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Identity theft victim’s debt cleared by cellphone shop

A victim of identity theft who received two bills from a wireless telephone provider for service and phones he said he didn’t order was able to resolve the issue and have the bills reversed.

Logan Avenue resident Raymond Hodges said he was taken for a ride in October when he received a package containing two cell phones that he hadn’t ordered. Although he returned the phones promptly to a retail outlet, he received bills of $222 on November 4 and $522 on November 10 for phone service and fees on a cell phone number that was not his, Hodges said. He doesn’t even own a cell phone, Hodges added.

“There had been fraudulent activity on the account – someone had gotten a hold of my personal information,” Hodges said. “My name and address were current on the two bills, but [the bills] stated that I lived in an apartment when I live in a private house. In addition, my home phone number was off by one digit. I didn’t know where these had come from or who had my name, address and social security number.”

Stuck with the bills, Hodges paid a visit to Senator Jeff Klein’s office. The senator’s office contacted the phone company involved and ascertained that the phone number and cell phones had been purchased using fraudulent information.

“I never did business with this telephone company and don’t even have a cell phone,” Hodges said. “I can go into any one of the many cellular phone stores [on E. Tremont Avenue] and get a cell phone if I want one.”

At Klein’s request the telephone company voided Hodge’s bills. Hodges’ case is a perfect example of why Bronx residents need to remain vigilant against identity theft, the senator said.

“Identity theft can happen to anyone, which is why it’s important to review all financial statements,” Klein said. “I commend Mr. Hodges for looking into the problem and contacting my office for help. I am deeply concerned about identity theft criminals preying on my constituents and that’s why we all need to work together to question any unusual charges and not let the criminals win.”

Hodges said that he considers Klein a true friend to Throggs Neck.

“I feel excellent about the resolution. Senator Klein did a great job and resolved it really well for me,” Hodges said.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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