Monday, September 10, 2007
Help Me Howard: Identity Theft
If it has never happened to you, cross your fingers because thousands of Americans fall victim to identity theft. And if a crook steals your name, then guess who has a record? That's right, you do. So how do you clear your name? Call "Help Me Howard" with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Few things are more adorable than a giggling baby, and being Tommy's nanny is not a bad gig either.
Elizabeth Brazzil: " mmm we like crackers, but we have to break them up really tiny so we dont choke..."
Elizabeth Brazzil: "Being a nanny allows me to interact one on one with the child.'
But, before being hired as a nanny, Elizabeth has had trouble getting a job and could not understand why.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "I thought I was doing something wrong, or times were just changing, and it was hard right now."
Then, after Tommy's parents interviewed her, she found out why she kept getting rejected.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "And they sat me down the Monday that I started with them, and they asked me what had happened in July of the previous year."
Elizabeth Brazzil: "And I was trying to think, what could they be talking about. I was like I had no idea."
The family had wisely done a background check and discovered an "Elizabeth Brazzil" had been found guilty of possession of cannibis and battery.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "Really look at me. Do I look like I could hurt somebody?"
Elizabeth Brazzil: "I don't have a record. I have been a good girl."
In fact, Elizabeth has a spotless record. She is not a criminal. Instead she is a victim of identity theft.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "I was pretty upset. I felt a little sick to my stomach."
After doing a little checking, Elizabeth discovered this person was arrested and told the officer she was Elizabeth Brazzil. Elizabeth knew her well.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "We used to be best friends."
Elizabeth Brazzil: "And she is the only person that would have that much informaiton of mine that would be able to pull it off."
But the fact that her old friend was able to trick the cops amazed Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "The description in the difference in us is like night and day. I am 5 foot, she is 5 foot 7.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "She has brown hair. I have blond hair."
The officer didn't notice it, took the girl's word for it that she was Elizabeth and took her to jail. Guess who now has a rap sheet?
So know you have a record.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "So know I have a record."
Not only does she have a criminal record, since her name shows a controlled substance conviction her license was suspended.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "I just want to clear my name."
But can you wipe out a criminal record, get your license re-instated and clear your name forever? Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "The answer is, yes. It takes a few steps. The first thing you need to do is contact the State Attorny's Office that prosecuted the case. Most offices have what's called a Not Me Unit that will walk you through the steps to get the record corrected. Also, they will give you a letter to carry with you in case you are stopped by police, and you can use that letter to get your license re-instated."
We checked and discovered that when Broward jail officials fingerprinted the culprit they discovered her real name, but either the jail didn't notify the courts, or the Broward courts ignored the information.
Elizabeth then went to the Broward State Attorney's Not Me Unit filled out the paperwork to get her name and her record cleared and got a letter that proves she is not a criminal.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "You guys are amazing. Patrick has been a big help.You know, he walks me through the steps, he tells me what to do, so I don't mess up. It's just been really great."
But identity theft is a major problem. It's happening to a lot of people, and by the time you find out, it's too late.
Howard Finkelstein: "You can check your license, you can check your credit reports and credits cards, but, unfortunately, none of that will prevent indentity theft. It will only reveal it after it's already happened. It's a problem that presently doesn't have a solution right now."
Elizabeth got her problem corrected and one day will hopefully be able to get her dream job.
Elizabeth Brazzil: "I want to get a job with American Airlines eventually, and there is no way they are going to hire you if you have a record."
Identity theft is an enormous problem. Like Howard said, you can check, but, by the time you find out, you are already a victim.
Now, if you suspect something is wrong, get in touch with the State Attorney's Office right away. Elizabeth did and got it cleared up.
Is a problem that is stealing your time? Contact us. We will try to be judge jury and execute a solution right away.
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