A while back I was surprised to see a collections account go onto my credit report for an unpaid amount of a few hundred dollars. I immediately believed it to be a mistake since I had never heard of the company and had not received anything in the mail. Regardless, I immediately disputed it through the credit bureau which came back to say that it indeed WAS my account.
Many calls later to the company (let's call them a less-popular cell phone company), I established that someone had opened an account using my social security number. Here is where I start to get lost. I also established that they were able to do so with the following:
- An address that did not, nor ever, belong to me
- My last name spelled very incorrectly
- A birthdate that was not my own
Because the address was not my own, I never received any sort of notification or bill, therefore I did not know about it until it hit my credit.
I always believed that when an account is opened, this information is sent to one of the three main credit bureau which check the information against what they have on file, but this did not seem to be the case.
How could this possibly have happened and was there anything special this individual did to bypass the identity verification?
I have since added a significant amount of security to my accounts, but I feel like I need closure on this so the same thing doesn't happen to my family, friends, etc...