So I need to vent. I work for my family’s business. We are a smallish company and we try to do things right and do right by people who work for us or with us. We may be too nice. We just got a call from a collection agency looking for over $2000 for a cell phone account that was set up in our business’ name. It wasn’t set up by any of us though. It was set up by our old lawyer who was borrowing some office space from us to get back on his feet after he was disbarred…for stealing money from his clients. We were nice. We were trying to help the guy out. We let him use an empty office. Then weird things started happening. He was taking too many liberties. He used our conference room which we never gave permission for, he was storing things in our warehouse we never gave permission for, he let some guy test some stuff in a big old delapidated shed out back. And then his partner left him. Then we started getting mail for two other companies for him (He set up three companies it appears). Then the big one hit. We got a cell phone bill with no charges on it. We called and it turned out he had set it up but they had asked for some information he didn’t have and he gave up. So the account went only half way through but enough to send a bill with a $0.00 balance. THEN about three weeks later, we get a call from another cell phone company looking for $800 in charges. We told the jerk in question to pay it. We have not recieve any payment or word that it has been payed. Today we got yet another call. This one from a collection agency, looking for the over $2000 in charges for another cell phone company.
We were trying to help this guy out. That’s how my father is. He is, if nothing else, very forgiving. Then we get stabbed in the back. The Jerk doesn’t know what he is in for. We have already spoken with our lawyer. Next step is a police report, then the D.A.’s office. This is officially Identity Theft. He used our company to set up an unauthorized account (or actually, three accounts).
My biggest concern is what are the protections in place for businesses victimized by Identity Theft. There are lots of things for the individual, including Texas Penal Code 32.51 which makes Identity theft a felony in Texas. And it is also prosecutible on a national level. But we are not sure yet what can be done when a company is the one having its identity stolen.
The moral of the story is, as it turns out, often people (and companies) have their identities stolen by people that they know. So watch your own backs, people.
Wish us luck.