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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

 

Typo Turns Woman's Life Upside Down

Typo Turns Woman's Life Upside Down

David Quinlan
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Consumer Reporter

 

Posted: 12:57 pm PDT August 3, 2009Updated: 6:31 pm PDT August 3, 2009

SEATTLE -- A Renton woman is trying to get her life back on track after a simple typo turned everything upside down.

It all started when Brittany Ball was out shopping with her family in April and when she tried to use her credit card; the card was declined. After Ball was assured by the bank that her card being declined was just an error she tried to use another card a week later and the same thing happened.

Ball told KIRO 7 Consumer Investigator David Quinlan that apparently someone mistakenly entered her social security number during a bankruptcy proceeding in Pierce County and her number was switched with a Tacoma woman's number.  This simple clerical mistake however, had a big impact on Ball's life.

"Basically, my life was put on hold," Ball said.

Ball started getting bankruptcy notices in the mail, her credit line dropped to $200 and the bank put a hold on her car loan. For two months, Ball was living on virtually zero credit.

"It makes your name look bad," Ball told Quinlan. "Having to deal with the embarrassment at the store by having your cards turned down."

Ball tried to fix the problem spending hours on the phone and meeting with people at her bank but it took a court order to straighten out the error.

"It's not an easy thing when you're cruising along and you think everything is going okay and the next thing you know your whole life is upside down," Ball said.

The FTC told Quinlan that there is little anyone can do to stop this from happening to them and Bob Schroder with the Federal Trade Commission said that what happened to Ball borders on identity theft.

"All your accounts get frozen because your social security number got misused," Schroder said. "It can happen to anybody."

Quinlan tried contacting the firm representing the Tacoma woman in the bankruptcy case whose number was switched with Ball's but they did not return any calls.

Experts recommend checking your credit report each year to try to avoid something like this from happening. You can check your credit report or find out what else you can do to stop identity theft by clicking on the links below.  This simple clerical mistake however, had a big impact on Ball's life.

 

"Basically, my life was put on hold," Ball said.

 

Ball started getting bankruptcy notices in the mail, her credit line dropped to $200 and the bank put a hold on her car loan. For two months, Ball was living on virtually zero credit.

 

"It makes your name look bad," Ball told Quinlan. "Having to deal with the embarrassment at the store by having your cards turned down."

 

Ball tried to fix the problem spending hours on the phone and meeting with people at her bank but it took a court order to straighten out the error.

 

"It's not an easy thing when you're cruising along and you think everything is going okay and the next thing you know your whole life is upside down," Ball said.

 

The FTC told Quinlan that there is little anyone can do to stop this from happening to them and Bob Schroder with the Federal Trade Commission said that what happened to Ball borders on identity theft.

 

"All your accounts get frozen because your social security number got misused," Schroder said. "It can happen to anybody."

 

Quinlan tried contacting the firm representing the Tacoma woman in the bankruptcy case whose number was switched with Ball's but they did not return any calls.

 

Experts recommend checking your credit report each year to try to avoid something like this from happening. You can check your credit report or find out what else you can do to stop identity theft by clicking on the links below.

 

LINK TO VIDEO:

http://www.kirotv.com/money/20267306/detail.html


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