I read this article in the Los Angeles Times called "My wallet was stolen at a bar. Then my identity theft nightmare began" and I almost got hives. My blessings to the victim (and author) Jessica Roy, but at what point was she going to move her head out from under the truck tire?

Every ID Theft starts just like this. You call the bank, you tell them there's been a mistake, they ask politely for documents, you send them in, you call back, they don't remember, you're routed to Level 2, you tell your story again, they ask politely for documents. Again, and again, and again - and again.

You're left thinking this is an accident, that maybe you just need to wait on hold for just one more hour and then it will be good. But it's not. And by way of the "sunk cost fallacy," you dump more of your time and life into a black hole where nobody's listening and nobody really cares - and nobody is empowered to fix your obviously broken situation!

Sure, once in a while your credit card dispute will be processed no problem. Or you'll text back "no" to the $6000 purchase of a muffler in Canada. But if that doesn't happen on the first call, you've got problems because nobody is listening.

Want proof? Check out this case about a text alert and what happened and where it ended up (Spoiler alert: $100,000 plus attorneys fees and costs). Amazingly, even after we had all the evidence the bank continued to fight for another year!

OK - what's the bottom line? If someone is trying to collect a debt that isn't yours, or there's something on your credit report that isn't yours, call a lawyer ASAP! Don't try to do it yourself, they're only going to politely punk you and run out your clock to take action. No money comes out of your pocket to have us take the wood to these guys because we sue them for all the attorneys fees - in addition to your compensation.

Don't try to fix it yourself - you're only going to die tired and frustrated.

Michael F. Cardoza, Esq.
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U.S. Marine & Consumer Financial Protection Attorney helping victims of ID theft and Credit Reporting errors.
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