ITRC Fact Sheet 100A
More Complex Cases: A supplement to ITRC Fact Sheet 100
This guide covers:
- Someone Working Under Your Name
- Government Benefit Fraud
- IRS Issues
- Debt Collection
- Bankruptcy Issues
- Fraudulent Change of Address
- Student Loans
- DMV Issues
- Property Deeds
- US Savings Bonds
- Domestic Identity Theft
- Medical Identity Theft
- Checking Accounts
In addition to financial identity theft, there is also: criminal, governmental, medical and identity theft. Depending on the severity and complexity of your case there may be varying of difficulty in clearing your record. A stolen credit card is easier to resolve than clearing your name after someone fraudulently used your SSN to work and has filed for bankruptcy under your name. If at any time you need support or additional information, please contact the ITRC at 888-400-5530.
ITRC Fact Sheet 100A will give you a brief description and advice on the more difficult aspects of different types of identity theft. To read about each in more detail, please refer to the links under each category. We suggest you look over our victim assistance fact sheets and/or solutions for any that you may find helpful on other topics.
Someone Working Under Your Name: When someone is working as you, several types of problems may occur, on both the federal and state level. (Please see ITRC Solution 27). The first step is to contact the Social Security Administration and ask for a detailed non-certified copy of your work history. Click hereto download the application. Review the report carefully to see if there is anything suspicious such as work history in a state that you have never lived in.
Government Benefit Fraud: (this can be due to identity theft or simply clerical error)
- Federal Benefit Fraud - This situation can occur due to clerical errors, stolen mail or identity theft. Speak to the duty agent of the Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration. They will initiate an investigation. If you are aware of an older person, or someone who is deceased, having problems due the theft of Social Security benefits, the OIG will assist you. You may also talk with your elder abuse department of the local police department.
- Benefit fraud has been growing in recent years. People believe they are applying for real grants or programs to receive funding and instead have given their information to a scam artist. Visit Benefits.gov to find out more about legitimate government benefits programs and how to identify scams. If you believe you have given your information to a scam artist read ITRC Fact Sheet 123.
- State or County Benefit Fraud - Most of these agencies have a fraud investigation unit. Talk with your case manager for a referral.
- VA Benefits Fraud – Report all fraudulent activity to the Office of Inspector General for the VA
- 1 (800) 488-8244 9am-4pm EST Monday - Friday
- Unemployment – Each state has itsr own procedure for dealing with unemployment fraud. Speak with the unemployment office in question and report you are a victim of identity theft. You may need to submit to them documentation proving your identity such as a state ID or driver’s license. Make sure you include a copy of your police report in your package. Send all documents Certified Mail Return Receipt.
- Some unemployment cases come from the thief obtaining a job using the victims information and they now wish to collect unemployment on that job. Please see ITRC Solution 27
- Welfware/EBT - Each state has its own procedure for dealing with welfare fraud. Speak with the welfare/EBT office in question and report you are a victim of identity theft. You may need to submit to them documentation proving your identity such as a state ID or driver’s license. Make sure you include a copy of your police report in your packet. Send all documents Certified Mail Return Receipt.
- If your benefits debit card is lost or stolen, report it to the welfare office immediatelyif funds are missing from your card. File a police report and report it to the welfare office immediately. If your deposit account is changed at all without your permission, report it to the welfare office immediately and file a police report. Some states will refund some or all of any funds stolen if you report it in a timely manner. Others may not.
- Social Security Benefits – File a police report for the fraudulent activity. Report fraud and identity theft to the Social Security Administration’s hotline at 800-269-0271 between 10am and 4pm EST or call their general line 800-772-1213. You can also fill out their online form at https://www.socialsecurity.gov/fraudreport/oig/public_fraud_reporting/form.htm
- If you suspect that your caregiver, or the person you have placed in charge of your finances is committing fraud, submit a report with the Office of Inspector General https://www.socialsecurity.gov/fraudreport/oig/public_fraud_reporting/form.htm For more information read http://oig.ssa.gov/what-abuse-fraud-and-waste/misuse-benefits-representative-payee
- Child Support – If you receive notice that you owe child support for a child who is not yours, you need to act quickly. File a police report with your local police department. Contact the Child Support Office in question and/or the family court. Inform them you are a victim of identity theft . Insist on a DNA test to prove you are not the biological parent of the child. Submit to them, and any court involved, your police report along with your state ID or driver’s license and any other documentation you can produce. They may ask you to show you are not the parent (medical records, state of residence, etc). Send all documents Certified Mail Return Receipt. You may need to go to court.
IRS issues: (Please see ITRC Solution 27) Some victims find out about an identity theft case when the following issues occur. In all of these situations, the initial step is to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit, toll-free at 800-908-4490.
You also may contact the IRS Taxpayer Advocate if you have an unresolved issue related to identity theft, or you have suffered, or are about to suffer a significant hardship as a result of the administration of the tax laws, i.e. wage garnishment. Visit the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Identity Theft webpage. Additional information is also available on the IRS website.
Examples of IRS issues include:
- Child support payments are deducted from your paycheck (in this case you may need to contact the county or state that is garnishing payments).
- The IRS contacts you about taxes owned due to an additional source of income not reported by you, such as a second job.
