Case Study: Teacher Learns a Hard Lesson About Identity Theft
A schoolteacher learns about identity fraud the hard way—after he’s arrested for crimes committed by an identity thief. A night in jail and months of dealing with law enforcement led him to CyberScout for help. Find out how we restored his good name.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Mark Kendel was running errands with his two children when police pulled him over and arrested him on the spot.
A routine license plate check had produced arrest warrants in his name for thousands of dollars worth of fraudulent checks written in Florida. He spent the night in jail and appeared before a judge the next day—in handcuffs. Bail was set at $5,000. He was released after his wife posted a $500 bond.
“The experience was humiliating,” said Kendel, 39, who teaches special education at an Ohio middle school. He said he’s never written a bad check or lived in Florida. About the charges, he added, “I was bowled over. I had no idea what they were talking about.”
The incident took an emotional and financial toll on his family. Kendel was permitted to drive his two children home before going to jail. In subsequent months, however, the family found it difficult to put the episode behind them.
In the following days, Kendel contacted Florida’s attorney general’s office, which explained that someone had used his name, personal information, and image to open several accounts at local banks and Costco. Mark Kendel was listed as the account holder and described as a local business owner. The address of the supposed company was for a vacant lot.
Kendel contacted his home insurer, MetLife Auto & Home, which offers identity protection services on its renters, condominium, homeowners, and automobile policies in most states. The service is offered to customers at no additional cost.
“MetLife Auto & Home is proud to be the first major insurer to offer this enhanced service to customers, which provides a solution designed to help protect consumers against identity theft,” said Deb Quinlivan, senior product consultant at MetLife Auto & Home. “Hopefully it's a service you'll never need to use, but in the event the worst occurs, it can be a powerful tool to help clear your good name.”
Kendel was connected to Mark Fullbright, a CyberScout fraud investigator, who helped Kendel file a police report, enrolled him in CyberScout’s fraud and credit monitoring program, and placed a fraud alert on his accounts.
Fullbright also worked with law enforcement in Florida and Ohio to expunge Kendel’s record.
”Mark Fullbright was phenomenal,” Kendel said. “I had a lot of questions, and he was there to give me advice on the actions or future precautions I could take. Every time I needed something he was there to reassure us.”
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