At 67 I decided to at least determine what’s up wid dat?
The SSA site is optimistic: “Millions of folks just like you have opened a quick and easy “my-social-security” account. Here’s the link:”
Ok, I carefully did as told. The initial page asks for SSN, name, address, phone number, in order to proceed to page two, the ‘challenge-question phase. The object is to verify that you are the person you claim to be, by asking ‘questions only you should know’ in their words.
Now, look at this screen-shot of my questions and tell me frankly: If you had no current mortgage, no recent bank card, no retail-store card, and had never lived on(or heard of) the streets mentioned what would YOU have answered, except for what I did.. ‘None of the above’, right?
And so, as I feared, SSA responded by telling me “We are unable to verify your identity. Please try again after 24 hours.”
I spent the waiting period finding out on the net that SSA uses Experian, one of the three authorized credit agencies (Experian, Equifax, and Tras-Union) to formulate their challenge questions. Hmm.. something is up.
Remembering that a US citizen is entitled to free annual credit report from each of the three, I first tried Experian. And got the *exact same odd-ball irrelevant questions*! Needless to say they failed me, and put me on another 24-hr wait.
Trans-Union, bless their hearts asked ‘normal questions: (ex: my phone number from 1973, which I recalled, thank god for synesthesia, by the colors.
They sent me immediately on-line my credit report, squeaky-clean. But it did show inquiries from cut-rate mortgage companies based in Delaware. Big deal, for now.
I then tried Equifax. I dearly wish I could recall the questions, but I seemed to have passed, yet they said they are not allowed to send me my report on-line. I suspect because of my Israel IP, but who knows?
OK, two more failed attempts at Experian and Soc Sec resulted in the current status there; blocked-for-life from ever learning anything further.
What followed was more days of research, since I seriously suspected stolen identity. That is, someone using my name and SSN had grafted his files onto mine. My only clues as to his identity were the particular questions in the screen-shot above. What to do?
Ok, Google yer own Name, duh. And that just what I done:
Of the 12 or so leading ‘people-search’ sites, 5 refuse to talk to Israelis, but the others were enough to confirm my suspicions.
1) There are now two people claiming my house in Conestoga PA as their residence; me, 67 and another ringer/ imposter, age 43.
‘Possible relatives’ lists my wife and some nieces, nephews, my mom and dad, but also ‘his’ relatives. I mean, if I had a ‘Darya’ in my family tree, I’d have heard about her by now.
Previous addresses list places in counties adjoining Lancaster (York and Dauphin) but also many references to Delaware. Complete with phone numbers there.
And then: on the maybe 7th page of search results I find the guy with my exact name in a long court record. His house in Delaware was repossessed in 2011 after a fruitless two-year search for him. Also recorded is his declaring bankruptcy in 2012. His work-location is listed twice as ‘Delaware Jeep Association’, which in fact is a simple hobby club. The whole thing looks bad. And in the end I may understand what happened.
But meanwhile I have no hope of signing up for US social security after working like a dog for 50 years.
‘Call them‘, you advise. Hmm, that’s what the forums are good for: 51,000 complaints from folks who ‘called ’em’ and are now institutionalized or worse. I might try it, soon as I finish patenting my nifty perpetual-motion machine, a project with more likelihood of success.
So …advice???/ JS