As bad as it gets – the identity theft horror story of Charles W

In June of 2004, Charles W, a resident of Lafayette Colorado, was stopped at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reentering the United States after vacationing in Mexico. Charlie was detained and photographed by U.S. Immigration. During the time he spent with U.S. Immigration agents, Charlie learned that he was wanted by law enforcement for crimes committed in locales in which he had never lived nor to which he had ever traveled. He was, within hours, cleared for reentry into the United States and determined not to be the individual sought on the detected “wants and warrants.” That’s how the story starts. In April 2006, Charlie’s accountant sent a letter telling all his clients about a new company engaged in identity theft detection and resolution. The accountant urged his clients to verify the accuracy and integrity of their personal information in various databases through a new product, called ID SnapShot, offered by the new company. That new company was ID Watchdog, headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Knowing from his past experience that something might be amiss, Charlie took his accountant’s advice and ordered an ID SnapShot. Within days of completing the ID SnapShot information request, Charlie learned that his problem from years ago had not been corrected. Although the authorities had determined that Charlie was not the person they were seeking three years ago, nothing had been done to clear the record so the problem would not repeat itself. In a few short days, ID Watchdog, in the process of preparing Charlie’s ID SnapShot, learned the following:

~April 1999 Charlie was issued two traffic citations in Florida (which subsequently prevented him from renewing his drivers’ license in Colorado.

~August 2002 Charlie failed to pay a hospital bill for $1,265 in Spokane, Washington resulting in a collection being placed on his credit report.

~October 2002 Charlie was issued a traffic citation for driving with a suspended license in Olympia, Washington.

~October 2002 Charlie committed three felonies in Okanogan, Washington. He was convicted on one count of assault and two counts of felony harassment. He served 144 days in jail and was released on parole.

~July 2003 Charlie jumped parole in Okanogan whereupon a national warrant for his arrest was issued through the NCIC.

~October 2003 Charlie was arrested for DUI in Tucson, Arizona. He failed to appear at his arraignment and a warrant was issued for failure to appear.

~September 2005 Charlie got a new drivers license in Key West, Florida.

~April 2006 Charlie took an ambulance to a hospital in Key West and was treated for overindulgence in alcohol and drugs and did not pay for the ride.

~And since 1996 Charlie has had IRS issues based on 1099 income declared on his Social Security Number for employment in a trail of jobs from Washington to Florida.

Charlie owns a Content Management Consulting company and one of his large clients is the Colorado Department of Corrections in Colorado Springs. The DOC did a routine background check and discovered all the things found by ID Watchdog. In addition, they uncovered a warrant for Charlie’s arrest in Virginia indicating “armed and dangerous – do not arrest alone.” This warrant is believed to be a cross-file matched with Charlie’s FBI number. These results were enough to get Charlie fired, arrested and barred from further work with the DOC. ID Watchdog intervened with the contracting officer at the DOC to explain the situation and assure that Real Charlie was who he claimed to be. ID Watchdog provided definitive documents in the form of photos and fingerprints showing that Real Charlie, not the “wanted” Charlie, was doing high-security work in the department. All in all, you might think that Charlie has been a busy boy… and, you’d be right except for the fact that Charlie was never in any of those places.

The real Charlie is at work in Lafayette, Colorado but local law enforcement in Washington, Arizona and Florida can’t know that. All they know is that someone using Charlie’s identity is breaking the laws in their local communities. If Real Charlie had been stopped for a traffic violation or any other cause requiring identity verification, he would have been arrested and sent back to Washington to face the parole violation charge. During Charlie’s resolution process, ID Watchdog placed notations in numerous databases that he was a victim of identity theft. Among them were the three national credit reporting agencies. On June 23, 2006, Charlie W received a telephone call from a Lake Charles, Louisiana auto dealer telling him that someone was trying to finance a car in his name and that that person was at one of the dealer’s locations at that moment. The dealership had learned of the identity theft when they pulled Charlie’s credit report through a notation placed on the report by ID Watchdog. Charlie W immediately called ID Watchdog to report the situation and ID Watchdog then initiated a call to the dealership in Louisiana. The dealership was instructed to call the local Sheriff’s Office and report the situation. The outstanding State of Washington warrant was sent to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office by ID Watchdog while the Washington county Sheriff’s detective confirmed that the warrant was still in effect. The Louisiana parish Sheriff’s Office arrived and took Charlie into custody. Charlie W was jailed in Louisiana on June 23 through the identity theft detection and resolution work of ID Watchdog … only it wasn’t Charlie W, it was Hugh A P.

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