Saturday, April 7, 2007

Think you're safe?

This is where the story begins. Or maybe I should say this is where I'm starting my story, because I still haven't been able to find out when and where it really did start.

In 2001 I was 29 years old and doing pretty well. I had a good career going, good credit, a nice big apartment on a golf course, and I was certain I'd be ready to buy a house in a year or two. Up until then I'd been working as a contractor for various financial companies in Jacksonville, FL. In the two years I'd been in Florida I worked for First Union (Wachovia,) Merrill Lynch, and Chase Manhattan. I had excellent references from each of these companies and it seldom took more than a month or two to find a new contract when my contracts were up.

In 2002 I finished up a software development job, and was looking for a new contract, but suddenly no one wanted to hire me. Well, to be more specific, there were people that said they wanted to hire me, but the story was always the same. It always went something like this: "Well, the problem is that the Human Resources department says you're not qualified for the job, and we can't hire you without their permission."

As the months passed I realized that my financial situation was getting really bad. I had to get a roommate and take a job at a liquor store just to pay the rent. Unfortunately I had a significant amount of credit card debt, and no matter how much I scrimped, there was just no way I could pay even the minimum payments.

Soon the months became years. I kept applying for jobs, but all I ended up with was a job at a bar, one at a restaurant, and one at a fly-by-night web hosting company that ended up screwing me out of a bunch of money before it went out of business. I ended up having to get a smaller place and an additional roommate just to pay the bills.

In June of 2006 I found out the hard way that there was something dirty going on, and no one had bothered to tell me. I'd been the victim of Criminal Identity Theft. Not only was my credit completely destroyed, but also my public record. At the time I'm writing this, I'm still struggling to have crimes removed from my record. And it's not just little stuff. We're talking about multiple felonies and various misdemeanors. We're talking about drug possession, strongarm robbery, and multiple counts of aggravated assault with the intent to cause serious bodily injury.

Considering all that, it's no wonder that the companies I had applied to didn't want to hire me. It's also no wonder that some of the local cops decided to have a little fun with me. More on that in my next post. I'm just too pissed off to write anymore about it right now.

Next post: Finding Out the Hard Way (Part 1)


Anonymous said...

You need to stop calling the clerk, sheriff, etc. and call your congressman. My wife's ID was stolen and the thief bought a car ten racked up enough parking tickets to get her license suspended. The city wouldn't cancel the tix until the state moved, the state wouldn't move until the city moved. Nothing happened until I called my state representative's office. Then the problem was fixed in a week.

Todd Fennell said...

This is a good idea. I'll definitely do this. I wonder if sending them a link to the blog would be a good idea. That way they can get the full story--well, the parts I've covered so far at least. It's hard to cover everything that happened over the phone because it's such a complicated story.

Anonymous said...

I just found out someone is using my Name an SS#. Luckily, I've never had a credit card, so my credit can't really be reuined. But state, local and federal orgs move so slow regarding ID theft, it's a wonder anything ever gets done.

Todd Fennell said...

If you haven't do so already, contact the three consumer credit reporting agencies and have each of them place a fraud alert on your credit report. The three agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This may cause you some hassle when you actually do need to establish credit, but it will protect your credit for now. Do not assume that your credit can't be ruined because you've never had a credit card. It can be.

Here's another trick to make sure your credit record isn't affected even if you have no reason to think it is. By law each of the credit reporting agencies are required to provide you with one free copy of your credit report once a year upon request. The trick is to request a copy from a different one of them every four months. This way you can find out what they're saying about you without having to pay for it. Keep in mind that the may each have different information on you. There are definitely discrepancies between them on my credit reports.

You didn't mention what your ID was used for, but if it's a criminal offense I'm not really sure what you can do other than to get an attorney. I have yet to hear from anyone that has found government entities to be helpful without legal or political persuasion.

Anonymous said...

I know EXACTLY where you are coming from as I am in the boat with you. Although I have NEVER been arrested or convicted of any offense a standard empployment screening says otherwise. I am about to become homeless due to EXACTLY the same situation you describe in your post. Read "It could happen to you" on my blog at . If you know of a solution that I have not tried PLEASE let me know. Sincerely,
A fellow victim of The System

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

i dont cuz in iraq :))

Anonymous said...

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Unknown said...

Same time frame, similar story. I want my life back!