14 December, 2007

Identity Theft Protection Support Corporation at 1-866-575-0260

I'm really about to blow my gasket. I mean, after everything that I've gone through over the past month with having to straighten out my financial accounts (which, to this date, still aren't straightened out but at least they're on the way toward getting there now), I almost had a stroke when I received an email alert from my bank, letting me know that my account had gone below zero.

WHAT???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is getting to be quite ridiculous. My bank account is less than two weeks old, as I had to open a new account with my bank (which, thankfully, they were able to do for me even though I have no identification because they had all of my ID on file already and were able to confirm my identity through my ID on file and also by asking me questions that only I would be able to answer) as my old account has been frozen due to fraudulent activity on it that Louie Rivera committed while I was in the hospital this past October/November and all of my possession were left in his care (it's a long story, and I've pretty much run through it in a few posts on Gather.com).

Now what's really weird about this is that the only entity I'd given my new banking account information to is Social Security, so they could re-send my SSD payment for last month to me, as last month's payment was returned to them by my bank as my accounts had been completely frozen. And if you've been reading my blog for some time now, you know that I know my way around computers pretty darned well and am not like most people who don't know what they're doing, and my computer is locked down almost to be almost bullet-proof against unauthorized usage and access.

Now here's the thing: the reason my bank account went into the negatives is because an ACH Withdrawal in the amount of $31.98 was made to my account. I called my bank to find out which entity made this illegal transaction on my account and, get this: the only information provided with the ACH transaction was a phone number: 866-575-0260. So I did a reverse lookup on the phone number and nothing came up. I then decided to Google the number and bingo bango! A bunch of web sites popped up, all of which basically were complaints about a company withdrawing money from individuals' bank accounts without their permission.

So as I'm waiting on hold for someone to answer the damned phone, I'm reading more and more accounts of what's happened to these poor saps and my blood pressure is just rising and rising. So finally, after about a half hour of being on hold, someone answers the phone and the first words out of his mouth are that he's asking me for my social security number.

Hold the phone, motherfucker! You just illegally took money out of my checking account and you think I'm going to give you a piece of information like that? What the hell kind of crystal meth are you smoking?

So then he asks for my checking account number and, since they already had that, I figured it couldn't do any more harm. He spends about ten minutes typing into the computer, without saying anything, perhaps thinking that I would hang up or something but my Scorpio was out and looking for some nice flesh to sink its poisonous stinger into.

So then this guy tells me that I submitted and online application on 13 December 2007 for identity theft protection services. I ask him for the name and address and time of submission and whether or not he has the IP address used to make the application. There were a number of inconsistencies:
  1. The name turned out to have a hitch in it, although I didn't tell him that. The way it was listed is not the way that I would ever use my name in a formal document, contract, application for services, etc.
  2. The address used was that of my bank account, not the address I use as my mailing address (since I still don't have an address of my own, I use other peoples' addresses, with their permission, instead).
  3. The application was submitted at 9:54am. At 9:54am yesterday I was, essentially, comatose. The sun, after all, out and I had retired to the comfort and safety of my coffin. My computer was safely locked down with multiple passwords that no one has ever been able to breach, and these passwords are changed on a random basis, at random intervals.
  4. If you're truly a firm established to protect the identity, and prevent identity theft, of your customers, why would you ask for their social security number as the first words out of your mouth?
  5. Even though they gave me the IP address that my computer currently was using, it had been reissued a few hours prior thereto as the cable connecting my laptop to the cablemodem keeps falling out and it had fallen out while I was taking a nap.
Keep in mind, folks, that at no point in time did I fill out any application for identity protection services or any such thing. I know how to protect my identity and I also know of groups that will take certain actions on your behalf, free of charge. Additionally, I knew that I only had a few dollars left in my checking account, so why would I allow my account to be overdrawn for something that I so was not in need of (I mean, I could understand if I wrote a check to the grocery store b/c I was hungry and had no food but identity theft protection services? it's all bogus....).

So long story short, I asked if they were going to refund the money that they illegal took from my account and was told that they wouldn't do that since they had a valid application in their possession and suggested that I go to the police if I wanted to have this matter investigated. So now I know that this is definitely not Kosher.

Now, as far as these other complaints that I'd found on the Internet, well....here's some of what they've said:
This number has charged my account! I didn't authorize the charge and when searching through the web and found this:

"The first flag that went up was the phone number given to me by the bank (charter one) for the company that charged my account. When calling the number given me i.e. 866-585-0620 a gentleman immediately explained that the number i am trying to reach is 866-575-0260 not 0620, so it lead me to believe that there was fraud envolved immediately, then when you call the correct number you get a long message about credit card theft and idenity theft and then you get several minutes of music that fades in and out leading you to belive you are losing the signal. If you are persistent, then finally a telemarketer who explained to me that he was sitting in a suite with several other minimum paid workers manning phones and trying to sound professional until questioned. He gave me much information. He told me the owner of the company is jay thomas who is conviently on vacation but didnt know where. He gave me his complete address where he was speaking to me from which i have included with this report including his fax number. He told me to report the fradulant charge to my card that was not authorized by myself to the police department and then fax this to him and once this was done they would take the charge off.
It would seem to me that charter one seems to be the target whether they are lax in their security or otherwise, it seems that most fraudulant charges stem from their banks."

This is almost exactly what happened to me!
...
I didn't receive a call but, phone# 866-575-0260 appeared on my bank statement with a withdrawal for $31.98 IDINS. I have called twice and listened to the recording that a representative will be with me shortly. Hold time 20-30minutes. I want my account credited immediately. My bank has been alerted of fraudulent charges.
So I've already filed a fraud complaint with my bank but it's a pain in the ass for me to have to keep doing this! And, of course, let's not forget about the overdraft fees that my bank is going to charge me, which will push me further into the negative balance.

So I'm writing this as a warning to people out there. I don't know what company it is that's doing this but if you see the phone number 866-575-0260, run, run away as if the devil is hot on your tail and get as far away from them as possible!