Blame the Victim

In the day and age we live in, everyone seems to blame everyone else for their problems. I'm lazy because my parent's made me that way, I'm a criminal because I wasn't loved enough as a child, I did something royally stupid with your product, so I'm going to sue you for my stupidity.

And yet, when you actually are a victim of a crime, everyone else blames you.

For instance, identity theft. I'm dealing with this now, and have been for the last four years. I have had to go above and beyond to prove my innocence, and companies still don't believe me. My identity was stolen, I filed a police report, I canceled all of my cards, and reported them stolen to each individual company. I have miles of paperwork regarding disputes, I hired an attorney. I have a letter from my congressman on my behalf. My credit reports have fraud alerts on all of them, and reports are frozen. Everything has been disputed, and the stolen cards show on my report as being reported stolen. Like, years ago.

And yet, I'm still being told "We don't actually know if your identity was stolen."

WHAT?! How much more proof on my behalf do I freaking need to provide? At what point does the burden of proof change from a reasonable request to a weapon being used against a victim of a crime?

I've had it, and I am livid.

I've worked, and worked to resolve and correct all of these problems - these problems have halted and destroyed any semblance of a normal life for my family and myself, financially crippling us for the last four years and will continue to do so for many years into the future. And yet, I'm still hearing 'Well, your card may have just been lost...not stolen", implying that I had reported is stolen, but then used it anyway.

Why the hell would companies allow you to report cards as stolen and then turn around and accuse you of fraudulently acquiring goods with it instead?! I understand that there is fraud out there, I understand that people game the system - but a person who has lost far more money than was "earned" back by way of ill gotten merchandise, and who has paid an attorney a tidy sum, and for one with paper trails and evidence that the cards being used are the ones that were reported stolen, and not the cards that I've had - I think they'd believe me. Not to mention I was always a good customer with excellent credit and low balances, anyway. I had no need to steal anything, I could have just bought it.

Is it me?

I'm dealing with idiots right now who say things like "Well, there's nothing on your credit report to indicate fraud..."

Me: "So yo don't see the fraud alert or credit freeze on the report?"
Idiot: "Well, yes, but that doesn't mean..."
Me: "Do you see all of the cards reported stolen?"
Idiot: 'Well yes, but that may not be the truth...."
Me: "Do you see all of the disputes?"
Idiot: "I see no indication of disputes being made on any of these accounts."
Me: "I'm looking right at the report, here I'll read it to you...."
Idiot: "Well yes, but I have the credit report, and we pull our own..."
Idiot: "Well, yes, but that doesn't mean..."
Me:" YES IT DOES!!!"
Me:" Do you have the letters, reports, and files of disputes with businesses?"
Idiot: "Well yes, but there's no indication of fraud..."


Then I'm told that these companies don't have to deal with me. I'm told that I may have to pay anyway.

I'm thinking this is a rather nice racket for the credit card companies and banks whose employees are too lazy to do the job they're hired to do - like cancel stolen cards, and check to make sure the identity of the person applying for credit matches the identity of the person on the actual application. Like, maybe checking to see if the person applying has just reported a lot of stolen cards, and needs to be called an verified. You know, just maybe actually preventing theft, instead of encouraging it by honoring every damn purchase made with a STOLEN CARD.

Then they blame the victim of the crime, and demand payment - how nice. Either way, they get their money, right?

Wrong. Not from me they aren't.


But the worst part isn't even being blamed - it's the absolute willful ignorance played by these assholes. "I don't see any indication of fraud here!!"

What freaking report are you looking at, asshat? Becasue my reports have FRAUD written all over them. Literally. In bright red, bold letters. You start to feel like you're living in an alternate universe.


Yup, let's blame the victims.


Anne said...

You know, this is why I love the story behind Fight Club. If just ONE of those arseholes who treated you that way gets to have the same thing happen to them - that would be good. Better if it were all of them.

Our "system" is so ass-backward it's not even funny.

Anok said...

Anne, I have a few choice words for a few, specific people with regards to this, I'll tell you that much :P

I wonder too, how is it that so much of our lives can be controlled by these three agency's numbers?

I found out that the whole "dispute" thing is a sham! They don't investigate anything, they send a dispute request to the creditors, and the creditor responds back by either pulling the report, or stating they'll not change a thing - and there is nothing you can do about it.

The disputes I made were "resolved" in less than a week - how much you wanna bet that these companies didn't even bother checking at all, and simply decided to screw me more?


Anonymous said...

it works for them either way.
you pay and they get their money or the insurance covers it.
the way everything in this country is run functions as a warning against free market capitalism.
absolutely nothing is ever done that cuts into those ever-so-precious profit margins. nothing.
you can bet that somewhere along the line, someone did a cost benefit analysis and decided that real anti-fraud measures would simply not be as good for the bottom line as allowing fraud to run rampant.


Anok said...

I think you've hit the nail on teh head, Jazz - true anti-fraud measures would actually cut into profits one way or another.

Although I'm entirely certain that high ranking customers receive the best care possible, it's us small time customers that get bent over by the companies.

