Absence of Verification Safeguards Allow Thieves to Steal
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year millions of Americans are the victims of identity theft, and in a lawsuit filed against major credit card companies, identity theft victim Eric Drew claims that the credit industry is facilitating the crimes. By attempting to maximize profits by fully automating their identity verification systems, credit card companies such as Bank of America, Citibank and Chase are knowingly fostering rampant fraud and forcing their customers to deal with the results of their irresponsible credit card issuing practices.
Criminals armed with only a few pieces of personal information such as an address and a social security number are able to fraudulently apply for credit cards under the victim's name. Currently there are no reliable identity verification systems in place to prevent thieves from receiving and using the cards. Identity theft losses totaled over $52 billion in 2002 and affected almost 10 million Americans.
"It's the worst customer service in America," said Drew, an identity theft victim in 2003. "These banks are intent on issuing as many cards as possible -- and forcing their legitimate customers to deal with a complicated mess to prove their innocence when fraud occurs."
In Drew's case, the theft was particularly heinous. While fighting for his life battling leukemia in a hospital, his identity was stolen by a hospital worker. Health Associated Identity Theft (referred to as a HAIT Crime) is difficult to fight because the victim must dispute fraudulent charges, contend with hostile collection practices, and attempt to repair damaged credit ratings from a hospital bed or convalescent home.
Drew is suing Citibank, Bank of America, Chase, Equifax, and Experian, claiming that they didn't verify application information, and is attempting to mandate that the credit industry verify an applicant's identity prior to issuing credit.
"Americans need to know that financial institutions are not only causing the identity theft problem, but are forcing us to clean up their mess," added Drew. "Even with all the other issues I'm dealing with, I decided I couldn't let this go on happening to others without a fight."
In addition to crusading against identity theft, Drew is dedicated to providing advocacy and education to seriously ill patients and their families. Learn more at http://www.drewfoundation.org
|SOURCE Eric Drew|
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