Identity Theft Victim Claims Credit Card Companies Accomplices in Millions of Identity Theft Cases

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Eric Drew was in the hospital fighting for his life, afflicted with a type of cancer that is normally terminal, when he soon started to receive an onslaught of phone calls -not from his family, but from bill collectors.

Eric soon learned that something inconceivable, and out-of-the-blue, had now additionally been dumped on his already full lap -something that would force him to fight simultaneous battles.  Eric discovered his identity had been stolen and it could not have occurred at a worse time.

While desperately fighting to beat his battle with cancer, Eric courageously set in motion his own tenacious investigation to figure out how it occurred and who did it. Eric would learn that his identity was the target of a hospital lab tech who apparently thought Eric wouldn't be around long enough to learn of his despicable actions. The thief may have been successful at stealing Eric's identity -but he certainly failed at stealing Eric's will to fight, survive and find justice!

Eric fought the system and won, becoming the first person to win a federal criminal conviction under the Health Information Privacy (HIPAA) laws -but his battle for justice is far from over.

Eric's story has been featured on ABC News, Dateline NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and on the cover of most major news publications in the US. Every year millions of Americans are the victims of identity theft, and in a lawsuit filed against major credit card companies and the credit bureaus, identity theft victim Eric Drew claims that the credit industry is facilitating the crimes. See Eric's press release below, as well as links to my interview with Eric on SpotLight and an in depth feature article in Discovery Magazine.

Credit Card Companies Accomplices in Millions of Identity Theft Cases Alleges Eric Drew
Absence of Verification Safeguards Allow Thieves to Steal

By attempting to maximize profits by fully automating their identity verification systems, credit card companies such as Bank of America, Citibank and Chase are knowingly fostering rampant fraud and forcing their customers to deal with the results of their irresponsible credit card issuing practices.

Criminals armed with only a few pieces of personal information such as an address and a social security number are able to fraudulently apply for credit cards under the victim's name. Currently there are no reliable identity verification systems in place to prevent thieves from receiving and using the cards. Identity theft losses totaled over $52 billion in 2002 and affected almost 10 million Americans.

"It's the worst customer service in America," said Drew, an identity theft victim in 2003. "These banks are intent on issuing as many cards as possible -- and forcing their legitimate customers to deal with a complicated mess to prove their innocence when fraud occurs."

In Drew's case, the theft was particularly heinous. While fighting for his life battling leukemia in a hospital, his identity was stolen by a hospital worker. Health Associated Identity Theft (referred to as a HAIT Crime) is difficult to fight because the victim must dispute fraudulent charges, contend with hostile collection practices, and attempt to repair damaged credit ratings from a hospital bed or convalescent home.

Drew is suing Citibank, Bank of America, Chase, Equifax, and Experian, claiming that they didn't verify application information, and is attempting to mandate that the credit industry verify an applicant's identity prior to issuing credit.

"Americans need to know that financial institutions are not only causing the identity theft problem, but are forcing us to clean up their mess," added Drew. "Even with all the other issues I'm dealing with, I decided I couldn't let this go on happening to others without a fight."

In addition to crusading against identity theft, Drew is dedicated to providing advocacy and education to seriously ill patients and their families.

To hear more about Eric Drew's ongoing battle for justice, hear our July interview with our guests
Eric Drew, Jay Foley from the Identity Theft Resource Center and Attorney Robert Sola a leading FCRA  consumer attorney with the National Association of Consumer Advocates:

Identity Theft What You Need to Know
Learn more about Eric's foundation at

See Eric's April '08 feature in Discover Magazine: The Man Who Lost His Name--and His Genetic Identity

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