This is potentially heinous. Ed writes:
Attached is a copy of a letter sent to me most recently by Countrywide, my mortgage holder for some years now, but also by another company, a mortgage broker, from NJ with whom I am not affiliated (they implied I was a customer). [Ed’s qualified with us that he got the exact same letter from two separate companies. -Other Ed.] I unfortunately threw the other one away in disgust after calling them and finally harassing them until they admitted that it was just a marketing ploy. The fact is that their claim that one of their employees ripped off identities of applicants is a complete fabrication and a scam to get you to sign up for their identity theft insurance products (the first year is free, oh yeah I’m sure). The fact that large financial services companies are blatantly lying to their own customers is mind boggling even in this day and age. Try calling the number here and speaking to the Zuckerman woman, or ask the name of the law enforcement agency they reference. What blatant bullshit.
We did call the company, but they wouldn’t give us any details about which organization they were working with to solve the ‘problem.’ We were told that if we had an account with Countrywide, they could look at our account to see if we had been affected by the (presumably apocryphal) rogue employee.
The likelihood that two separate companies would have the same employee “identify theft” problem, forcing them to issue the exact same form letter, is infinitesimal. That means one of two things: The two companies are under the same corporate umbrella, or they are both selling the ‘protection’ service from the same third-party vendor. The former is potentially legit (although we hardly see how one should be liable for extra protection when the issue at hand is a rogue employee); the latter would be a huge breach of trust.
More as we have it. For now, feel free to take a look at a scanned copy of the letter and let us know if you’ve gotten the same from other companies.