Ever feel like a ping pong ball? That’s about the most accurate description of what’s happening with law enforcement and my identity theft case. No one seems to think it’s their jurisdiction. So where does that leave me? Filing paperwork with every agency I can think of.
When I first found out that accounts had been opened, I knew I had to file various reports with various law enforcement agencies. What I didn’t know was just how difficult that would be to accomplish.
First step. Find the non-emergency number for the city police department (harder than it sounds, really). Call the city police because I used to live in the city. They refer me to the county since that’s where the accounts were opened. I call the county. They tell me that the accounts were actually opened in several different police districts of the county, each with their OWN police department. Grand. They then recommend I call the district that covers the address the individual is using when opening these accounts. Logical…makes sense to me. So I get that number and call them.
They don’t want me to file a report because there’s “nothing we can do here.” Simply put, since I don’t know WHEN or WHERE the theft of my information occurred, they can’t/won’t do anything. The fact that I can give them the names of the places the accounts were opened, and the ADDRESS they’ve used for ALL the accounts that’s IN THEIR DISTRICT and that I have the description on the fake driver’s license they’re using isn’t enough. I have to know WHEN and WHERE the theft of my information occurred. If I knew that, I would have dealt with it then and wouldn’t be dealing with identity theft now, DUH! Eventually, they take down all the information I have, and give me a report number to give to the credit agencies and the creditors when I file paperwork with them. They recommend I call the Postal Inspector and file a report. Great, thanks for your help.
Next I call the FTC. I go through all the insane automated menus, pressing 1 or 2 or entering numbers accordingly so the computer can figure out where to send me. I finally get a real person. I tell her EVERYTHING I know about my situation, knowing that in this case, more information is definitely better. What I or they don’t know can hurt me this time. I tell her about the police department and give her the report number. I then ask her a series of questions about other organizations/agencies I had been told to call and file a report with. First I asked her about my local police department. She says that it isn’t necessary because all the fraud has occurred in another state, and halfway across the country at that. Next I ask her about the Postal Inspector. She asks if all my mail has been forwarding properly and if anything went missing or just didn’t show up. I tell her no, I’m getting everything I’m supposed to. She explains that since there’s no evidence or even a clear possibility (like if a credit card bill hadn’t shown up), the Postal Inspector can’t do anything. She recommends I send a copy of the ID Theft Affidavit to each of the three credit agencies to back up my credit report dispute, but that I was doing everything I was supposed to and filing all the appropriate paperwork. I think she’s impressed that I’m actually on top of things and doing what I’m supposed to be doing, but I’m still stressed as hell.
For good measure, I do call my local Postal Inspector office. I talk to a nice person doing triage of the phone calls/help-desk duty, since I’m not sure what department I should be talking to. They tell me the same thing the FTC did. That without evidence or even any inkling of mail fraud/theft/etc. there’s nothing they can do. They can’t even file a report without the clear possibility of mail fraud. I have no such evidence or inkling, especially since I’ve received all my bills, magazines, letters, etc. since I’ve moved. The paper (very important, use the PAPER) change of address/mail forwarding form from the USPS I filled out is in full effect and working like a charm (as opposed to the online filing, print it out and take it to your local office instead, trust me) so the possibility of them gaining my information through mail fraud is slim, though not impossible, fairly slim.
So now it’s on the creditors and the credit agencies to follow up on all the paperwork I filed regarding my fraud claims, the theft of my identity, and the credit file disputes to clear things up. One of the creditors calls me today and tells me they contacted the police department I filed the report with as part of their process, and was told that they’re NOT INVESTIGATING and asked me if I had done what they suggested (and told her they suggested) and filed a report with the Postal Inspector. I explain what both the Postal Inspector help-desk/triage person AND the nice woman from the FTC told me, that it’s not postal jurisdiction. Apparently, other than Federal, it’s no one’s jurisdiction, and the FTC doesn’t have authority to bring cases, they just keep a clearinghouse of all the complaints and make them available to other law enforcement agencies.
So my case, and my identity, is now a ping pong ball being tossed around by the various law enforcement agencies until someone misses and has to deal with picking it up. No wonder I’m queasy.