Recently I got a letter from my bank telling me that my account had a negative balance of over $200.00 and that if I didn't resolve it I would be taken to the magistrate. This was an account that had a balance of almost $200.00, that I had used for no more than 3 transactions, and those had been more than 9 months previously. When I checked my statements I found that there were charges for PMIIdentity & 24Protectplus, companies I had never heard of for $14.95 each month for 7 months, which had emptied my account. In addition were over $200 in bank charges.
Because I had used ripoff report previously to research a fraudulent charge on a credit card bill, the first thing I did was check out these companies. I was shocked at how many complaints there were and heartbroken by some of the stories. I then printed out a large number, using up nearly a ream of paper.
I learned several things that were very helpful.
Firstly, now that I was clued in as to what to look for, I traced the breach back to a search I had done for my son on Intellius on a sketchy girlfriend. It was right after this that the charges started appearing. I am absoulutely positive that I did not in any way approve of these charges. In fact both started appearing as 2 separate charges of $14.95 on the exact same date as if these were 2 separate companies, they are not. There was a separate phone numbe for each, so I then prepared to call the first one, PMI Identity, armed with information learned on this site. I kept saying that I wanted to speak with a supervisor over and over and would not speak to anyone else. I was then put directly through to a supervisor and did not have to deal with or waste my time with any one else. I stated that these charges were fraudulent and NOT authorized, and I wanted my money back immediately or I would go to the authorities and the media. Then an interesting thing happened. Although I called the number for PMI Identity, she asked me which company. I told her that I was getting charged by PMIIdentity and 24Protect Plus and she said she could take care of both. How interesting. She then asked me "how much money?", and I said, "excuse me but you should know what you took it out without my authorization". Guess what?, she quickly figured out that they had taken out $14.95 on each for a period of seven months and said that they would refund that amount. When asked how soon she said 2 business days. I said, "If that does not happen, I Will file charges and inform the media"
Well that eliminated my having to make the other phone call
Next stop was the bank. I walked in with the ream of complaints. I figured this would help bolster my complaint of fraud, and told them I wanted to file a complaint in compliance with Federal Regulation E, and that I expected to be made whole. They filled out all the paperwork. I also told them I was thinking of reporting this to the banking commission and the media. I told them I was also reporting this to the police as identity theft.
I then went to the police station, still armed with my ream of complaints. I have not seen anyone else on this site do this. This is far more helpful in putting pressure on a local bank, and in case my money did not get refunded as promised, an immediate call from the police to the companies might get more results. This also has another advantage. Once you have the police report, you are entitled to a free credit report as well as the ability to put a fraud alert on for, I think 9 months. this may require some extra ID on your part if you want to open an account, but is worth it to protect your credit. It also enabled me to get a complete printout from the bank at no charge, of all the activity on the account including bank charges, a copy of which I gave to the police.
On the second business day I went back to the bank to see if the refunds had been made. It was a good thing I did. The bank did not tell me that they had closed the account because there was a negative balance, but when she checked she noticed the refunds trying to charge back to the account. I said "Those better not be rejected" She made some calls, and said they could give me a new account immediiately and they would be credited to that account. Halleluyah, I did get my full refund. The old account was closed and all bank charges zeroed out, making me "whole". In the letter I got from the bank they mentioned that they had complied according to Federal regulation E. I notified the police that the matter had been resolved, but will still have a copy of the police report for my records. I thank those who posted the helpful advice and information. I hope that my story will help some of you who have also been victimized. Please don't let this go. You can win and get your money back. They are counting on the fact that you will give up. That is why they keep doing this. It is how they make their money and what keeps them in business. If everyone would go after their money, then it would be no longer profitable for them to continue with these tactics. I also hold the banks responsible. By closing their eyes to these practices they are acting in a negligent manner. I'm sure that they are well aware of what's going on. even worse, by using this as a source of bolstering their own revenue flow they are in fact complicit, and should be held both legally and morally accountable.
Mountain Top, Pennsylvania