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]
“Leukemia Survivor Who Had Identity Stolen By Lab Tech Tells His Story”