Recently Robert Guenterberg
went in to refinance his land and the bank reported that his credit had dropped 200 points in the past two weeks. Why? Well he had been foreclosed upon in Addison, Illinois a few weeks back it turns out - a place he doesn't live and a place he doesn't own property.
Over the years Bob had been denied home loans, vehicle loans and other credit loans and he never knew why, until just a few years ago when they received a call from a collection agency.
This recent refinance is not the first time the Guenterbergs have had to deal with identity theft and Bob's wife Debra sent me the letter below which shows it probably won't be the last time. Debra Guenterberg's husband Bob had his identity stolen by two Hispanic males, which they have used for over 10 years, more than 8 of those without the Guenterbergs knowing. Enrique Jimenez bought a house using Bob's Social Security number and obtained jobs throughout Illinois with it. Cornelio Suarez also bought a house and is the one who was recently foreclosed upon in Addison. A warrant has been issued for his arrest - though he hasn't been found yet.
While it is not known whether Suarez or Jimenez are illegal aliens, evidence points in that direction as it is believed that the two initially used the Social Security number to obtain employment. We do know however that identity theft on a vast scale is being used by illegal aliens in this country. Bob is just one of the many American victims of identity theft and our government is doing little to correct the rampant identity fraud that is occurring in this country.
Debra is a courageous woman who has gone to extraordinary lengths and spent over 1200 hours just in the past 2 years - all uncompensated of course - to try and repair all the damage done to their finances and lives. Debra sent me this letter on her battle:
My husband's SSN has been being used by 2 male Hispanics for over 10 years.
... if someone uses their own name but your SSN to work, the IRS and SSA tell employers on their web-sites that they cannot terminate or take any action against an employee for failing to provide the employer with a valid SSN. So the employer knows that the employee is not using a "valid" SSN ... The SSN identity theft then takes this along with their fraudulent driver's license, opens up a checking and savings with their name but YOUR SSN. Then the thief gets a credit card with their name with YOUR SSN. Then the thief gets a home loan with their name and YOUR SSN.
Lenders do not authenticate that the SSN really belongs to the identity thief. They rely solely on the credit reporting agencies.
The identity thief has established their own credit report using their name but YOUR SSN. Any loans or credit they have obtained with YOUR SSN will not show up on YOUR credit reports [It won't show up when you look, but it does affect your credit as you'll see below -Digger]. The credit bureaus allow this SSN identity theft as they make more money on YOUR SSN. The FTC knows the credit bureaus are doing this and since the credit obtained using YOUR SSN but in the identity thieves name does not appear on YOUR credit reports the FCRA [Fair Credit Reporting Act] only covers YOUR credit report.
Neither the IRS or the SSA will tell you that they know that someone is working with YOUR SSN because they claim that Federal Law prevents them. They claim that under IRS code 6103 and the Privacy Law they are prevented from doing so. I totally disagree and actually believe that these federal laws actually allow the IRS and SSA to let you know that SSN identity fraud of YOUR SSN has occurred.
These federal agencies send letters to the employers and to the identity thieves letting them know that the name/ssn is a "no-match". Ummm-no wonder we as taxpayers had to bail-out these lenders and creditors.
By the way, the men who used my husband's SSN may not even be American citizens. Law enforcement tells us that they just want the "AMERICAN DREAM"! Contact your legislators and good luck as most of them will send you back to law enforcement (who laugh) and tell you to report the fraud to the 3 major credit bureaus (this is where I laugh).
- Debra Guenterberg
It's a political game that is being played that is impacting all Americans directly because it puts every American - even our children and grandchildren - at risk. There have been numerous cases over the years of kids going to get their first jobs or college loans and finding out that they have destroyed credit even though they've never used it.
One thing that Debra doesn't mention in her letter above, but she does in the video below, is that SSN's are used on so many documents that you may one day wake up to find out that your credit score is not the only thing affected, but that Social Services is sending you a notice that you owe child support for some stranger's kids.
Debra recently did an interview with George Curtis on the It's Your Law program detailing the incompetence, lack of concern and barriers that exist in our government for the victims of identity theft. Curtis described identity theft as a "national disease".
Take a few moments and watch Debra below and hear the struggles that she has gone through. While the interview doesn't express the true frustration and effects on their home lives, that I'm sure you can imagine occurring, it gives you a glimpse into what an identity theft victim has gone through.
For more on the Guenterberg's struggle - and identity theft in general - see this June 2008 article from the Journal Sentinel
Sources: JS WCCC