Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificat - WJTV News Channel 12

Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificate for credit report error

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James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then. James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.
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TOWN 'N' COUNTRY, FL (WFLA) -

James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.

Woolever says he never heard a word from Verizon about a past-due balance, and he pays his bill every month on time. So he thought it would get cleared up with a quick phone call. But that didn't happen.

"They even admitted that "Oh, yeah, we realize that this isn't your account, but we're still not going to take it off,'" Woolever said.

Verizon asked Woolever to prove the account wasn't his. A company representative wanted his social security number, then his driver's license. He agreed to give both, but then they asked for his birth certificate.

"I'm not going to fax to a random person my birth certificate," he said.

With so many recent identity thefts, Woolever was worried about sending that much personal information to a private company. But without the birth certificate, the credit report remained tarnished, keeping him from obtaining loans.

Verizon spokesman Bob Elek says it's all a mix up. The account in question was actually for Woolever's father, who has the same name. Because Woolever's social security number was at one time tied to his father's address, somehow, he got tied to an old balance of $370."

Woolever's credit report was dinged in March 2013. He believes that was unnecessary, and the whole thing should have been cleared up a long time ago.

"This has been affecting my credit for a year and half because of an error on Verizon's part," Woolever said.

After calls from 8 On Your Side, Verizon took a closer look at Woolever's credit report and agreed to remove the error, even without the birth certificate. Elek said he's not aware of a policy that requires a copy of a birth certificate but said "verification is not a bad thing."

Consumer groups, however, warn against turning over such sensitive information, because of the risk of identity theft.

Eric Olsen, of Hillsborough County Consumer Protection, said he it's "extremely unusual" for a company to request a birth certificate. He said consumers should not turn over a copy of their birth certificate to a private company, even if that is what it takes to clear up a credit error.

Instead, he said, consumers should dispute errors on their credit report with the credit bureau that lists the mistake. That way, he said, the credit bureau will investigate for you.

Copyright WFLA 2014.  All rights reserved.

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