So, what to do about it? Someone at the collection agency (EOS CCA) told me to file a police report. In what jurisdiction? I asked. I mean, I'm not going to L.A. to file a police report. So the Redwood City Police Department now has a report. Cool; I'm now an official victim of identity theft.
And I've spent some time this evening writing a letter to AT&T, telling them that the charge was fraudulent, and castigating them for their reckless and irresponsible lending policies. At the time of the fraud (last fall), I'd had an AT&T home phone for about 12½ years—for some of those years it was Pacific Bell, or SBC, or something like that but who cares—my residence address (some hundreds of miles away from Winnetka, CA) was unchanged; etc.
I disputed this bogus charge with all three credit rating agencies. I also mailed them a copy of the police report. TransUnion took a few days to remove the bogosity from my credit report; Experian emailed me today saying to take the matter up with the original creditor.
Would it have been cheaper to just pay off AT&T? Well, I don't know if that would have cleaned up my credit score in time; the other thing is, it would encourage AT&T in their reckless and irresponsible lending practices. Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!