Unlikely Identity Theft Victim

Friday, June 22nd 2007, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa woman says if identity theft could happen to her, it could happen to anyone. That's because she doesn't do any business online, doesn't have a debit card, doesn't even have a car loan, but a woman in Georgia is applying for loans using the Tulsa victim's name, Social Security number and birth date. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports it’s such a maddening crime the only thing you can do is spend hours on the phone trying to convince strangers you don't owe them money, and someone you've never met does.

"Panic at first, you get this feeling in your stomach, oh my God, this is happening to me," identity theft victim Donna said.

Fear turned to anger when Donna received letters telling her the student loans she had co-signed for were approved, and the $3,000 and $5,000 checks were on the way.

"They had already been issued but they were able to stop payment on those two checks, so she didn't actually receive any money to my knowledge," Donna said.

She is Nima Gordon, a woman who claims to live in Norcross, Georgia, who used Donna's name, Social Security number, birth date and address to apply for student loans at different institutions. After weeks of phone calls and faxes, Donna has convinced those institutions she was an identity victim who'd never heard of Gordon.

Donna filed a police report in Georgia, put a fraud alert on her accounts with the credit bureaus and put a freeze on her accounts.

"Whoever has my information may as well trash can it because that freeze alert is going to stay on my account until hell freezes over,” the identity theft victim said. “I'm not good for you anymore."

Thankfully, loan disclosures must now be sent out, and that's the only thing that allowed Donna to know that her identity and credit were breeched.

When Nima Gordon applied for the loans she did it all online. She didn't have to show up anywhere or show any identification. The News On 6 called the two phone numbers on her loan application, the people who answered had never heard of her.

No matter how careful we are, our information is out there. Donna never dreamed she'd be a victim, so she didn't bother to get a free copy of her credit report every year, but now highly recommends everyone do so.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. For more information visit the Federal Trade Commissions website, www.ftc.gov.