Verizon Fios Sales Representative Fraudulently Ran A Credit Check Without My Authorization

Yesterday I called the Verizon Fios sales department to sign up for new service. The sales representative (whose name I did not get) kept pushing me for personal information before he could give me pricing on service options. Once I finally received a quote for a plan I was interested in, I decided to go ahead and sign up. When he asked for my social security number, I told him that I wasn’t interested in a “hard pull” of my credit report. A hard pull of a credit report is a formal credit check which stays on your credit report for 2 years and lowers your credit score if you have more than 2 inquiries within 2 years. I told him that I wouldn’t mind paying a deposit as long as a credit check wasn’t made. He assured me that there will be no “hard pull” on my credit report and that it wouldn’t even show up. I still refused to give my social security number and insisted that I would pay the deposit. He finally gave in and informed me that he will not perform a credit check or even ask for my social security number. He said that he still has to verify my identity in order to set up service. He asked for my name and date of birth, and proceeded to ask me a few questions related to previous addresses that I resided at. When he was finished asking me questions he stated that my identity has been verified and he proceeded to complete the order. While he was finishing up the order, I checked my credit report online ( I have credit monitoring subscriptions with Equifax, Transunion and Experian) and found a hard credit inquiry on Equifax from:


I immediately informed the sales representative that he had just pulled my credit report and my credit score dropped 3 points. He was flustered at first and tried to assure me that it was just an identity verification. Perhaps he didn’t think I would realize my credit was pulled until days later when it wasn’t his problem anymore and he already made the sale. I suggested that either he wasn’t properly trained on what “identity verification” really was, or he outright committed fraud in order to make a sale. He tried to reason with me that his calls are recorded and that he has a child to take care of, so he wouldn’t do such a thing. I was upset but I figured since the damage was done and I have excellent credit anyway, maybe he can make it up to me by waiving my activation fee or something. He said he couldn’t do anything on his end but after he was done setting up the service he will transfer me to a manager that can help me. After he was finished he transferred me…to the general Verizon 800 number! I navigated the help menu and was finally connected with another sales representative named Ryan {edited for privacy}I explained to him what had just happened and he tried to pull up my order number to see what he could do for me. He said my order was on a “shadow hold” and wasn’t fully completed yet so he couldn’t access it or try to help me out. Instead he took down my phone number and promised to call me tonight at 8pm(which never happened). I haven’t even started receiving services yet and I am already having issues with Verizon Fios.  I have been a CFE for many years and investigated enough fraud cases to know when something doesn’t seem right. The sales representative knew I didn’t want a credit check performed and did so anyway without consent. This represents either malfeasance or at least misfeasance of 15 U.S.C. § 1681 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I discussed the situation with a colleague of mine at the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Inspector General (FTC OIG) and came up with an investigative methodology to determine if this issue is isolated to a few bad sales reps or a systemic problem across Verizon. Assuming Verizon doesn’t answer a subpoena to give up data on credit inquiries done without social security numbers, the FTC can easily go to a neutral third party (i.e. Equifax) for the information. A data analysis can be done singling out credit checks done from Verizon East without the use of social security numbers. Then the FTC can contact a random sample of Verizon applicants to see if they felt they received proper disclosure from the sales rep that they were about to perform a credit check; or were they simply told it was an “identity verification”. I would guess that many customers weren’t properly warned of the impending credit check and many simply decided not to complain since it wouldn’t result in the inquiry being taken off. If the issue is widespread, it could indicate an aggressive sales training program where Verizon teaches salespeople how to word a credit check in a way that seems more agreeable to the customer (e.g. “identity verification”).

I was pretty upset when this happened yesterday, but Ryan {edited for privacy} said he would call me tonight to discuss it and make it right. Since it seems that even nice representatives are trained to say anything to get customers off the phone; I feel an obligation to pursue this further. Luckily, as a fraud investigator for a government agency, I have the professional network and resources to pursue this case with the minimum amount of time and effort. It would be appreciated if someone from Verizon legal contacted me soon.

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