“This story dates back two years. My former owner, of the house I rented in Châtillon-sur-Seine, contacted me by email. In the subject of the latter: URGENT, written in capital letters. I was intrigued because my move was a year ago“, Aurélie, 33 years old, recounts with emotion the injustice of which she was a victim. This director of the home paid the price of identity theft. Story.
“In my head, this story would be resolved very quickly”
“He wanted to notify me of the receipt of a letter in my name. As the envelope was signed by the Ministry of Justice, he preferred to open it to scan it and attach it. The letter mentioned a formal notice from a bailiff’s office for unpaid debt of 107 euros for a baby coat purchased at Vertbaudet. They demanded this amount from me, accompanied by a threat of formal notice if I did not pay. At the time, I told myself that this letter had probably been sent to me by mistake. I didn’t think for a single second that it was a scam… In my head, this story would be resolved very quickly.
At the time, I was married. I then thought that my ex could have made this order without telling me. My first reaction was to check with her. Strangely, no orders had been placed from him. At that moment I felt something strange was happening. I called the bailiff’s office, giving the references indicated on the letter. I wanted to know more, so I asked them for additional information. They then told me that a payment in three installments free of charge on the Vertbaudet website had been made in August 2020, and that the last transaction had still not been honored. I immediately told them that I was not at the origin of this order. I don’t have children, so I don’t really see what I could have done with baby clothes!
The bailiff’s office therefore verified the information given during the purchase. The last name, first name and postal address corresponded in every way to my identity. I fell ten floors! How was this possible? I thought I was going crazy. However, the telephone number did not match. But the most intriguing part of this story remains the email address… For the record, I have a 12 year old little brother. When I was younger, he called me Didi. This nickname stuck. Now everyone around me uses it to talk to me. And it is this nickname that the address provided by my usurper contained. At that moment, it clicked: someone who knew me wanted to harm me, using my identity. And I can tell you that we don’t experience that well.
“I didn’t sense any compassion in his voice.”
I was completely helpless, I didn’t know what to do. So I asked the bailiff’s office what steps to take. ‘You must first file a complaint so that a case can be investigated,’ I was told. The person then hung up. I didn’t sense any compassion in his voice. Not even a ‘sorry for you’. The anger rose even more, but I tried to stay calm. I am impulsive by nature, and that hasn’t always worked in my favor. The next day, I went to the police station, with a lump in my stomach. After telling the whole story, the police explained to me that they did not have enough information to file a complaint. I could only remove a handrail. It was the first time I had done this, so I didn’t insist.
When I left, I immediately called the bailiff’s office to ask them what would happen next. The professional then told me: ‘A handrail is not enough Madam, you need to file a complaint.’ New blow. So I immediately returned to the police station, but it was very complicated. The police refused again. ‘It’s your word against that of a bailiff’s office,’ they told me. In their eyes, in the eyes of the law, I was guilty, without having committed the slightest crime. And they made it clear to me. In these moments, it is difficult to contain your emotions. I quickly became defensive. But having to justify my innocence was unbearable for me. I left the police station, slamming the door.
“I had no way of proving my innocence”
For the second time, I called the bailiff. For him, it was better that I pay. Without complaint, my word was not enough to stop the prosecution. ‘We see people who pretend it’s not them every day, Madam,’ I was told. I had no way to prove my innocence, as if I was in fact guilty, once again. And there, the tone quickly rose. I was so angry that she threatened to file a contempt complaint. It’s still crazy. In the end, the story turned against me. I ended up hanging up.
I didn’t want to stop there, so I wrote a letter of complaint to the firm handling my case. After two weeks of waiting and numerous phone calls, the situation had still not changed. I once thought about hiring a lawyer, but that would have cost time and money. Finally, I realized the obvious: I had to pay these 107 euros. But not because I gave up, I just wanted to get this story over with. Today, this case is closed from a legal point of view, but I still don’t know who is behind it. However, it’s not for lack of trying. After a few months without results, we finally make up our minds.”
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Identity theft: what to do?
Identity theft is the use of personal data to identify you without your consent. Once stolen, this information can be used by thieves to damage your reputation, carry out financial transactions or commit wrongdoing in your name. If you notice identity theft:
- File a complaint against for identity theft at the police station or gendarmerie. To avoid queues, make a pre-complaint online at pre-complaint-en-ligne.gouv.fr.
- Alert about theft the organizations that wrongly pursue you, by registered mail with AR, and recover the elements of the file to defend yourself.
- Contact the National Commission for Information Technology and Liberties (Cnil) to obtain the list of accounts opened in your name and listed in the bank account file.
To help you with your efforts, contact a victim support association (ring finger on directories.justice.gouv.fr), A justice conciliator where the Defender of rights. Get advice from the Info Escroquerie platform (0 805 805 817, free call and service) and the website cybermalveillance.gouv.fr.
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