later on.

 

To Answer Your Question

 

Here is the answer to your question.  If the police officer asks, tell him or her you already disputed this with CRA, but the CRA still needs a police report. 

 

Do not mention that the CRA or Bank of America had already "verified" the delinquent account, or your phone arguments or complaints with the CRA's or Bank of America.  These are irrelevant to the police report.  The police officer only cares about the facts of the identity theft, and that is all.

 

Very Important

 

Make sure you request a copy of the police report from the police officer.  If the police officer asks why, tell him or her you will need to submit a copy of the police report to the CRA.

 

Make sure you also request the police report number.  If this number is not available, at the time, then ask the police officer how you can obtain this number. 

 

This police report number is important, because the CRA may need it to verify if the report is indeed authentic.

 

Word of Caution

 

Here is a word of caution.  There is a small chance the police officer may not be trained to handle an identity theft complaint. 

 

If this is the case, then politely say, "Is it possible I can speak to a supervisor?"  But whatever you say, do not argue with the police officer.  Be polite and civil with the police at all times.

 

If identity theft is not a normal category on the police report, then perhaps you ask if this can be categorized under "Miscellaneous" or some other category.

 

Finally

 

Before you submit these documents to the CRA's or Bank of America, please update us first, so we can discuss the next step.

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Police report filed.  They just gave me the officer's name, a report number and a "Fraud" designation.

 

There was no report but the officer just wrote it down on a piece of paper and gave it to me.  Welcome to Mayberry!

 

Now what?

 

Do you also have the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit?  Did you sign it in front of the police officer?

 

I assumed you requested a copy of the police report, but the police officer could not provide it?

 

Most importantly, you have the police report number and the name of the officer, so I think that should be fine, even without the copy of the police report.

 

I am busy today.  But give me 24 hours, and I will write you a detailed response, about the next step.

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Do you also have the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit?  Did you sign it in front of the police officer?

 

I assumed you requested a copy of the police report, but the police officer could not provide it?

 

Most importantly, you have the police report number and the name of the officer, so I think that should be fine, even without the copy of the police report.

 

I am busy today.  But give me 24 hours, and I will write you a detailed response, about the next step.

Take your time.  I'm sure your information here is going to be pretty helpful to others.

 

The officer just took out a pad a wrote a report number and his contact info.  There wasn't a report generated per se.  He then just gave me the number.

 

I did sign the affidavit in front of him and it's in my possession

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Complete the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit

 

Maybe you have already done this already, but just to be sure, please verify the following:

  1. In the section Law Enforcement Report, complete question 20.  Check mark "I filed my report in person with the law enforcement officer or agency listed below."  Then fill out as many items below as possible.  Else leave the line blank.

    If the police officer did not sign this page on the "Officer's Signature" line, then do not worry about it.  Most important is the name of the officer and the police report number.

    Because you did not get a copy of the police report, for the question "Did the victim receive a copy of the report from the law enforcement officer?", check mark "No".
     
  2. In the section Signature, for question 21, verify that you signed and dated this FTC Identity Theft Affidavit.  For question 22, "Notary" and "Witness" lines should be blank, since you signed this in front of the police officer.

The worst case scenario, the CRA will not accept the FTC Affidavit either without a copy of the police report or the police officer's signature.  In that case, you will need to print out another FTC Affidavit (from the PDF file), and sign it in front of a notary, and have it notorized.

 

Let's hope that's not the case, and your FTC Affidavit is acceptable as is.

 

Make sure you keep the original FTC Affidavit, and only provide photocopies to the CRA, or any other entities.

 

Write a Cover Letter

 

Next, write a letter requesting an identity theft block of the adverse items, pursuant to section 605B of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). 

 

Here below is a model letter you can adapt for your own use:

 

Edit on Feb. 5, 2014:  For the example letter below, I added "Police Report" to the attachments.

 

<Your Mailing Address>
 

<Date>
 

ATTN:  Fraud Department

<Name of CRA>

<Mailing Address>
 

Name:  <Your Legal Name>
Credit Report #:  <Credit Report Number>
Social Security #:  <Last Four Digits Only>    (Last Four Digits Only)

REQUEST IDENTITY THEFT BLOCK

 

Dear Sir or Madam:

 

I am a victim of identity theft.  Here below are items on my credit report I have NEVER authorized, used, or benefited from.  These accounts were opened because of identity theft, and therefore I dispute as follows:

  • <Name of Original Creditor>, Account #: 1234 5678 9012 3456
  • <Name of Junk Debt Buyer>, Account #:  1234 5678 9012 3456

Please block the above items from my credit report, pursuant to section 605B of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and send the required notice to all businesses that supplied this information.

 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to block the fraudulent information on my credit report resulting from identity theft within 4 business days and to promptly notify the business that sent you that information.

 

Here attached are copies of the following documents, pursuant to section 605B(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act,:

  • State issued Driver’s License
  • Social Security Card
  • FTC Identity Theft Affidavit
  • Police Report

My police report has been filed with my local police station.  My FTC Identity Theft Affidavit contains the name of the police officer, police report number, and other contact information, of which you can verify the authenticity of my claim.

 

Please send me a letter after you have blocked the information from my credit report and sent notice to the businesses involved.

Sincerely,

<Your Signature>

<Your Legal Name>

Attachments:

  1. State issued Driver's License
  2. Social Security Card
  3. FTC Identity Theft Affidavit
  4. Police Report

 

The line "REQUEST IDENTITY THEFT BLOCK" should be all caps, bold, and extra large font.  This is because the CRA employee has only a minute to read through your letter.

