Cleaning Up Identity Theft

Susan tried to open a bank account, but someone else had an account under her Social Security number. Her husband tried to add her to his account at the same bank but can't. What are her rights in this mess?

QUESTION: Susan in Rhode Island says she was a victim of identity theft in college. She received a call saying she’d won something, and the company cleaned out her account. She tried to open a new account, but someone else had an account open under her Social Security number. Her husband tried to add her to his account at the same bank but can’t. What are her rights in this mess?

ANSWER: What I would do is sit down with your husband and the bank manager and ask them how you can work through this. You probably have been a victim of identity theft and you’ll have to file a police report. The problem is that this is all very old. To get it cleaned up from several years ago is hard.

If the branch manager can help you clean it up by filing a police report and declaring this as identity theft, then that’s fine. If they are not willing to do that, then close all your accounts there and open them someplace else. But know that this thing is out there and it won’t be cleaned up until you clean it up.

This will be a bit of a challenge, but I think you can get through this and clean it out. Last time you ignored this and it came back to bite you. Stay on it this time.