When George Shrader ran his credit to buy a house, he found thousands of dollars in past-due Verizon wireless bills. But he was never a customer!

“Everybody at Verizon says the same thing, ‘This is funny. I’ve never seen this before.'” Shrader said.

The company’s response?

“She asked my social security number, it didn’t match the account,” Shrader said. “She asked for my address, it didn’t match the account.”

There were no answers.

“I sent all my information last Friday and still today, I have not heard one thing back from them,” Shrader said. “All they will do is take my number when I call. They won’t even talk to me about it.”

Shrader called 8 On Your Side after our investigation into two other fraudulent accounts. In these recent cases, some thief used stolen information to open the accounts online. Verizon is at a loss for an explanation.

Cyber security expert Sri Sridharan of the USF Center for Cybersecurity, said: “There’s something going on that we don’t know what the root cause of it is.”

Cell phones are attractive to crooks because they can be dumped quickly and bought online, and that is where Verizon appears to have a weakness, Sridharan said.

Verizon spokeswoman Nicole Gavin said the company is researching what happened and trying to resolve the issues.

She sent this statement by email:

“Verizon is dedicated to protecting our customers


other customers from identity theft. In the unfortunate event that an individual’s identity has been stolen and used to initiate unauthorized Verizon, Verizon Wireless, or FIOS services, you can call our Identity Fraud Hotline at 888.483.7200 (hours 8a-8p) or visit verizonwireless.com/fraud

where you can file a claim online and a Verizon Fraud specialist will contact you in approximately 2 business days.”

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