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Falsely Accused by Hertz Car Rental

Hertz — the car rental — company has been in the news the last several months for having people falsely arrested. You can see a few stories here:

Why Are Hertz Customers Getting Stopped–or Even Jailed–for Driving ‘Stolen’ Cars? | Inc.com

Furious Customers Are Suing Hertz for $529.7 Million. Here’s the Lesson Every CEO Should Learn | Inc.com

A Hertz Lawyer Just Said 6 Words the Company Should Hope Its Customers Never Hear | Inc.com

Hertz Files 3,365 Stolen Car Reports Every Year on Customers Who Rented Its Cars | Inc.com

At least two people have discovered that you didn’t even have to rent a car from Hertz to be falsely accused. The Colorado man in the story linked below never rented from Hertz and was never in Georgia, contrary to what Hertz swore for an arrest warrant.

Colorado man says Hertz had him arrested for stealing a car, despite never renting from the company – CBS News

The other case is my own. Hertz falsely accused me of chasing a Hertz employee with a screw driver on November 1, 2021. Click on the image below to enlarge the false accusation from Hertz.

It is, of course, shocking to open up your mail and be falsely accused.

I promptly did my own investigation of my where-abouts on November 1, 2021. Based on emails I sent, store receipts, home video surveillance footage, and Google Android Timeline, I KNOW I was nowhere near any Hertz property that day. The last time I rented a car from Hertz was about four years previous. And, I’ve never, ever, in my life, chased anyone at any time or location with a screw driver.

I engaged an attorney to let Hertz know that I would sue Mr. Ryan individually and Hertz as a corporation if they persisted in these false allegations.

Emails were exchanged between Hertz lawyer Adam Schloss and my attorney. After Mr. Schloss was told Hertz had made a mistake, Mr. Schloss still maintained I was the perpetrator:

“Perhaps your client isn’t telling you the whole story. But regardless, if your client ever threatens a Hertz employee again, damages corporate property, or comes onto Hertz property, he can explain it to law enforcement who are already well aware of the incident. 

Adam Schloss

Assistant General Counsel”

With that email was attached a photo of the perpetrator with a screw driver. The picture was taken by a Hertz employee. The picture clearly shows someone else — not me — with the screw driver. Everyone who has seen this picture immediately recognizes the person in the photo as NOT me.

My attorney also did a public disclosure request to Seattle Police Department regarding this incident. The police report clearly and confidently identifies a different person: different name, different vehicle, different license plate number.

The false accusation against me clearly illustrates complete disregard by Hertz to verify facts before zipping off an accusation. Mr. Ryan — a former police officer — apparently never bothered or concerned himself to read the police report. Mr Ryan’s sloppiness in producing an accusatory letter against me reflects a serious problem Hertz has in dealing with customers and even non-customers.

Here’s Mr. Ryan’s information from LinkedIn on February 8, 2022.

Nearly three months after Mr. Ryan’s false accusation was brought to the attention of Hertz headquarters, there has not been any acknowledgement of a mistake nor an apology.

I guess Hertz Ethics 101 is to never admit a mistake and keep being sloppy at the expense of innocent victims.

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MyIR Immunization Non-Service

MyIR is an immunization record-keeping service. MyIR is owned by STChealth, formerly Scientific Technologies Corporation. Several US States have contracted with MyIR. One of them is Washington State.

In October 2021 I tried to signup with MyIR. I could not get signed up because the verification SMS never arrived. I reported this problem on October 29, 2021.

A got a response from MyIR on January 5, 2022 — 2+ months — 68 days — later. Here’s the response:

From: myir_wa@scientifictechnologiescorporation.zohosupport.com
To:
bruce@xxxx.ddd

Wed, Jan 5 at 6:15 PM

Hello Bruce,

Thank you for contacting MyIR support. We apologize for the delay in getting back to you. Since it has been some time since your request, do you still need assistance with MyIR? Thank you for letting us know and we will do our best to assist you.

Thank you,

Cyndi
MyIR Desk Support

—- On Fri, 29 Oct 2021 08:19:53 -0700 “bender”bender@notify.botco.ai wrote —-
first_name: bruce miller
email: bruce@xxxx.ddd
feedback_state: Washington
feedback: Never got verification code via sms. I get sms messages at my number from friends.
agentName: MyIR
formName: feedback_form
platformId: 3e004353-497a-432b-b17e-6fdc23917879
lastUpdate: 2021-10-29T15:10:06
pageUrl: https://myirmobile.com/help/

Seriously, 68 days to get a response to a trouble ticket? If this is not evidence plain as day that this is a worthless corporation, I don’t know what is.

Washington State leaders should be ashamed for entering into a business relationship with STChealth for MyIR.

Because I could never get signed up I frankly forgot about MyIR until the super-late email from support arrived. And now I will consciously not interact with an organization that puts patient health last.

