Welcome to Consumer Reports Advocacy

For 85 years CR has worked for laws and policies that put consumers first. Learn more about CR’s work with policymakers, companies, and consumers to help build a fair and just marketplace at TrustCR.org

Lee, Miami Beach, FL

Lee’s nightmare with identity theft had a severe impact on his finances, career and health. His encounter began in late August 2005 when his wallet containing personal information was stolen. The next day, the thief opened three fraudulent credit accounts in his name, and used them to purchase items and services from various brand name retailers. Lee acted quickly, canceling the credit cards and placing a 90-day fraud alert on his record that he believed would end the thief’s shopping spree.

But in December of that year, Lee learned that a car and auto insurance was purchased in his name. Later that same month, the identity thief transferred close to $5,000 from Lee’s newly created American Express account. Also, the thief had accessed Lee’s Bank of America checking account, resetting his online banking passwords and withdrawing $15,000 from his account.

To date, the crook has charged thousands of dollars on fraudulent accounts, despite the fact that Lee placed an extended fraud alert on his credit files. As a result, Lee’s credit score has suffered, just as he hopes to buy a new home and car. To top it all off, Lee is currently under criminal investigation by the IRS because there are two tax records filed under his social security number. Evidently, the crook filed a return using his private information.
Lee is still working on recovering the stolen money and dealing with new charges of fraudulent activity. “My story is still unfolding, as nearly everyday, there is a new phone call or another letter in the mailbox detailing the latest incident of fraud,” writes Lee.