On Tuesday morning on the 17th of June, I tried to make a call to my sister before I left for work and discovered that, much to my surprise, my telephone was disconnected. Since we had just paid the bill on the 7th, I immediately went online to check my phone bill and my bank statement and there it wasall paid up and fine.
I got to work and called the customer service department to find out why we had no phone service. After I was redirected several times I finally get to a representative that tells me that my account was turned over to the fraud department because someone had tried to get phone service in our name, but that whoever tried to do this did not have the correct answers for our security questions (this part I almost laughed at I mean, as you will read later, it is obvious that my personal information is not that hard to get very scary. I asked for more information and was given only a fax number to the CVG Department to fax a copy of our driver's license and social security cards. I was told that for security purposes and for their investigation they would need this information and that after sending it my phone service would be reconnected. I sent the information to the CVG department and asked for someone to please call me so they could explain what was going on. I never got a call. On the 18th, I called the phone company yet again and got sent in many directions again. The first agent I spoke to was of no help at all and told me their computers were down and to call back in an hour. I called back. This time I talk to yet another agent who could not answer any of my questions and told me only the same thing I had heard the day before. I hung up with this agent more confused than ever and could not help but think that someone HAD to be able to help me, so I called back. This time the agent I spoke with put me on hold to check what was going on and as I am on hold I get disconnected from our call. I call back another time, finally getting an agent who was extremely helpful but only after I told him that I was going to turn off my service completely and just buy a cheap cell phone. Upon talking to this gentleman, it was discovered that not only did someone try to get phone service in my name, but there were three separate companies (one with the same name, different info Enhanced Billing Services) that had been charging my phone bill $21.68 (Enhanced Services Billing) and $32.42 (ILD Services). I have never heard of these companies and I did not sign up for anything.
The telephone company representative gave me three different telephone numbers for the two companies. I called the first number for ILD and was told I would be removed from their Do Not Call list and my account was cancelled. When I asked who authorized this charge and asked several other questions, I was told that I did it. The lady proceeded to tell me my personal information such as my mother's maiden name, my address and the last four digits of my social security number AND an IP address that I did not recognize. I NEVER gave this information to her and I NEVER ordered this service. I asked when this occurred and she told me it began on February 1, 2008. I researched and found that on this particular date, I wasn't even at home and was gone for the entire weekend. The ONLY thing I did on that night - before leaving home - was order a pizza, which I do several times a month. At the time in question, NO one was home. I called the first Enhanced Billing Services number and was treated rudely and told that YOU did this. No I did not. As I said above, I wasn't even home and no one was at my house at that particular time. She told me the same as the ILD company told me you will be removed, etc. (both told me NO when asking for a refund) I called the second ILD number. They seemed to have no knowledge of the fact that I had just called the OTHER number to cancel and the lady I spoke with told me the same as I had just heard twice before. Finding out that they are a part of the same company, but a different department. I have no idea what that was all about, but this lady told me we would be refunded and taken off the billing and call list. We'll see if that really happens.
In the meantime, I'm still wrestling with the phone company (ATT) trying to figure out why 1.) My phone is still off; 2.) Why did no one contact me prior to just turning my phone off they have all my information for contact even an email stating Hey, someone compromised your account; 3.) Why we are being punished for someone else trying to bilk us; and 4.) Why they let companies just add charges to the bill without question.
I was told by ATT that we had fulfilled all of their requirements to help with the investigation and that my phone service would be back on in 48 hours from my first call. It is now Friday the 20th of June and I still do not have phone service and I am terrified of the fact that someone has our personal information.
This has caused me more grief than I can explain. When I got home yesterday, I didn't know where to begin, so I just typed in the two aforementioned companies and didn't get a website for these places, but got page after page of consumer report complaints for the companies I stated along with many many others of different names similar circumstances.
Just as the people I read with the same story, I work very hard and I budget my money down to the penny and I pay my bills on time every month. I cannot afford to pay bogus companies for services I already have with the phone company. I am still at a loss as to who and why someone would try to get phone service in my name (this is a big mystery and I am awaiting a call from the ATT legal department to explain this, but something tells me I'll never hear even though I stated I want to press charges.)
I realized that my bill seemed a bit higher and I even checked it. Thing is, you never know when it actually is the telephone, cable, etc. companies charging you these extra fees because there are SO many different one's that appear federal this, state that, excise this, blah blah. So in that respect, I suppose I should have investigated further. You'd think, though, that ATT would have at least contacted me to make sure I was the one who ordered these services just as they should have immediately called when someone tried to get service in our name.
It's not fair and frankly, it's quite scary. Do I have to actually change my name and other information to be safe? I just don't understand. I have two firewalls and I do not keep sensitive information stored on my computer. I have excellent antivirus protection and spyware protection, etc. Never have I had a problem before. (With the exception of AOL who still owes me over $50.00 for billing after I cancelled my account and I have been promised repeatedly it will be next month I give up on that one.)
I researched a bit on these companies and found that they get information from online surveys and what not. I have NEVER taken one of those as I know what it leads to and I refuse. I'm continuing to research how in the world someone could have this information so readily available.
After ATT gets finished with their investigation and I find out who tried to get service in our name and I press charges, I am turning my ATT service off completely and getting a cheapo cell phone. I am going to up my security on my computer although if I make it any stronger, I might not even be able to use it.
Thank you for listening and I really feel for the people who have posted similar complaints that appear to be way worse than mine but it doesn't make me feel any less violated.
If there is any sort of help out there, please let me know. This is beyond scary and I simply do not know what to do next.
Again, thank you.
Florida keys victim