Cobb County

Metro Atlanta woman tipped off to identity theft after checking credit report

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — It was an alert on her credit report that tipped a metro Atlanta woman off to a case of identity theft.

Sheila Pugh is careful about her spending and keeps a close watch on her credit rating.

“I would check my credit every 6 months or quarter,” Pugh told Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray.

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Pugh reached out to Gray after getting nowhere trying to convince credit bureaus Equifax and TransUnion that a more than $16,000 unpaid rental bill did not belong to her.

Invitation Homes is a rental giant nationwide with thousands of rental homes here in metro Atlanta alone.

Pugh had never heard of it before until she reached out to the debt collector about that notation on her credit report.

The debt collector provided her pages and pages of unpaid bills for 2020 and 2021 for a McDonough, Georgia home rented out to her, Sheila Pugh.

The problem was, she never rented the house.

“Never lived in McDonough. I don’t know anybody in McDonough. I own my own home in Powder Springs. I’ve lived there five years so I have no reason to rent a home in McDonough,” Pugh said.

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Pugh has filed a police report and reached out to the credit bureaus, the debt collector, and Invitation Homes trying to explain that this is a clear case of identity fraud.

So far, the outstanding debt remains in her name and her credit score is down more than 100 points.

“Now it looks like I am responsible for something that is not me,” Pugh said.

An Equifax spokesperson says it investigates when someone files a dispute.

Equifax suggests that identity theft victims freeze their credit.

Pugh says she did both of those things.

She says Equifax still maintains the debt belongs to her.

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