Just when you think you’ve reached a day where you can breathe, relax, not cry in frustration…*WHAM*…you get a letter from a collection agency in the mail and the feelings wash over you, again. Feelings of being violated-and mad as hell at the criminal and the companies who extended credit without conducting proper due-diligence-allowing this obvious theft to yet again infiltrate and scar YOUR credit.

There are few words that can sum-up the feeling that overcomes you when you yourself have been a “good community citizen”, paying your bills on-time, being keen of your credit, and all of that, only to find yourself landed on a collection’s agency’s radar-that’s a place you don’t want to be-and certainly a place I have worked hard not to be included, but alas there I was, again thanks to being a victim of identity theft.

After I opened the collection agency envelope I had the fun and immediate task of calling the collection agency-where I had the ultimate pleasure of dealing with a rude abrasive insensitive lady-customer service representative all to add insult to injury. Here I am a victim of identity theft, and she is arguing with me about whether that is true or not-fortunately I’ve moved past the point where a lump develops in my throat and I want to cry (“want” or actually have an emotional breakdown with the stranger at the other end) at the very thought of this happening to me. After moving past this “I am a victim hurdle” with the CSR, I call the company on whose behalf they were collecting.

Imagine my surprise when I spoke to this company and soon discovered not one account was in collection-try two…I had just heard of this one first. But, wait…it gets better-the criminal (turns out the same one already identified in previous fraudulent activity against me) had attempted to open ten credit cards. (You’ll find many of these companies are “sister companies”-so when you call to discuss one, you end up finding out about additional activity).

Here I thought I was aware of all of the fraudulent charges and inquiries up to this point-these latest inquiries and accounts had not even been reflected on my credit report. We had already taken the criminal to court, she had already been charged, been sentenced, etc.  But, as is the case with identity theft, you often don’t discover all of the charges up front. No, these were additional "surprises". I was surprised.

So I got to get out my printer paper, warm up the printer, and send multiple faxes, multiple certified letters, and make multiple trips to the post office, make multiple calls to the companies and credit bureaus, all while using money from my pocket to clean this latest round of theft up. And, we’ve already been to court. Had to explain my situation, again and again. Order my credit reports, again. Send documentation out, again. Attempt to clean-up, clean-up, clean-up. 

With identity theft, you never know all of the damages up front. It’s not as if these criminals have a threshold-“We’ll just hurt this victim’s credit by contacting 10 companies-then that’s it!” 

No-one, five, 100-basically whatever company will extend credit to these criminals they are there for the taking. 

And, you are stuck cleaning-up the never-ending residual mess.