 

Note that in this letter, it is best to dispute both the original creditor (OC) and the junk debt buyer (JDB), even if either already had deleted the adverse item from the credit report.

List as many OC and JDB accounts you believe are because of identity theft, but make sure it matches the accounts you listed in the FTC Affidavit.

 

For the attachments, only photocopies should be provided to the CRA, not originals.  Make sure you keep the originals. 

 

Include these attachments:  your driver's license, social security card, and the FTC Affidavit.

 

Verify the Mailing Address and Fax Number of the Fraud Department

 

This letter and attachments should be sent to the Fraud Department of the respective CRA, which has its own mailing address and fax number.

 

To verify the contact information, call the CRA and say to the employee "I am a victim of identity theft.  May I be transferred to the Fraud Department?" 

 

Then when you get transferred, ask "Is this the fraud department?"  If the answer is yes, then tell him or her you are requesting an identity theft block, and you will be mailing them an identity theft report. 

 

Request the mailing address.  Finally, ask for the fax number.

 

Fax the Letter with Attachments

 

In your fax cover sheet, provide the following information in the comments section:

 

Name:  <Your Legal Name>

Address:

Credit Report #:

Social Security #:  <Last Four Digits Only>

Number of Pages:  <Number of Pages, including cover sheet>

Reason:  Request Identity Theft Block

 

Fax the cover sheet, letter, and attachments to the CRA.  The CRA will need 48 hours to process the fax (excluding weekends and holidays).

 

Then after 48 hours, call back the fraud department to verify if they received the fax. 

 

If the Fraud Deparment does confirm receipt of the fax, ask the exact date the CRA received it.  Tell him or her they have 4 business days to block the adverse items, pursuant to FCRA 605B.

 

If the employee complains you do not have a copy of the police report, tell him or her you provided the police report number in the FTC Affidavit, and they can verify this directly with the police station.

 

Mail the Letter with Attachments

 

Mail the same letter with attachments, which you faxed earlier, to the mailing address certified mail with return receipt.  (There is no need to provide the fax cover sheet.)

 

Preferably, mail this USPS Priority Mail (two day delivery), in a priority mail flat rate envelope, provided at the post office.

 

This may be more expensive, but you will have a tracking number to confirm delivery on the USPS website.  The reason for this is sometimes the return green card gets lost in the mail. 

 

Even if you get the return green card back, sometime the date field is blank, or the signer writes the incorrect date.  The tracking number provides an extra layer of verification.

 

Remember to keep the originals, and postal mail only photocopies.

 

Confirm the Identity Theft Block

 

Now once the 4 business days have elapsed, contact the Fraud Department and confirm if the adverse items have been blocked.  If not, then ask the employee to explain why.

 

Remind the employee the CRA must block the adverse items within 4 business days, pursuant to FCRA 605B.

 

If it is indeed blocked, then request written confirmation of the blocked items.

 

To Wrap This Up

 

Congratulations.  Blocking the adverse items was the easy part.  Now comes the hard part.

 

Please update us when the items are blocked, so we can discuss the next step.  It's not over yet.

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Blue,

 

Thanks for walking me through this.

 

Quick question:  I called Equifax and asked for their fraud department and was transferred (after some auto-mated nonsense).  I explained what I was doing and confirmed the address.  She told me NOT to mail it and fax it at the same time.  She stated that it can generate a duplicate block request and it will take longer for them to block it because they need to verify that it is indeed duplicated.

 

She said I could fax it, and if it's not blocked within 4 days from receipt, then I could follow up with a phone call.  

 

Thoughts?

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Quick question:  I called Equifax and asked for their fraud department and was transferred (after some auto-mated nonsense).  I explained what I was doing and confirmed the address.  She told me NOT to mail it and fax it at the same time.  She stated that it can generate a duplicate block request and it will take longer for them to block it because they need to verify that it is indeed duplicated.

 

Equifax told me something similar, when I did this.

 

Fax first, then mail it certified mail with return receipt.  This is what I done with Equifax itself.  Most likely, they will mark the postal mail copy as a duplicate, and it should not interfere with your fax version.

 

Here is why you want to postal mail this:

 

1.  The fax version itself might be distorted or unreadable.  This postal mail version is your backup.

2.  Postal mail, certified mail with return receipt, is your only legal means to verify they did receive it.

 

Worse case scenario, Equifax will start the clock when they receive the postal mail, which is a few days delay.

 

That is why you call them 48 hours after the fax, so you can confirm fax receipt.

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I can't get a fax number for Experian or TU for the life of me.  Any luck with those?

 

I am reluctant to provide a fax number, since you will be faxing sensitive information.  Here is how to get the fax number:

 

For TransUnion:

 

Call the TransUnion Fraud Department at the voice phone number 1 800 680 7289. 

 

Navigate to the main menu.  There should be 5 options.

 

Dial option 5, which says "If you feel you been a victim of Fraud, and have a copy of your Transunion Report, press 5."

 

Tell the employee, "I want to fax an identity theft report to TransUnion.  Is there a fax number?"

 

If asked, provide the employee your TransUnion credit report number.

 

For Experian:

 

To be honest, I never had to fax anything to Experian.  I have read somewhere Experian would not release its fax number.  I am not sure if this still true or not.

 

If Experian will not release you the fax number, then postal mail the documents USPS.  Do not worry about the fax number.

 

But verify the mailing address for the Fraud Department.

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