Credit Reporting Company Agrees to Major Policy Changes in Handling Credit
SAN FRANCISCO, March 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Leukemia survivor Eric Drew announced today that he has reached a settlement with TransUnion over his lawsuit against the credit reporting company charging negligence pertaining to a case of identity theft.
TransUnion is the first of six credit reporting companies and banks which Drew has filed a federal lawsuit against to come to terms on the case. Litigation is still pending against Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Equifax and Experian.
Five years ago, Eric Drew was on his death bed with leukemia when his identity was stolen by a worker at the hospital where he was being treated. Credit was issued in his name to a fraudulent address in Washington State, where he was hospitalized but wasn't a resident. Drew alleges that the banks did not verify the address or applications, and that when he called to complain from his hospital bed, he was told to submit paperwork to prove that it wasn't him.
"I was fighting for my life, barely able to function, and then on top of all that, I had to leave the hospital to help find the criminal and fight to clear my credit," said Drew. "I was determined not to let cancer or a thief get the best of me."
Eventually, with the help of local news media, the identity of the thief was revealed -- a lab technician who had access to Drew's medical information while conducting blood tests. This led to an unprecedented arrest and the first federal conviction under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
But even this did not clear Drew's name. It took him two years to clear his credit reports of the fraudulent address and past due account information. "The main point of my lawsuit is to change the system so no one else has to ever go through what I did," said Drew.
In this unprecedented settlement, TransUnion agreed on an undisclosed
financial sum, as well as three major policy changes which they have agreed
to implement in the next six months.
These policy changes include:
-- Protection for impaired (hospitalized or elderly) victims of identity
theft by allowing them or their caregivers to submit a verifiable note
from a doctor or medical facility in lieu of the traditionally required
police report and affidavit to have fraudulent items removed from their
-- All victims of identity theft will have all information pertaining to
that theft permanently removed from their credit report even if it is
-- A free credit freeze for all victims of identity theft when they
"TransUnion has done a great thing here and should be praised for their leadership," said Drew. "These policy changes will not only help impaired victims of identity theft, but will also change the way that all Americans are treated when they are victims of this crime."
In addition to being a crusader against identity theft, Drew has
dedicated his life's work to providing advocacy and education to seriously
ill patients and their families.
Learn more about Eric Drew and his efforts at http://www.drewfoundation.org.
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