Capital One Mails Fraud Claim To The Person Committing Fraud

“Lisa” writes, “I recently found out that I was a victim of identity theft.” What shocked her, and us as well, is that after Capital One notified her that they’d approved the card with another address, they followed up by sending their fraud claim to the criminal’s address instead of Lisa’s.

Lil ole me. A twenty-seven year old female, simply a poor writer in LA.

Capital One Bank– while I appreciate them sending me a letter telling me they sent a credit card to someone with my SS# yet a different spelling of my name AND address than what is on my records at all three Credit Bureaus– why ON EARTH would they still send out a card?

I called Capital One immediately and successfully prevented the criminal from getting that MasterCard card approved. They went ahead and froze the account. After reporting this to Capital One, they send a fraud claim not to me, the victim, but idiotically to the CRIMINAL who stole my identity. This, in turn, alerted the thief (thieves) to take quicker actions with fraudulently using my identity.

This was an act of negligence as well as an unsavory business practice on Capital One’s behalf. Capital One Bank has obstructed the law by aiding these identity thieves who are involved with a federal offense.

I mean, wouldn’t it make sense for Capital One (and ALL creditors) to make it a company-wide, mandatory practice to alert the customer BEFORE processing ANY requests with mismatched information from the credit bureaus?

So, I called the Social Security and the Credit Bureaus to put a Fraud Alert on all accounts. Then, the LAPD. Capital One was “gracious” enough to give me the address that the criminal used– [redacted]. And courtesy of the White Pages, the residence of one Magdalena C.

What do I do now? Wait until the LAPD finds her? Call the cops on her? I mean, have they thought of looking this woman up on http://www.whitepages.com? The internet make identity theft so easy, and perhaps catching the criminals easier too.

I hope this Magdelena C. gets locked up for a LONG time.

Sincerely,
A Victim of Identity Theft

We agree that Capital One showed some extra special incompetence there with the fraud claim form. Maybe you should report what happened to the FBI too—that’s a link to their local office locator.

Update: As our editor Ben Popken and some of our readers point out in the comments below, there are a few other things you should do, Lisa, to protect yourself.

  • Place a freeze on your credit reports. A fraud alert won’t necessarily prevent future abuse. A freeze will.
  • File a report with the FTC’s ID Theft Hotline: 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) or http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx
  • And make sure you filed an actual police report with the LAPD if you haven’t already.


(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. AgentTuttle says:

    Alerting the criminal! That’s insane.

  2. TracyHamandEggs says:

    I wouldnt assume that that address is the person who committed the fraud. The trick they use is to find someone who works long hours/is elderly and use their address as a mail drop. Its pretty easy to swing by and open up a mailbox to see if your mail arrived, and if you dont get it first the person that lives there will just send it back and no one catches on.

  3. azntg says:

    Nice, the identity thief never had it so well before! Way to go CapOne!

  4. krispykrink says:

    File criminal charges against CapitolOne? Send them to Gitmo? Stealthily track down and “disappear” every employee of CapOne?

    I’m just working down a list, feel free to use whatever.

  5. jsboehm79 says:

    Fraud alerts are useless. Lisa needs to FREEZE all of her credit reports.

  6. dakker says:

    Almost as good as the criminal who stole my checkbook and used it to pay their water bill….without even signing it with my name. The worst part is it was a City run thing to boot. i don’t know who to be more upset with, the city who accepted the check, or the thief who wrote it.

    • mariospants says:

      @dakker: “Almost as good as the criminal who stole my checkbook and used it to pay their water bill….without even signing it with my name. The worst part is it was a City run thing to boot. i don’t know who to be more upset with, the city who accepted the check, or the thief who wrote it.”

      I don’t get how that’s possible… the “thief” is obviously known to the city so what were they expecting? That you wouldn’t notice the cheque written to the city because it might have been one you had written yourself? That the city doesn’t track what cheque is used to pay for what account?

      I just don’t see why anybody could balance jail time and a record against a couple of hundred bucks’ worth of water bill.

      • Difdi says:

        @mariospants:

        I don’t get how that’s possible… the “thief” is obviously known to the city so what were they expecting? That you wouldn’t notice the cheque written to the city because it might have been one you had written yourself? That the city doesn’t track what cheque is used to pay for what account?

        A lot of businesses that handle large quantities of checks use a system that essentially scans the check and processes it digitally. The physical check may never be handled by a human at any stage of the process, and the machine generally doesn’t care whose signature is on it.

        I just don’t see why anybody could balance jail time and a record against a couple of hundred bucks’ worth of water bill.

        Arrogance and stupidity are the defining characteristics of most criminals. Arrogance that they won’t get caught, stupidity that they take such enormous risks for such tiny payoffs.

        Tiny profits, you ask? Try calculating the amounts that are typically stolen by criminals as an hourly wage, then compare the result to the jail sentence a conviction carries. Most people who commit robbery or burglary end up making between $0.05 and $0.20 an hour. This assumes that the criminal hides the loot so well that it’s still there when they get out of prison (most fail to hide it very well). The loss of freedom and criminal record are just icing on the cake of stupidity.

        • johnnya2 says:

          @Difdi: Or you could be the real criminals who run Lehman Brothers and make 100’s of millions of dollars and make get a 5 year probation IF he ever gets arrested for his stealing of peoples money.

