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Leukemia Survivor Reaches Landmark Settlement With TransUnion in ID Theft Case
Date:3/14/2008

Credit Reporting Company Agrees to Major Policy Changes in Handling Credit

Fraud

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

credit report.

-- All victims of identity theft will have all information pertaining to

that theft permanently removed from their credit report even if it is

re-reported.

-- A free credit freeze for all victims of identity theft when they

request it.

"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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SOURCE http://www.drewfoundation.org
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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