Port Coquitlam man hanging for months after identity theft

Ruomin Zhang left behind, Bell Mobility says he will recover after media investigation.

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It’s bad enough when telemarketers keep bothering you, even worse when the irritant is the mobile operator itself.

Ruomin Zhang of Port Coquitlam received a bill in the mail from Bell Mobility last July for $1,147.19. Not only had she not requested his services, but she was never his client.

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“At first I thought it was just a scam email,” Zhang said.

But when a second bill arrived in August, she called Bell Mobility customer service.

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“I told them my identity was used in fraud,” he said. “I tried to tell them that I didn’t open an account with them, that I had never used their services, and they insisted that it was in my name and that I am somehow responsible (for the bill amount).”

The trouble began when an account was opened at a Stage E Wireless booth at the Richmond Public Market while Zhang was in Victoria studying engineering at the University of Victoria last year. She returned to her parents’ house last summer.

After contacting Bell Mobility following the second bill, the company instructed him to file a police report with the RCMP in Richmond. Bell Mobility declined to offer more information at the time, he said.

He then filed a report with police, who told him this type of thing is a common complaint the detachment receives, and informed Bell Mobility that it had been filed.

Aside from shipping dates and due dates, the invoices were identical: the Final Notice appeared at the top, followed by “Our records indicate that your Bell Mobility account has not yet been paid. If your payment for the amount due is not processed by the due date listed below, your account will be referred to a collection agency for recovery.”

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The company, a division of Bell Canada, which last month laid off 4,800 employees across Canada, offered Zhang three options to pay, including through his financial institution, but warned that if he took that approach, “this method of Payment is not immediate and payment may not be made.” be processed before the required due date below.”

The letters ended by thanking Zhang for his business, with additions in all caps that late fees would apply, and were signed by Maria Ferranti, vice president of Bell Collections.

It turned out that it had been forgotten until Postmedia News asked Bell about it on Thursday.

“After reviewing the information provided (Postmedia), we can confirm that our fraud prevention team had identified the account as fraudulent in November,” Bell spokeswoman Caroline Audet said. “Unfortunately, the collection process did not stop at the same time.

“An agent has been assigned to immediately stop the collection process and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

When informed of Bell’s response on Thursday, Zhang was relieved and pleasantly surprised.

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If you have to guess how the thieves got your information, you think it may be when you signed up for a couple of delivery apps that asked you to send photos of your driver’s license.

Because the amount Bell Mobility had initially demanded remained on his credit report with Equifax, he continued to check it regularly.

Last week it uncovered another case of identity theft, this time with Telus-owned Koodo Mobile. (His actual provider of it is Fido, also owned by Telus.)

“Another mobile account was opened in my name in Vancouver,” he said. “I called Koodo customer service immediately and filed a report with the Vancouver Police Department.

“Koodo responded quickly, they called me right away and said they would notify the credit bureaus and cancel the account.

“What a contrast.”

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