AURORA, Colo (CBS4) An Aurora woman is trying to get answers after her mortgage company sent her personal documents to a stranger in Massachusetts.

Penny Dougherty is in the third year of trying to get a modification on her mortgage. She’s upside-down in her house and had lost significant income due to retirement. She wants some relief from the National Mortgage Settlement or a bank modification.

“I want a payment I can afford,” Dougherty told CBS4. “ My payment stands at more than half of my income.”

She says she’s faxed her packet of personal information dozens of times, and Chase Bank keeps asking for more.

“It just went on and on. I can’t remember the times that I faxed everything,” Dougherty said.

Then Dougherty got a call she never expected.

“When he called he told me, ’I don’t want you to think this is a prank, Ms. Dougherty.’,” she said.

The entire payment history for Penny Dougherty’s mortgage was sent to a stranger in Massachusetts. She was contacted by Joe McStowe who told her that he had her payment history including her loan number, full name, address, and phone number. Certainly enough information to steal her identity.

4 On Your Side contacted Chase Bank and it offered this statement about the situation:

“We take the protection of an individual’s information very seriously. We recently learned of an isolated incident where a borrower’s payment history was sent to another customer in error. We immediately retrieved the document and are providing the customer with free credit monitoring for one-year.”

But Chase Bank doesn’t have the document. Penny Dougherty has it. Joe McStowe sent it to her with a letter from Chase asking that the information be returned.

If it hadn’t been for the kindness of a stranger, Penny Dougherty may have been the victim of identity theft and not known it until years later.

Her story serves as a reminder that as good guardians of our personal information, we need to check our credit reports regularly for any suspicious activity. Federal law allows you to get three free credit reports a year. You can do that by going to
RELATED: More Reports By 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks

– Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith


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