          I will relate my similar experience regarding stolen checks (this was about 10 years ago when people used to write checks) Somebody stole my gym bag, which had my checkbook in it. I canceled the account, and opened a new one the next day. Well the criminal used my checks for several months until their supply ran out. Every single company from KMart to Dominos to Victory Oil change all accepted checks without checking ID. They then put ME on a check fraud alert system and tried to sue me for closing the account. Domino’s was by far the worst, and when I proved the address and name on the order was not mine they still said I was at a “friends”. I contacted my lawyer through Pre-paid legal services and had them write a nice letter to the CEO which said if they did not rectify the situation he would initiate a suit against them. The second day I received a letter and apology from the CEO. To make the matter even worse, I worked for a major supplier of products to Domino’s World Headquarters.

  7. Crazy.

  8. Coles_Law says:

    Ugh. Amex did the same thing to me a few years ago. Luckily, the mail carrier had a brain on his shoulders and forwarded it to my parent’s adderess (they were in the same town). Best of luck to the poster.

    • SacraBos says:

      @Coles_Law: Amex is generally pretty good about stuff. One of my first Amex experiences was when I found out I had been approved – by getting the statement first. The mail carrier seems to have put it in the wrong box on the apt. complex, and some neighbor went to the local hardware store, and then to “Ross Dress for Less” for lingerie. If your going to commit a felony with an Amex, at least go someplace nice.

      One call to Amex, and everything was handled.

      • Coles_Law says:

        @SacraBos: True, I should have clarified. Their hanling of the situation was quick and otherwise satisfactory, and I was not held liable for the fraudulent account. I was just pointing out this kind of error unfortunately happens from time to time.

  9. fisherstudios says:

    Due to their negligence in handling this matter, you could pay for credit monitoring service and then sue them in small claims to recover the costs associated.

    They probably won’t even show up to defend themselves and a judgment will be made in your favor.

    See this consumerist article for more information…
    [consumerist.com]

    • Aisley says:

      @fisherstudios:

      Didn’t want to ask this but, why are we so prompt to advise people to go to “small claim court”? You go to small claims when it is a really small thing. Capitol One endangering your credit and soiling your reputation? You need to take ther derriere to circuit court. Believe me, the criminal is not going to rob your identity to scam you out of just $2,500.00. So go ahead, get a “nap team” (case quite easy no need for a dream one) a sue Cap One for everything including child support and failure to yield.

      • theblackdog says:

        @Aisley: Perhaps because it’s expensive as hell to hire a lawyer to sue companies, and not all of us can afford to fork over a $300 retainer. Plus with bigger damage claims, it’s a guarantee that the company will show up with lawyers, so you’d better have one of your own.

  10. morganlh85 says:

    Who is gonna be the first to say “Poor writers shouldn’t have credit cards?” I’m waiting for it…

    But in all seriousness, if their actions led to further damage to her identity, I would sue Capital One.

    • fjordtjie says:

      @morganlh85: the person may have intercepted a pre-approved application for a credit card and just sent in their info instead. doesn’t mean she signed up for a credit card, it could mean she didn’t sign up for opt out. on the other hand, she may be a poor writer who signed up for a credit card, but the misspelling of her name and change of address points away from that for me.

  11. dougp26364 says:

    It’s been several years but Cap One pulled this sort of stuff on me as well.

    First, they mailed one of their guarenteed issue cards to an address I hadn’t lived at in over 10 years. Then they accepted the application even though it had the wrong birthdate, wrong SS#, wrong employer et…..

    Of course the guy ran up the total limit on the card in one day.

    I didn’t find out about it until I was buying a car. When I got a copy of the credit report I contacted Cap One. They then proceeded to threaten me with collections.

    To toss salt into the wound Experian put all that false information onto my credit record and refused to remove it. Eventually they saw the light of day when I pointed out I could prove my DOB, my employeement status, my address, mothers true maiden name et…..

    Cap One finally backed off and told Experian to remove the negative credit history. What they didn’t bank on is that I would recheck my credit history a couple of months later. The jerks put the negative information back on my credit record and Experian accepted it despite the evidence and information I had provided them.

    It took one call to Cap One and one call to Experian to get the information removed a second time.

    Guess what’s NOT in my wallet!

  12. floraposte says:

    Is this breach the sort of thing their regulatory agency would be interested in?

  13. Ben Popken says:

    Beyond fraud alert or alerting FBI, she needs to freeze all her credit reports.

    Other avenues:

    FTC’s ID Theft Hotline-1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) or
    [www.ic3.gov]

    It’s not clear from her story but she needs to file a police report with the LAPD if she hasn’t already and yes, wait for her to be caught.

  14. yaced says:

    It is a clerical error thats very easy to make. I work in the industry, and I am assuming she is speaking about a Fraud Affidavit, which is sent out by a computer.

    They are blank and have no personal information . The Id thief would not be arrested anyway, the FBI wont care if the operation is small scale like most of them are. If they accept your claim they will wipe it off your records and the thief will continue doing his thing to other people, maybe he will hit you up again in a few years.

  15. Tankueray says:

    Yes, people that do this regularly will hit you up again in a few years. I had mine stolen in 1997, the same person opened an account in another town a few years later, then tried again in the originating town in 2004. That’s three hits from what I’m reasonably sure is the same person. The police never cared and there were no such things as freezes back then. I found these things out by getting my credit report regularly.