Little did he know the damage had already been done in Australia, with scammers getting hold of crucial details like his date of birth, home address and his driver’s licence number. He suspects mail was stolen out of his old home and his identity was farmed on the dark web. “My pleas have fallen on deaf ears and there’s no end in sight,” Seth told news.com.au. Even though he was targeted twice by scammers way back in 2019, he is still feeling the after-effects, with Australian debt collectors chasing him up as recently as earlier this month, on April 13.
When a Melbourne man discovered a $700 loan he didn’t take out, he was taken aback, but when the bill arrived, he realised something was badly wrong. After his identity was stolen three years ago, a Melbourne man has been living a nightmare. More than $7000 in debt has been racked up in his name, his credit rating has plummeted, and debt collectors have been “harassing” him for months at a time as a result of the fraud. In 2018, Seth* relocated to Hong Kong to begin a new life and a fantastic new job.
Stream more finance news live & on demand with Flash. 25+ news channels in 1 place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends 31 October, 2022 > This was the unwelcome email that appeared in Seth’s inbox nearly three years after his identity was stolen. His Victorian driver’s licence had also expired by then, and he still has the old licence in his possession, making him wonder how Optus allowed the purchase and delivery to go through in the first place.
This makes him suspect that the scammer had his licence number but not a photo of his actual licence, which had stopped them from forging his signature. Optus honoured the unsigned contract and still delivered the state-of-the art iPhone. Despite pointing this out, as well as supplying proof he had been in Hong Kong when the iPhone delivery was made and also explaining how his identity had been compromised in the past, Panthera were adamant that Seth pay back the money.
The total cost of the phone was $3499 but then interest on the debt ballooned out to be $6300. Optus then got fed up chasing him on the missing payments so sold the debt on to Panthera Finance, a third party debt purchaser. In September last year, Panthera contacted him about the debt – which was the first time he’d heard of it. Every month since then, they have been asking him to pay back the money and it’s taking a toll. “The stress and harassment is the most annoying part,” he said. “They haven’t touched my credit rating but I do imagine if they don’t stop, it’s eventually going to go to my credit rating.”