Identity theft victim turns to ABC13 for help with bill collectors

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A bill sits on the table of Marion Polk. (KTRK)

Turn to Ted
When a retired school administrator became a victim of identity theft, she had to work hard to convince stores she didn't go on a city wide spending spree. But even after she did it, debt collectors still came calling.

Marion Polk was probably the worst person for identity thieves to pick on.

"It's a nightmare," Polk said.

But they did pick on her and she noticed it pretty quickly. Stopping the consequences has taken more than a year and most recently she's been fighting debt collectors for weeks who claim she owes money on bad checks she never wrote.

"Grocery stores, Home Depot, Lowe's. They wrote several checks in my name," Polk said.

The debt collector, TRS Recovery Services, wants $900 for checks written after the accounts were closed.

"The only problem was I didn't make those bills. I was a victim of identity theft."

She explained that, repeatedly, on the phone. The only solution offered: send in all your personal information to the supposed debt collector and they will try to work with her.

"My fear was that they would take the information and do something unscrupulous with it as well," Polk said.

After Marion called us, we tried to get answers from TRS Recovery Services and it wasn't easy. We started with a number in Houston, which led to a second company; Telecheck out of Sugarland, which led to a third company in New York, this time an apparent public relations firm for the debt collector.

Until finally... "you should have no further responsibility for these debts," a letter read.

We got some results. Citing privacy, the debt collector wouldn't talk to us about Marion. That letter ends the collection effort.

"Your responsibility as a consumer is to continue to be persistent and determined to provide documentation and when all else failed, turn to channel 13, Turn to Ted because you'll get proven results," Polk said.

Marion, who saves everything, says her best advice is to take meticulous notes, but also check your bank account at least once a week and look at the online check images. She always used to balance her checkbook. Now she does that every week too.

The one document that convinced the debt collector was her police report - so do report crimes like this.

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