Have you been a Victim of Identity Theft?

CB045241

Identity Theft has become a common term in society these days. This is why the preceding story about the SCLS client is so important. It is heartening that entities exist to assist us when we become victims of this crime, but it made me wonder “Have you been the victim of identity theft?”

Last year a good friend of mine had her identity stolen. It has taken her almost the entire year to straighten out her credit. It was a complicated mess for her.

My brush with identity theft has been brief. Recently upon a review of credit card charges, my husband asked if I’d purchased anything from Mexico. I hadn’t. We immediately placed a call to our credit card company to dispute the charge. We will complete the necessary paperwork, the card in question was immediately destroyed (shredded at our house and placed out of circulation at the card company) and we were issued a new card and number. We were lucky.

 

  -RFW

PS – If you think you have been or may be the victim of Identity Theft, check out the following Online Resources:

SPOTLIGHT on SOUTH CAROLINA LEGAL SERVICES

j0438879

SCLS helps Man recover from identity theft

Most of us are aware that from time to time bad things happen. Root canals, bad. Roof needs repair, bad.

Identity theft with the IRS knocking on YOUR door for back taxes on income YOU never saw, hide-under-your-bed bad.

Here’s the scenario:

You enter the USA on a K-1 visa, also known as the Fiancé(e) visa. English is not your first language, but that’s ok, you’ve got some time to learn it. And you marry according to plan and begin working in the USA with a properly issued Social Security Number. You’re not making a lot of money, but you’re in the United States with your new bride. Ah, life is good.

THEN it happens. Your identity is stolen. Someone is using YOUR new social security number. As if that’s not bad enough, they’re reporting THEIR income on YOUR number. AND now the IRS wants YOU to pay income tax on this other reported income.

Where do you turn? What if you’re not making enough money to hire a private attorney?

South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) recently had the opportunity to rectify this very scenario. In 2001, a Spanish-speaking person entered the United States on a K-1 visa, married later that year and had someone else report their income under his social security number. The IRS requested the income tax for this other person’s income.

With assistance from Roger Watkins, the SCLS Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Coordinator, SCLS attorney Jada Charley, who speaks Spanish, followed the rules and properly provided the IRS with documentation to establish a case of identity theft. As a result of Ms. Charley’s intervention, her client will receive a check for $2,236.74 from the IRS, which is the amount that was withheld from her client’s plus interest.

IDENTITY THEFT is a growing issue, both in South Carolina and nationally. It is heartwarming to know that SCLS takes these cases and gets real results for South Carolinians with low-income who are victims of identity theft.

To learn more about how to protect yourself from identity theft, visit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/.

Good job SCLS!

-RFW