Leukemia Survivor Settles ID Theft Lawsuit With TransUnion; Five More Companies To Go

When Eric Drew was in the hospital being treated for leukemia five years ago, a lab technician stole his personal information and began opening up credit card accounts in his name. Drew had to fight with credit card and credit reporting companies to prove that he was a victim of identity theft, so he decided to go after them for their negligence and filed lawsuits against TransUnion, Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Equifax and Experian. His recent settlement with TransUnion means the credit reporting agency will now “allow anyone who is hospitalized or elderly to file a claim of identity theft with a doctor’s note, instead of having to provide a formal affidavit; permanently remove fraudulent information from a credit report; and offer a free credit freeze for identity theft victims.”

Even when Drew called the companies that had issued him cards he had never applied for, the companies still sent him huge bills for items he never bought. And despite the fact that Richard Gibson, the hospital employee who stole his card, was convicted – the first in the nation under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act – Drew’s bad credit lingered for another two years.
 
Litigation is still pending with Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Equifax and Experian.

According to another article in “Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week” (no link is available) TransUnion has agreed to implement the policy changes within the next six months.
 
Update: A few weeks after this post went up, Discover magazine published a feature article about Drew and his battles.
 
“Credit bureau settles Los Gatos cancer survivor’s suit” [Mercury News]
 
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Comments

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  1. B says:

    Wow, stealing the identity of a leukemia patient. I hope the lab tech dies a painful, agonizing death.

  2. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Perhaps he should ignore his scruples for ten or fifteen seconds, and post the tech’s information on the inter-tubes so the rest of us can ‘express our deep disgust.’

  3. howie_in_az says:

    TransUnion still sucks.

  4. Buran says:

    I was at the doctor’s to have a blood test done to monitor some routine treatment. I sat down in the chair they use for drawing blood and noticed a patient profile sheet next to me, which I glanced at habitually because it was there. I noticed that it wasn’t mine and that it had an SSN on it (which I did not specifically look at, deliberately, just recognized the format and length, and that the field said “SSN”).

    I’m pretty sure that had I said anything about it to the office supervisors, whoever left it there would be in SEVERE trouble, especially since I had an opportunity to pick it up had I been dishonest. Everything you need to steal identity was on that sheet.

    I sure hope they didn’t leave mine behind for the next patient to notice, and actually look harder at!

  5. Crymson_77 says:

    @Buran: Were it me in that position, I would have said something…but I can be mean when protecting my own identity…

  6. OsiUmenyiora says:

    God bless this guy. I have always thought that banks and other financial institutions should be held liable when they are complicit in identity theft. This institution saddled this guy with debt that he is legally obligated for through absolutely no fault of his own and for zero benefit to him. I understand that the bank was defrauded itself, but IMHO the bank defrauded the identity theft victim by not using proper diligence and allowing someone else to open a credit account in his name. And if the liability for banks in these circumstances increased they would take more steps to reduce this type of fraud.

  7. stopNgoBeau says:

    I’m not sure if he asked for, or recieved, any money. However, I think its wonderful that the result of his lawsuit will help others that are in the same situation, rather than just have money thrown at the guy.

    This is what lawsuits are supposed to bring!

  8. l951b951 says:

    Without reading the settlement, I’m sure TransUnion lawyers made sure it did not admit any wrong doing on their part. The picture accompanying this article should either not say sorry, or say sorry with a big * following.

  9. Tonguetied says:

    Good on him!

    Sometimes I think this country is lawsuit crazy but this is a situation that called for just that.

  10. Mr_Burmie says:

    Wow, just wow. As if cancer treatment wasn’t enough, this guy also had to go through the I.D. theft experience. Good for him for fighting back, though.

    @Buran: I remember in college, the campus health services had another student’s information in my file. I think it was because we had similar names. Health services did not use SS# for medical files. I imagine I confused many a nurse practitioner when I talked about being from a different hometown than the one listed in my file.