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Man Denied after Seeking Help for Identity Theft

By Faye Mergel
Published: Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

A Florence man’s case proved that sometimes, victims have to fight their own case. His identity was stolen along with money he saved in his accounts but he did not get help when he asked for it. Deputies refused him so he had to find ways that will keep him from losing more money.

Man Denied after Seeking Help for Identity TheftJames Backus said his identity was stolen this September and was used to withdraw $2,300 from his checking account. Without making any recent loans, Discover Card and Bank of American suddenly rang up his residence in Florence to verify credit card accounts that were opened under his name. He later found out from one of the banks that someone is using his name with a different address.

Backus immediately filed an incident report with a deputy from Florence County Sherriff’s office, who suggested that he check his credit report as well and flag a fraud alert on all his accounts. After reviewing his credit report, he found out that a man who lives in Marion changed his address and telephone number. It took him three weeks to correct his address with Equifax.

But right after he had the information corrected, the suspect once again hacked into his account and changed the address back to Marion. He even barred the account with a password to keep Backus from accessing it.

Florence deputies suggested that he consult with Marion County Sheriff’s office which Backus did. To his surprise, investigators told him that it is not a crime to change someone’s address.

A few days later, his wife received a letter from Wachovia Bank notifying them that the mailing address for their checking account was changed. The couple later found out that the fraudster called Wachovia Bank and used Backus’ Social Security number. The bank representative then released their entire client’s information, allowing the fraudster to tamper Backus’ account further.

He returned to Marion County Sheriff deputies but once again turned down. Deputies told him that they do not have sufficient information to arrest the suspect.

Backus then initiated closure of all his accounts with Wachovia Bank to cease fraudulent activities. Unfortunately, the bank representative made an erroneous notation, allowing the culprit to still access his old accounts.

On September 22, Backus’ supposedly closed account was again used to pay for a telephone bill worth $850. As of now, the culprit has managed to steal a total of $2,350 from him.

Investigators already know the suspect’s identity but are still waiting for more information before making any arrest. Meanwhile, Backus will have to be content changing his banks and keeping close track of his credit report.

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