By Kurtis Ming

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13)- Brian Carlson says he started getting bills for new cellphone service from Verizon. The problem? He never signed up for it.

When Carlson opened up the latest bill he dreaded what he might see this time.

“This one says $348.29,” he said looking at the new amount.

Appearing on the bill are Carlson’s full name and address, and it’s filled with international calls.

“I’m mad; I don’t owe no money,” he said.

When Carlson called Verizon, he says they told him he couldn’t close the account, because his Social Security number didn’t match the one they had on file.

“’There’s nothing you can do about it. You don’t have the correct Social Security number,’” said Carlson.

He says, even after his calls to Verizon, collections notices showed up and says Verizon won’t fix it.

“Get their heads out of their rear ends and do something,” said Carlson.

The Better Business Bureau’s Gary Almond thinks this is a case of identity theft, and says cell companies need to do a better job verifying information when opening new accounts.

“The onus is on their back to prove that you owe the debt,” said Almond.

He says by law you can sue if they keep harassing you for a debt you don’t owe.

“It allows you to get $1,000 for companies that just don’t pay attention,” he said.

We reached out to Verizon, which said it, “Is always working to stay one step ahead of the criminals,” adding, “If a criminal had access to all of someone’s personal information, it becomes much more difficult to identify a fraudulent account.”

The company looked into Carlson’s case and says it’s resolved the issue.

“I hope nothing else comes up,” said Carlson.

But he has a message for whoever opened a cell account in his name, “Yours is coming. Karma.”

Verizon never told us exactly what happened in Carlson’s case, but says it does work to shut down false accounts, so there’s no long-term impact on someone’s credit report.

Full Verizon statement

For privacy reasons, I can’t discuss any specific customer or account. However, I can say that we have resolved the issue and closed the loop with Mr. Carlson. Please note that the issue was resolved on first contact, but the investigation/resolution can take 30-90 days to complete.

Here’s some helpful information on fraud prevention:

We only allow the primary account holder, and/or the delegates they choose, to access an account. If a criminal had access to all of someone’s personal information (passwords, ss#, address, name, etc.), it becomes much more difficult to identify a fraudulent account.

If a customer believes he/she is victim of fraud, we are happy to investigate by, for example, making sure customers are not responsible for any charges and there is no long term impact to their credit reports.

We also provide customers with a list of scam alerts at http://www.verizon.com/pages/securityalerts/

This link may also be helpful to you – https://www.verizonwireless.com/fraud/

Also, we work to ensure that any false accounts are shut down so customers are protected from any fraudulent charges and there is no long term impact to their credit report.

Verizon is always working to stay one step ahead of the criminals and updating our authentication processes. The trick is balancing security with customer experience. We always want to make processes as secure as possible while making it easy for customers to do legitimate business with us.

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