© Killen photo
Orlando McKay holds up a signed staement from his daughter, who accepts responsibility for the cellphones. The company is still pressuring the Orlandos for the outstanding bill of $2,100.
An Annapolis County couple is shocked at how fast a person can run up cellphone charges and leave someone else stuck with the bill.
Orlando and Cathy McKay, of Albany, say they’ve received a $2,100 collection bill for cell phones they didn’t know they had.
While she was living in the Middleton area last year, their daughter used her father’s name, birth date, and social insurance number without his knowledge to get herself a few cell phones.
“It’s friggin’ scary,” said Orlando McKay. “I can’t believe you can just call up a company and get a cell phone in someone else’s name without their knowledge, or permission.”
The same woman was charged last year with several theft related incidents, but until now the McKays didn’t realize that she had used his ID to run up additional bills for cellphones.
Even though they have a signed statement from her, accepting full responsibility for the bill, they say the company’s collection department is trying to shake them down for the money.
The cellphone company is pressuring them to find a current address for her as well as disclose her personal information. While they have an idea where she is living, it’s difficult to obtain proof of her address.
They say the company is taking the position that because she is a family member, the incident isn’t a fraud case. The McKays says they are cash-crunched this summer and can’t pay the outstanding amount to pull the amount from collection.
Tropical storm Arthur damaged the main power line to their house and after going 11 days without electricity, they tapped out their emergency overdraft to have the roof mast repaired in order to have the main power restored.
“We’re living on what I get picking beans each week,” says Cathy McKay. “It’s not acceptable that this is our responsibility. They gave her the phone, they should get the information.”
The McKays say they have filed charges with the RCMP and are hoping that will help support their claim. In the meantime, they are hoping this doesn’t permanently damage their credit rating.
Kevin Spafford, spokesman for Rogers Communications, says that his company will work with the McKays to resolve this problem.
“Preventing identity theft and fraud is important to us,” he said. “For new accounts we have verification steps in place to ensure the person ordering the service is who they say they are, including requiring two pieces of identification (one of those must be government issued). For account transfers, we verify the identity for both people involved in the transfer using authentication questions based on their specific customer information.”
He added that customers can protect themselves by adding a pin/password to Rogers accounts. Additionally, people can have fraud alerts placed on their credit bureau files that will alert them of any attempts to use their information.