Identity Theft Victim Held Hostage By Bank

The Huffington Post reports, “The Identity Theft Resource Center says Ty Powell is a victim of identity theft. Freddie Mac says he hasn’t paid his mortgage in two years. The local paper says he’s dead. Powell says, ‘I don’t know what to say.’”

Powell bought a house in Arizona from a builder, paying $217,000 in cash that he made playing professional basketball in Brazil. While he was in Brazil, someone sucked the equity out of the home to the tune of a $376,703 mortgage, and of course, defaulted. It is believed that the builder, who had the personal information on Powell, took out the loan and even paid some of the debt in order to keep the scheme until after Powell had taken possession of the house.

Then one day, Powell gets an eviction notice saying he has to move out of his home because of the unpaid mortgage. Unfortunately, it’s been demonstrated time and again that when it comes to being an identity theft victim, you are guilty until proven innocent.

Freddie Mac’s spokesperson replies, “We believe the foreclosure was legitimate because the loan secured by the property was in default. Despite a mortgage workout in 2008, no mortgage payment had been received since January 2009. We have also referred the matter to our fraud investigations unit.”

The local paper incorrectly reported that Powell had died of a heart attack. This was more than likely planted by the identity thief so that a death certificate would be issued, making it difficult for the bank to proceed.

Meanwhile, the scammers opened new credit card accounts and got a fraudulent driver’s license in Powell’s name.

Most, if not all, of this was preventable.

To ensure peace of mind —subscribe to an identity theft protection service, such as McAfee Identity Protection, which offers proactive identity surveillance and lost wallet protection. If your credit or debit cards are ever lost, stolen or misused without your authorization, you can call McAfee Identity Protection and they’ll help you cancel them and order new ones. If their product fails, you’ll be reimbursed for any stolen funds not covered by your bank or credit card company. Please see Guarantee for details. For additional tips, please visit

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee Consultant and Identity Theft Expert. See him discussing how to protect yourself from identity theft on (Disclosures)

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