ITRC Fact Sheet 100A – More Complex Cases
A supplement to ITRC Fact Sheet 100
This guide covers:
- Checking Accounts
- Someone Working as You
- Government Benefit Fraud
- IRS Issues
- Debt Collection
- Bankruptcy Issues
- Fraudulent Change of Address
- Student Loans
- DMV Issues
- Domestic Identity Theft
- Medical Identity Theft
In addition to financial identity there, there is also: criminal, governmental, medical and identity assumption. Depending on the severity and complexity of your case there may be varying degrees in the difficulty of clearing your record. Clearly a stolen credit card is easier to take care of then someone who is using your SSN to work and has filed a bankruptcy with 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 take you through the more difficult financial aspects of various types of identity theft cases. We suggest you look over our victim assistance fact sheets and/or solutions for any that you may find helpful on other topics.
1. Checking Accounts: Please refer to ITRC Fact Sheet 126, which goes through the problem in detail. You should file a police report with any of the following situations and contact the affected merchants. Please note: There is a new federal program called Check 21 that regulates financial institutions and check fraud called.
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 generate 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with the issuer of the warrant (usually the District Attorney or States Attorney) to be assured that the warrant is withdrawn. Don’t forget to get a “Letter of Clearance” that you will keep permanently.
2. Someone working as you: 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 here to download the application) Check it over carefully to see if it is correct.
3. Government Benefit Fraud: (this may be due to identity theft or simply clerical error)
- Federal benefit problems - 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.
- State or county benefit programs - Most of these agencies have a fraud investigation unit. Talk with your case manager for a referral.
4. 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) www.taxtoolkit.irs.gov/identity_theft.cfm. 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.
5. Debt Collection: Never pay a bill that you don’t owe. See ITRC Fact Sheet 116 for complete details.
6. Bankruptcy issues: All bankruptcies need to be addressed by the Office of the Trustee of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Under the new 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.
7. 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.
8. 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 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. These reports will be free, since you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft.
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.
Unfortunately some parents (family identity theft) do this and the police mistakenly say 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
- 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 - Their publication is titled Take 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
- www.identitytheft.org Source of a resource book and video written by an attorney and identity theft expert, Mari Frank. Please remember to indicate that the Identity Theft Resource Center referred you. It is full of letter forms, good advice and inspiration.
This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to ITRC@idtheftcenter.org .
Copyright September 2009, Identity Theft Resource Center®, all rights reserved.
Created by the ITRC.