Thursday, August 22, 2013

Two Thursdays Ago

Two Thursdays ago I went on a mission to recover my identity.  It was stolen in Chicago three years ago and this was my first trip back to the Windy City.

I had a physical address on the south side of Chicago - to an apartment that opened up a Comcast account under my name, and ran up a $1200 tab that eventually sent a collections agency after me.

I had to prove I've never lived in Chicago, which was actually more tricky than you'd think.  They requested utility bills from my homes in NYC and California.  But since I lived in student housing in both locations, I had zero utility bills to show proof of my Illinois-free existence.  Thankfully they cleared my record with a couple of paychecks and my moving company bill.

Still, even after setting things straight with Comcast and the collections agency, it's on my permanent record that I once lived at 4330 S. Forrestville Ave. Apt. 2, Chicago, IL 60653 even though I didn't.

Far Left, 4330 S. Forrestville Ave. Chicago, IL 60653
Since I had never lived there, I wanted to find out who had - preferably, without getting shot.  The home is between East 43rd and 44th streets.  Although the street looks nice, my friend Will later told me that even as a big, brown, Mexican dude, he won't go near the area.

But since he post warned me, rather than fore warned me, Friday, around 3, I dropped by the street to see if I might find answers to who had lived in the apartment when the Comcast account had opened.

After identifying the house, I circled the blocked and parked further down the street.  I snapped a few photos, and deliberated what to do.  With the mail lady walking door to door, the street seemed safe enough for me to exit my vehicle, so I did.

I went up to the mail lady, hoping she might somehow be able to help me out.  But legally, she couldn't.  But since she was walking up and down the street, I decided to knock on the door, thinking I'd be greeted by someone who was from apartment 1 - not the apt 2, listed on my Comcast bill. 

(* I hoped to obtain the name and phone number of the landlord from one of the other apartments, and then later on follow up the landlord to find out who was on the lease at the time the Comcast account opened up.)

I didn’t have much of a conversation game plan when I knocked.  But I did think to not say I was Katrina.  Instead, I introduced myself to the twenty-something girl who answered, by saying, “Hi. I’m Kate.” (I trusted that with my glasses on, I wouldn’t be recognized as the same girl from my California License that I’d imagined was clipped to the refrigerator in apt 2.)
I explained that I was trying to get ahold of someone who lived in the building a few years ago.  “Is this apartment 2?”  The girl informed me it wasn't an apartment building and that the entire place was one unit.  I stumbled through the remainder of our conversation. When I asked how long she had live in the home, the girl claimed it was her sister's place, and she didn't really know.

I left a note with my name - Kate - and cell phone number.  And ask the girl to have her sister give me a call. 

The mail lady was still going up and down the street.  I noticed another lady, probably in her mid-forties, was helping an old man move a few boxes into his vehicle.  From a distance, I could hear them laughing.  They seemed friendly enough to drop by for a chat, so I walked their direction and asked, "By chance, have you lived on this street for a while?"
The woman answered, "Yep. 6 years."
"Do you happen to know who lives in that home on the far end?"  I pointed. 

I explained I was trying to get in touch with someone who lived their a few years ago, and was wondering if the same person still resides there.

"Nawh, I just know the guy who lives next door to that place."

"Oh, would happen to have his number?"

"Sorry.  No, I don't."  She shook her head.

"Oh, well, would you mind passing on my name (Kate) and number on to him?"

"Sure.  I could do that."  She agreed.

Awesome, I thought, as I scribbled out my undercover name and cell phone number on a piece of paper and handed it to the nice lady.  I thought for sure, with 2 leads, I'd have the name of the man who thefted my identity by the end of the weekend.

But no such luck.  Neither party called, and I still don't know who opened a Comcast account under my name in Chicago.

But I do believe real estate records are public - somewhere - so someday, I will find the name of this individual who not only likes to watch cable, but also messed with my paypal account, and tried to change my last name with my cell phone company.

No comments: