branchpoint wrote:I authorized someone I thought was a friend to use my credit card to pay her utility bill one time in an emergency. She understood that and agreed never to use it again.
Seven months later she started using it at some of the same places she knew I shopped, without my knowledge or authorization.
I noticed nothing at first, but later after checking through my receipts, which she knew I habitually do only every few months, I discovered a total of over $10,000 in fraudulent charges.
Now the police tell me they can't go after her because authorizing her once created the presumption she could use it indefinitely, no matter what we had agreed or how ridiculous the situation became.
Is this actually true? It's crazy and unfair if it is. It means you can't ever let anyone else use your credit card number without incurring liability for whatever they might decide to do in the future. This makes no sense and is something I think would not occur to many of us.
This would be the same as if you took your credit card to a merchant and authorized a purchase for $9. The merchant does not maintain the right to charge you that $9 and then turn around and charge you over and over.
Call your police department back, ask for a supervisor to be sent and file an internal affairs complaint demanding the retraining of the officers who falsely advised you. Advise the law enforcement officer/supervisor that you will take legal action against the department if they fail to act and protect you from such harm.
Second, swear out charges (some states allow you to do this directly, others require you petition the state's attorney/prosecutor for your district/locale) against said friend. Specifically you want a single charge for each individual purchase.
Review the following state statutes for applicability in each instance:
Next, contact your state Attorney General's consumer affairs division for information regarding a possible identity theft passport or repair kit (names vary state to state).
If the state refuses to press any charge on your friend then you need to call Matthew Kirsch with the US Attorney District of Colorado Criminal Division. Mr Kirsch is the economic crimes chief.
You explain your situation to him and ask him to contact the US Secret Service and FBI on your behalf. They'll contact you to either come in to the field office or send an agent out to you. Be sure to tell him nothing but the facts, and do not attempt to liven up your story at all. Doing so places you at risk for prosecution under 18 USC 1001 (false statements), something you obviously do not want or need.
Lastly, you can sue her in civil court for damages (and any costs incurred), this is not a small claims case so of course contact an attorney concerning this matter.
Good luck, below are phone numbers/websites which may be of use.Find-A-Lawyer, Colorado Bar Association
(Colorado Bar, this will assist in obtaining representation in a civil matter)
FBI - (303) 629-7171
US Secret Service - (303) 866-1010
Agent Ralph Gagliardi (Colorado Bureau of Investigation) - 303-239-4287
- Agent Gaglirardi runs the Identity Theft Unit at CBI (Per Lexis, may have changed recently)
US Attorney District of Colorado (303) 454-0100