- The IRS says that your child’s SSN is already listed as a dependent on another tax return.
Debt Collection: Never pay a bill that you don’t owe. See ITRC Fact Sheet 116 for complete details.
Bankruptcy Issues: All bankruptcies need to be addressed by the Office of the Trustee of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Under federal law, bankruptcies declared by an imposter can be reversed. This is a situation in which you may wish to consult an attorney to make sure the paperwork is filed correctly. For more information read “Fresh Start or False Start - Identity Theft and Bankruptcy Cases” by the Office for U.S. Trustees http://www.justice.gov/ust/eo/public_affairs/articles/docs/idtheftfinal.htm
· If you are planning on filing fbankruptcy yourself, but are experiencing identity theft, make sure you do not include any of the fraudulently opened accounts in your bankruptcy. Including them means you take responsibility for them and they can no longer be considered identity theft. Read ITRC Fact Sheet 100 for instructions on how to clear these accounts.
· If you have already filed for bankruptcy, and have included accounts that are part of your identity theft into your petition for bankruptcy, there is not much that can be done. Including accounts in a bankruptcy means you take full responsibility for them and any debt you may be held responsible for on them in the future. If you know who the thief is you may be able to civilly sue them for the amount owed. Speak to the Office of the Trustee of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Speak to an attorney about your rights.
Fraudulent Change of Address: If you suspect mail theft or mail fraud, contact the U.S. Postal Inspectors (USPIS) at 800-275-8777. When you move, a “change address form” is sent to both the new address and old address. Should you receive a notification and you haven’t moved, this is a warning to contact the USPIS immediately. A contact phone number is provided on the form you receive.
Student Loans: If it appears that someone has applied for and received a student loan in your name without your approval, you need to take action quickly. If you already have proof of a problem, call the U.S. Dept. of Education Inspector General’s Hotline: (800) MIS-USED (800-647-8733). Also, contact the three Credit Reporting Agencies (See ITRC Solution 3) and order copies of all three of your credit reports.
Report any fraudulent activity to the police by filing a police report. A police report will help you to establish your status as a victim and provides you specific rights under state and federal laws.
In some cases, parents apply for student loans under their children’s names and the police mistakenly believe that since the victim benefited from the loan, it is not a crime. That is not true. Any use of your information without your consent is fraud and a crime. If you are unsure of how to proceed due to family issues, contact the ITRC toll-free at 888-400-5530.
DMV issues: When you become aware that someone else may have a driver’s license with your information, you need to speak with the DMV fraud investigator or Department of Public Safety in your state, or in the state where the problem is occurring. This action will start an investigation to determine the real license holder. Should you lose your driver’s license, you will need to go back into your local office and have it replaced. Bring identifying information with you so that they can ensure you are the true licensee and not an imposter.
Property Deeds: Lost/Stolen property deeds should be reported to the County Register’s office. Fraud involving a property deed should be reported to the County Register’s Office in the state where the property is located as well as the victim’s local police department.
US Savings Bonds: If your US Saving’s bond is lost, stolen, or destroyed, you will need to report it to the US Department of Treasury. Form PD P 0107 will guide you through the process. If the bond was stolen, file a police report for the theft.
Identity Theft in Domestic Situations: (Please refer to ITRC Fact Sheets 115 – When you personally know the identity thief and ITRC Fact Sheet 115A if it is a spouse.) Each case is unique. Identity theft in a domestic situation has a varied emotional and financial impact on the victim. This requires the assistance of a specially trained advocate. Please contact the ITRC toll-free at 888-400-5530.
Medical Identity Theft: You might find this has occurred if you receive a bill for medical or pharmacy services, or you have been alerted, via an Explanation of Benefits, from your health insurance company of the use of your health insurance information. Refer to ITRC Fact Sheet 130 and ITRC Fact Sheet 130A for this type of case.
Checking Accounts: Please refer to ITRC Fact Sheet 126, which goes through this issue in detail. You should file a police report in any of the following situations and send a copy of the police report to any creditors affected by the identity theft.
There are several types of checking account issues, including:
- Checking account takeover
- Stolen, washed or duplicated checks (refer to ITRC Solution 21)
- Synthesized checks - With a good computer and printer anyone can put your name on a check and create a bank account number.
- Cashing a stolen or counterfeit check - In this situation, someone asks you to cash a check they write to you or endorse to you. This is most likely a scam.
In some states, a bounced check may eventually result in a warrant for your arrest. You need to clear the account problem with the bank and merchant, and also have that bank or merchant contact law enforcement to drop all charges. You will need to follow-up with the issuer of the warrant (usually the District Attorney’s Office) to be assured that the warrant is withdrawn. Don’t forget to get a “Letter of Clearance” that you will keep permanently.
- Reduce Stress - See ITRC Fact Sheet 108 – Identity Theft – Overcoming the Emotional Impact. Please note that cleaning up the mess may take time. It will not be resolved overnight and you must be mentally prepared to attack your case with the least amount of stress. Find a healthy stress reducing activity and build a support team to help you during this period of your life.
- Federal Trade Commission - https://www.identitytheft.gov/
Their publication is titled Taking Charge. You can get a copy sent to you or you may download it from: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt04.shtm. You may also call them at 877-IDTHEFT (877-438-4338). Additional information is available on their website: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft