7 On Your Side

Berkeley woman finds out why she can't sign up for Comcast

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A young Berkeley woman was told by Comcast she couldn't sign up for cable service because she already owed them too much money. That got her attention since she's never done business with Comcast. So she called 7 On Your Side for help.

Comcast records showed that not only had Marjorie Blaskower opened accounts with Comcast, she never paid for those accounts. It took a while to straighten out, but the cable provider finally did.

Blaskower enjoys watching her Comcast cable service. The account isn't under her name. It's her boyfriend's account. Comcast won't allow any accounts to be opened under her name.

"They finally put like a cease and desist on my social security number so nothing else can be opened through them," said Blaskower.

To understand that, you have to rewind back to August 2012 -- that's when the first account was opened by someone using her social security number. Then apparently a few more were opened after that.

"I know that two addresses in Oakland were used and the first time I talked to Comcast they said that accounts had been opened in Dublin and Pleasanton and Berkeley and kind of all over the East Bay," said Blaskower.

Marjorie says none of those accounts were actually opened by her. Unbeknownst to her, someone had gotten hold of her social security number.

"I used one of those identity theft protection programs and found my name spelled Margaret, then Margie with a G and different ways," said Blaskower.

And because those names were spelled differently, the accounts apparently were not tied together or at least they weren't until the real Blaskower tried to open an account.

"They told me I could not open the account unless I paid the amount of money that was due," said Blaskower.

She called Comcast to report those other accounts were not hers.

"They were still requesting me to pay it and they even reported the debt to a collection agency two days after I told them that they were fraud," said Blaskower.

She says she was told in all 15 accounts were opened using her social security number and that she owed $1,500. Comcast disputes that many accounts were actually opened, but declined to state a number.

"I got really nervous and scared. I had heard things happening with debt collection agencies that follow you for the rest of your life," said Blaskower.

She contacted 7 On Your Side. Comcast investigated further and realized what had happened. Comcast e-mailed a statement telling us: "We're very sorry this happened to Ms. Blaskower. Once we learned about this, we quickly worked to remove the accounts from collections and to take steps to prevent this type of situation from happening again."

"Thank you 7 On Your Side because I don't think this would have been resolved if they hadn't intervened," said Blaskower.

Comcast tells us it's common for people to have more than one account since some of them open accounts for children, or at vacation homes. But new systems are now in place it thinks will prevent further fraud from occurring.

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Tags:
comcast, identity theft, berkeley, oakland, 7 on your side, michael finney
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