Recover password

Victim of ID theft still paying 17 years later

Mark Medley is proof of how long a single case of identity theft can continue to mess up a person’s life.

Medley founded Los Ranchos-based ID Theft Resolutions after his wallet was stolen at a city Summerfest event. The person who stole his identity was picked up on other, felony charges the next day and identified himself to authorities as Medley.

That was 17 years ago. It was a long and uphill battle for Medley to clear his name and to deal with the financial aftermath, including checks that bounced because the thief had drained his account.

Just last week, Medley learned the latest ramifications of the theft when he went to his local polling place to vote and was told his name had been deleted from the voter rolls.

Why?

Medley suspects the identity thief might be committing new crimes, continuing to use Medley’s name. It’s a new problem stemming from the old crime; Medley says he has voted in every election since 2001 – including the last presidential election – and never had an issue. He says the Secretary of State’s Office is looking into the issue and assures him the matter will be resolved.

“It’s a perfect example of how identity theft can haunt you for many, many years,” he said.

He plans to go back to his old practice of ordering a background check from the state Public Safety Department at least once a year to make sure no new crimes have been committed by the fake Mark Medley.

About being a victim of ID theft, Medley says, “You never know what information is out there (when) your identity has been misused.”

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The New Mexico/Southwest Colorado Better Business Bureau is warning about several phone scams that happened recently.

In one case, a caller with an Indian accent claims to be from the Better Business Bureau and says he needs access to the consumer’s computer through a service code. He says he is trying to verify a supposed payment made to a fake Microsoft Co. (In other words, the scammer was claiming to be investigating a scam.)

The same consumer got a second call, this time from a supposed Microsoft employee who said he was the only one who could fix the consumer’s corrupted computer.

The BBB says it “would never ask a consumer to verify any sort of information by allowing us access to their computer via a service code.” It “urges caution when taking calls from unknown or unfamiliar phone numbers. We also urge extreme caution when a caller/salesperson/telemarketer refuses to verify their identity.”

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Starbucks will not give you a $50 coupon for taking an online survey.

Versions of this type of scam have been shared on social media for years, involving not only Starbucks but Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut and other chains.

The latest variety claims to be in celebration of Starbucks’ 50th year in business, even though the company is three years shy of its golden anniversary. Also, the logo on the bogus offer is outdated. It shows a green ring around a black center image of a mermaid with the words “STARBUCKS COFFEE” and two stars. Starbucks dropped the ring and the color black from the design in 2011.

The company says those who question whether an offer is bogus can check on its app, call its customer care line or speak with an employee at one of its outlets.

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A warning about a driver’s license scam. Victims are targeted through email, with a message that looks to be from the American Automobile Association, according to the Scam Detector website. The scammers ask the recipient to click on a link and respond to questions as part of a so-called annual verification. They say that this year, driver’s licenses must be updated because of some unspecified change in legislation.

Clicking on the link will take you to a page that looks like it belongs to a government agency, with a form that asks for personal information.

Don’t be fooled.

Ellen Marks is assistant business editor at the Albuquerque Journal. Contact her at emarks@abqjournal.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210.

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