Anne Lorene’s Blog

The Enemy Within

Posted on: November 14, 2007

The New Place
For four years, I lived in a large apartment complex right across the street from 3M’s corporate HQ. The apartments were originally built to house 3M employees who were there on long term assignments. People lived there for years, often 20+. The last year that I lived there was a nightmare, though. There was an armed robbery, thefts of personal property off of balconies and from storage areas within the building. The final straw came when I had to call the police when two men were threatening each other with guns out in the parking lot one night. One of them lived in my building.
The old place

So I moved about five miles away, to a new townhouse in a much safer environment, or so I thought. I filled out my application for a credit check to prove that I paid my bills, giving my SSN and other information. I had friends who moved in there who did not have such a positive experience. They paid their first month’s rent, signed the lease and moved in. When their bank statement came through, the check to the management company had been altered; the name of the management company had been crossed out. In its place was the name of the assistant manager. She also endorsed the back of the check. When questioned about it, she said, it was no big deal, since she worked for the company. That was not a satisfactory answer for my friend, whose wife is in Utah right now. She went to the bank, got a copy of the check and faxed it to the Management company and asked just what was going on.
Obviously something WAS going on. They started to look at the reports and bank statements and found a severe shortage. (If they had been more on the ball, they would have caught it sooner.) The employee was questioned, arrested, and put into jail.
It seems that every day brought new discoveries. I got a phone call on Tuesday saying that my November rent check was missing. Mine, and several others never made it to the management company or the bank. I guess she was getting bolder and just resorted to outright stealing the checks this time. I don’t know what she was thinking, that she wouldn’t get caught?
But it’s thrown things into a tizzy for me. I put a stop payment on the check immediately. But since the original check has not been found, things are still not settled. The police searched her apartment, but none of the missing checks were found. So, the question has to be, is someone else involved here who might be in possession of a check with all my banking information on it?
She is guilty of forgery and identity theft. I cannot assume otherwise. With the information from the credit application and the banking information from my check, she could do a lot of damage in my name. So yesterday I closed out the old account, opened a new one and then proceeded to call all the people who had permission to take money from my account, such as Qwest, PayPal, my investment people, and the IRS. The last is a bit scary, since it takes a while to process such requests. But the last thing I want to do is have the government think I am trying to get out of paying a small tax bill.
I also have to contact all the Credit Reporting agencies and put a freeze on my credit, and then go buy a new paper shredder. My old one gave up the ghost a while back and I got lax in destroying old receipts, etc. I had to order new checks. I got the management company to spring for them, since I had just bought new ones for when I moved. I go for goofy ones, and these have a Where the Wild Things Are theme.
After all the reading about identity theft that I had done, as well as keeping up with various phishing scams, I thought I was safe. I never buy online from unsafe people, only vendors I trust, such as Amazon.
It turns out the enemy within, without a gun or physical threats, has put me a lot more jeopardy than I ever thought.

1 Response to "The Enemy Within"

Anne, I was so sorry to read about all the trouble you are having in your new apartment. It sounded so ideal when you were originally telling us about it.

Will you be staying there during this difficult period, or will you move again? I hate to move and I know you probably do, too.

I sure hope your new job is doing well, though. That sure helps, doesn’t it?

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November 2007
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