And, of course, when a debt isn't collected by the company, they simply sell it, with no repercussions for selling fraudulent debts to debt collecting agencies. I had spoken, at length, with one collections manager about this, and he agreed with my position, actually, but he simply stated that it would just be sold again by his company. They have no way to simply get rid of it - they jut sell it to someone else again, and again, and again until you decide to pay, or take them to court.

Bird said...

Lover of jazz is right - especially the douchebag part. Those people you have to deal with are simply parroting a script they are given especially for cases like yours, a script designed to make you give up, a script to make everything you say bounce off, no matter how illogical their position. Jobs may be hard to come by but I wonder if those who parrot back the script ever wake up in a cold sweat when they think about what their job entails, what it implies for you and what it implies if they should ever get stiffed themselves.

Jeremy Duffy said...

Are you aware that any charges made to one of your credit cards that are unauthorized are not your responsibility by federal law?


Check it out.

Anok said...

Bird, I don't think that the lower employees really think twice about their jobs - but I do know that the managers and higher ups do. In many cases I've spoken to the management at length, and they understand my position, but can't do anything about it. It's capitalist hierarchy at it's worst.

Jeremy, thanks, yup I do know that. It's convincing the companies that it is indeed a result of theft that is the problem. They will and do fight you tooth and nail asking for more and more proof because they don't want to take the loss. They badger you and harass you and threaten you with law suits in hopes that you'll just cave in.

And a lot of people do cave in. A lot of people can't hire an attorney, and are afraid to represent themselves in court to fight the charges. I'm not one of those people - I've represented myself in court, and won. However I did hire an attorney to help me this time because the sheer magnitude of the theft was beyond my abilities.

It's a matter of who is more stubborn at this point. I'll file bankruptcy before I pay these asshats.

Monkey Wrench said...

First, regards and sympathy, I know this must be very trying.

While the idea of credit has major flaws in it, you would think that those who work to maintain a good appearance of the credit system would treat their clients with a crumb of dignity. Of course, we must remember the overall profits being made from the Credit institution, and realize that, in the end, we are only viewed as wallets with cash inside.

Again, regards to you, and I hope for the best for you. IT seems that you've done everything possible to right this, now it is (sadly) in someone elses hands.....

Take care,

Troy said...

Anok, so sorry to hear this - I wish I could tell you it get's easier... but... I had mine stole about 7 years ago - some monkey decided to drop about $5k shopping on-line at Walmart (of all places to spend 5k!) around Christmas - so with gift buying and all we caught on quickly (card denied... card denied... WTF?) Our bank immediately credited back the $$ but the credit report was ruined - we still have places that won't allow us to use a check because of it.

Fight the good fight against those who are trained to "follow the script" and never deviate!

Dave Dubya said...

I had a credit card stolen back in the 80's. I was lucky to shake it off.

My condolences to you. No one deserves to deal with such an immense crock of swine excrement dumped on them.

Those corporate goons are nothing more than legalized gangsters. Their rip off scams and gouging interest rates used to be illegal... just like wiretapping without warrants.

American corporatist capitalism is a crime against humanity. As my man George Clinton put it, "America Eats Its Young".

Kevin Goodman said...

A few years ago I ran into financial problems and managed to negotiate between the credit bureaus and my creditors there removal. You must be dealing with some real bullheaded institutions. You are entitled to append an explanation next to any discrepancy – I would make sure you’ve done that. That’s the bad thing about anonymity. If I was you I would try to get the local media to run an interest story. Write a letter to the editor and ask how such injustice can be permited – and may that right advocate will motivated. In the worst case scenario there is statute of limitations for both debt collectors and credit bureaus – I think its seven years and then they have a legal obligation to remove the records at your request.

Anok said...

Wrench, Troy, Dave thank you I'm happy to hear support coming my way even if it doesn't change the scenario I'm in! It's refreshing to hear support and not nay saying.

"they" say that it can take ten years to fully recover from identity theft, and after going through all of this, I believe them, whoever "they" are :D

Kevin - yes, I have hit the last few institutions who are very, very bullheaded indeed. The attorney I hired managed to handle most of the claims against me, but these last few places (really, I think it's all the same debt, just revolving collection agencies) are like sticks in the mud.

I won't mention company names here online, but one or two of them I knew I'd have a problem with. They're notorious for unethical business practices.

I have a fraud alert and freeze on my credit accounts, and most if not all three have a comment added to my report that my identity was stolen. _ I personally added statements to every dispute, although the last few companies have decided not look into the disputes, and just keep reporting as if nothing has happened or changed. *sigh*

If I must represent myself in court, I will. I constantly tell the companies that I will not be paying them, it's theft, it' snot my debt, and I refuse to pay. They can either remove it, or take me to court. It will cost them more than it will cost me to represent myself in small claims. It's a matter of who is more stubborn now :P

voodooKobra said...

I hope that you win either in or out of court, Anok, for the sake of the world. :P

Anok said...

Thanks Voodoo - you and me both :D