Mystery package causes headaches for Livermore couple

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip via KGO logo
Monday, December 2, 2019
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Couple sent to collections for a loan they didn't take out, for a package they didn't order.

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area couple received a collection notice demanding payments for a loan they knew nothing about. It all started with a mysterious shipment to the Livermore family's home. 7 On Your Side unraveled the puzzle from there.

David and Nalinda Fokes didn't know what was about to hit them.

It began when they received this unexpected package in April at their front door.

"I was really really surprised. It was a laptop computer," said David.

David considers himself computer illiterate and says he would not have ordered it. "I know I didn't order it. That's the truth. Okay. I didn't order the damn thing."

The couple said they tried unsuccessfully to contact the shipper, Simply Mac.

But after a debt collector demanded payment seven months later, they reached out to 7 On Your Side.

We would later learn the computer had been bought online from Simply Mac. Fraud investigators there told 7 On Your Side someone ordered the computer from an IP address 300 miles away from the couple's home.

The folks at Simply Mac suspect fraud, and says it's probable someone stole the couple's identity. They think that same information was used to obtain a loan from a third party lender the company works with, Affirm.

Nalinda recalls the conversation her husband had over the phone. "This is the collection agency and we want you to pay $3,336.70."

Her husband refused, so he continued to receive calls from the debt collectors three times a week. That's when Nalinda decided to call 7 On Your Side.

We called Affirm, the loan company. It investigated and sent a letter to the couple, concluding someone fraudulently obtained the loan in the Fokes' name.

The San Francisco-based company told 7 On Your Side it determined that the Fokes' information was used by a third party to open an Affirm account: "Upon receipt of their claim, Affirm took immediate action to resolve the matter."

David and Nalinda are appreciative of the help everyone gave them.

"I was happy. I'm glad I called 7 On Your Side," said Nalinda

"I'm so touched by that. I'm just John Doe here," David said.

You may be wondering why someone would steal David's identity and use it to send him a computer. Simply Mac says its possible porch thieves were planning to intercept that computer, but they were foiled because the Fokes were home when the computer was delivered. By the way, the Fokes are being allowed to keep the computer for their troubles. David plans to take computer lessons.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.