The Untied Snakes anti-Social in-Security Administration

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?

ssa odd questions

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



16 thoughts on “The Untied Snakes anti-Social in-Security Administration

  1. Roadkill Spatula

    I’d say it’s worth a trip back to the US if you can’t settle it by internet or phone. Most SS offices are not as busy as their phone lines. You should also file complaints with them and the credit bureaus regarding the usurper of your SSN.

    Your tax records will be helpful; they show that you have (or have not) consistently paid your 15% or whatever the rate is nowadays. Used to be they sent a yearly statement indicating that if you retired based on what you had contributed so far, you could count on a comfortable life of abject poverty during your declining years on the magnificent sum of $456 a month (or whatever). I don’t think I’ve gotten those statements in recent years.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Good advice. I’ve researched do much this past week. One problem is not having worked… or filed taxes (shhh) in the States for 20 + years.
      The usurper is a serious threat: he could actually sell my house. Perhaps.
      The Tel Aviv US Embassy is probably my best bet now.

      1. Roadkill Spatula

        You have a right to a pension based on the years you paid in. Had you filed, you would have been exempted from income taxes (up to $80,000 a year income, used to be) but would have had to pay SS/Medicare.

  2. cagey

    Seeing as you live out of country this is going to be a hard one to solve. Not even sure the Embassy. The two big things on your hand is stopping the fraud as soon as possible by
    1) Place a fraud alert and or credit freeze on your file. You’ll be dealing with the credit agencies via phone and…. I hate to tell you… it’s worse than dealing with a government agency.
    2) File a report with the police and the FTC.

    But I have to say.. you’re going down the rabbit hole here.. some don’t ever get it resolved.
    And no unfortunately this isn’t a thing someone from SSA can even solve for you at the moment via phone.. this may be one of those cases they’d want you to come in for an appointment.. which isn’t of much use to you now if you’re not living there. Federal law requires you may obtain a free report a year. There may be some additional info through there regarding fraud, but the FTC manual is the big guide.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Thanks; I kinda knew you’d have good advice in particular. FTC, after an exhausting but thoughtful fill-out-form then requires a US phone number for double verification, and so I had to give up there, for now.
      I’m a fairly good researcher and quick learner, and have been to most of the links here, plus tons of forum ‘je accuse’ posts. Hey, at least I’m not alone in my misery. Great to get your advice/JS

  3. happierheathen

    I don’t know how hackable the SSA might be as I’m still a bit short of caring about it, but whenever I run up against a stonewall bureaucracy I whip out the social engineering toolbox and usually get good results. With the US fellating Israel at every opportunity these days, the embassy, as you mentioned above, is probably a welcoming entry point for a really compelling story.

    Most credit reports contain erroneous information. I was a homeowner with excellent credit and fifteen years of never-late mortgage payments when I was 17. Public records databases sometimes show an ex-wife as related to my father while excluding me from association with either of them, my parents having lived at one of my past addresses they only visited occasionally, and so on. That’s just normal noise in the system.

    If you’ve an actual impostor and he sells your house, there will be a title insurance company involved if there’s a mortgage lender involved — so pretty much all you need to do is (a) put a free lock on your credit report to make the impostor have to jump through hoops that will raise alarms, and (b) look in every few months to see if your property is still listed as yours by the country recorder.

  4. solberg73 Post author

    Thanks for the actually encouraging advice, HH. I’d forgotten in my worry-party how complex selling a house, even if it is patently your, is. And yes, my real foe here is Experian and their fake data, plus stopping further influx there. As long as SSA uses them for verification.
    Some day I hope/ expect to understand the whole story. Meanwhile I wait to come to (or in the mouth of-) the land of the once-free.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Hmm..I feel a long reply here, but stay with me, ok?
      1) As in the search for aliens, I do have a distinct ‘signature’ of a deliberate impostor/alien, but as a trained scientist I cannot rule out an ‘artifact’, a net-noisy combination of clerical errors which produce the same data. Perhaps this ringer is equally aghast that his credit record includes my par-excellence ‘owe not a penny to a soul’ credit history, thus besmirching his documented bankruptcy in 2011?
      And now to the “great idea” of trudging down to the AMER Embassy on Rehov Yakon in torrid Tel Aviv. I’ll forgive you, Duncan, for not having had that ‘pleasure’ personally; otherwise you’d have been justified in consoling: “Looks like yer screwed, chap!”
      Their security concerns require that the ‘victim’ enter the inner sanctum basically nekkid. A ‘handy’ agency next-door does ‘volunteer’ for a gouging price to guard one’s wallet, phone, shoes, pocket change, car keys, and probably pacemaker for the un-determined length of your visit. It’s almost impossible to know in advance what fees they want, all payable only in USD. Which a prepared victim wisely stuffs up his anus, ha
      I do intend to go there this week, or (more likely) die trying.. A day which shall live in infamy, at least for my water-less plants and food-less kittens.
      It does appear that my life is destined to be spent in that sub-set of game theory where the actor has insufficient information on which to make a choice. At least I decide to document my demise here.. and to honour the folks who step in to delay it for me. Thanks/ JS

  5. somewittyhandle

    You are quite right. I underestimated capabilities of the US embassy to cause misery. I think I erroneously projected the relatively painless and efficient experience I had in 1983, when I wandered off the street into the Department of Antiquities in Jerusalem, and asked to work on an archaeological dig. This was duly organised, and I was left with the impression that byoorockracy in Israel was swift and kind. However: different city; different government; different decade; different issue.

    At least the USD up the anus is one form of ‘moveable assets’.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Ok, the embassy is now moot; they don’t handle anything related to Soc Sec, so I’m told.
      And now I have an equally intractable problem with Israeli retirement: the photo on my ID card no longer looks like me… or in fact like a human being. Smudged and faded over the years. The only agency to issue a new card is on strike till… till I die a broken man. Which nicely saves the government bucks.
      Churchill comes to mind twice: 1) I am only at ‘the beginning of the beginning’, and 2) “Yo, impostor, I may be identity-confabulated/conflated, but tomorrow (in the poetic sense of ‘before the turn of the century’) I shall die as Me, but you will still be a failed identity thief.”
      Yeah, he’s probably Ugly to boot.

  6. eleanorio

    For a lark, have the imposter privately investigated, find out who it is, and then steal his identity. HACK THE HACKERS! Okay. I’m done now, and good luck, JS. People! What’s with them?

  7. solberg73 Post author

    Well, I’ll only hurt him if the thing turns out to be ‘malice aforethought’. He’s allowed to have my same name if he was born with it. I feel like I’ve already done what a P.I. could, even paid for a (worthless) people-search account. The whole thing is sick; he’s recorded as living along with me way back on the farm where I chased butterflies in 1952/ But at 43 must have been born there after I left home.

  8. solberg73 Post author

    Thanks, I do consider ‘simply messed up’ an option, with no nefarious intent,
    The video, at least the 60 Megabytes of it I can barely afford on my surfing package, was interesting, and entertaining. The actual solution however may involve swimming/walking on water to the US some day.


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