Contact 2: A case of identity theft we can all learn from

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Bill Goodbread knew something was wrong the moment a piece of suspicious mail from Wells Fargo arrived at his home. What he received led him to Contact 2. He thought he was a victim of Wells Fargo’s phony account scandal.

In September 2016, Wells Fargo was fined $185 million after investigators found thousands of bank workers improperly used customer information to open unauthorized accounts.

“My assumption was some aggressive, young salesperson had pulled my name off of some list, and opened these four new accounts,” Goodbread said.

Bill’s fears of being a fraud victim were confirmed, but not how he thought it happened. You see, Bill had his identity stolen once before. To prevent it from happening again, he froze his credit with one of the big three credit bureaus.

“I thought we were covered, that our credit was protected. I thought there was no way somebody could hack our account and set up new accounts. I found out that wasn’t the case. You have to treat all three credit bureaus separately," Goodbread said.

By not freezing his credit with all three credit bureaus, Bill left himself vulnerable. Sure, enough his stolen identity was used to open the Wells Fargo accounts. When Bill couldn’t get anywhere with the bank, Contact 2 got involved.

“I said I wanted to make consumers out there aware of what’s going on. Two, I wanted an apology,” he said.

Goodbread got that and more. Even though he’s not a Wells Fargo customer, the bank is generously footing the bill for a year of identity theft protection services.

“I absolutely think Channel 2 was helpful in exposing this consumer fraud to the public," Goodbread said.

Bill’s story provides an important lesson for all of us about identity theft and credit freezes. Check out Mike Colombo's Facebook page for more information on both topics.