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Washington DOL victimizes ESD breach victims

On February 1, 2021, Washington State Auditor Pat McCarthy announced that personal information of about 1.4 million people in the Employment Security Department system had been snagged by unknown persons. The data breach was not from the ESD system. Rather, the Auditor’s office was transferring the data through a file transfer service provided by Accellion, a foreign-owned corporation based in California. The Auditor’s office (recklessly) did not first encrypt the data, which would have made any breach no big deal. The Auditor’s office was transferring this data as part of a fraud audit. The fraud audit has now greatly increased the potential for fraud against 1.4 million people.

The Auditor reported in a Legal Notice the following data had been exposed:

“These ESD data files contained unemployment compensation claim information including the person’s name, social security number and/or driver’s license or state identification number, date of birth, bank account number and bank routing number, and place of employment.”

Two steps an ESD victim can take are to 1) replace the WA State driver’s license (or ID card) number and 2) change bank account number.

Based on information as of February 11, 2021, changing the license number does not cost, but to get a license with the new number does incur a charge. More on how DOL victimizes the victims below.

Changing DOL number for Driver’s License or ID Card

The Department of Licensing is giving out confusing, if not contradictory, information about changing the DOL number on driver licenses and ID cards. For example, DOL spokesperson Christine Anthony said:

” We’re not certain at this time [February 9, 2021]if information from our agency [DOL] was part of the data breach. “

However, the Auditor’s Legal notice of February 1, 2021 included this:

“These ESD data files contained unemployment compensation claim information including the person’s name, social security number and/or driver’s license or state identification number, date of birth, bank account number and bank routing number, and place of employment.”

Some DOL telephone representatives are saying the license number can be changed and some are saying the license number cannot be changed.

One victim did get a new drivers license number without charge, but was then told to purchase a replacement to get the physical driver license card.

Customer Service Specialist Rachael Houskeeper reports that “We are currently assisting customers in changing their license numbers (including ones that start with WDL) due to the ESD breech and you do need to purchase that replacement.”

Spokesperson Christine Anthony says “We simply do not have the ability to waive required fees for replacement licenses” after a new number is issued for the license.

Apparently the inability refers to State law RCW 46.20.200 that sets the replacement rates.

The Department of Licensing has repeatedly informed this writer that replacement would be $20.

The $20 charge — in the opinion of this writer — violates RCW 46.20.200(2).

RCW 46.20.200(1) applies to “lost or destroyed” and “duplicate”. Lost
or destroyed is not the same as valid, but exposed through breach
while in State custody. A change in DL number means it cannot be a
duplicate, therefore (1) does not apply.

Paragraph (2) says “or correct material information”. Change of driver license number could be considered a correction of material information. In any case (1) does not apply and (2) sets a fee of $10, not $20.

The Governor should make a proclamation to waive the fee for victims. Or. the State Auditor should reimburse the cost of replacement. [The State Auditor was asked if reimbursement will be provided. No response as of February 12, 2021.] Or, the elected representatives to Olympia should pass a law to help the victims.

Aside from any inaction by elected leaders, why is DOL insisting the charge must be $20? More money! Further victimize the victim.

As of this writing [February 11, 2021], DOL has NOT put up a web page to clarify the process or the fees to get a new license number and replacement card for the victims of the data breach. The Washington State Auditor has only provided generic suggestions. This author agrees with the author of the editorial titled “Analysis: Washington state’s response to data breach affecting 1.4M people is stunningly callous“.

Putting up a web page would certainly reflect the seriousness of the breach, streamline the process, and getting everyone on the same page.

Senator Jim Honeyford said on February 12, 2021:

“1.  I proposed in Ways and Means that we should be helping the victims to at least be able to check for fraud.  I didn’t receive any support and am exploring to put that into a bill.
2.  I support issuing new DOL numbers.
3. I  would support a [DOL] web page with helpful information on how to deal with the impacts of this breach.”

For those who want to proceed, here’s the procedure one person used to obtain a new driver license number number WITHOUT COST. However, per comments above, DOL is charging for the actual license [as of February 11, 2021] that would show the new number.

Visit this page first:

https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/replacelostlicense.html

Make sure you do NOT have any restrictions.

Call the DOL customer service number: 360.902.3900, then this sequence to get to a person:

1 for english

2 to replace

1 replace

0 for customer service person

last four of SS# and data of birth

press 1

enter last 4

8 digit date of birth

12345678

stay on the line

Explain that you are victim of the breach of ESD data in the custody of the Washington State Auditor and that you want a new license or ID number.

Changing Bank Account

These instructions are for direct deposit, which is most common.

General tip on direct deposit. One claimant had the foresight to use a bank and bank account number that was used for nothing other than direct deposit of ESD payments. Once payment arrived, the claimant did a transfer to another bank. Because of this foresight, the damage from any breach was already limited because isolation from the other bank used for the day-to-day activities.

Work with your bank or credit union to create a new account so you have a new account number. Once you have the new account number, you need to update the ESD system.

Log into the ESD system and click on settings in the upper right.

Then look for and click on “Update payment information”

Click on Direct Deposit.

Click on Yes for “I am granting the Unemployment Insurance Agency permission to credit my account.”

Then enter your name (as it appears with the bank)

Choose bank account type

Add the routing number

Enter name of the bank (if not auto-populated)

Enter the account number

Enter the account number again in the confirmation field.