I Know My ID Thief’s Name & Address, But Police Won’t Do Anything About It

Image courtesy of Van Swearingen

When you think of an identity thief, you probably envision some squirrelly jerk in a third-world country selling your data on the black market. He’s untraceable and living someplace where the police don’t care. However, that ID thief could be only miles away from you, living an otherwise normal life… in a police where police also don’t really care.

Today’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune has the first-person account of St. Paul resident Austin, who has spent the last decade dealing with myriad problems caused by a man who lives only a few towns over, but who has been misusing Austin’s Social Security number to buy cars, open lines of credit, and even get health insurance.

In fact, he claims that when his employer tried to put him on the company health plan in 2014, the insurer denied him at first — not for any of the usual, byzantine reasons offered up by insurance companies, but because this ID thief was already covered by this insurer.

The ID thief has a different name than Austin, but he’s been able to open up multiple lines of credit — at the same bank Austin uses — with Austin’s SSN.

As a result, he claims that the bad actions of the ID thief prevented him from purchasing his first home, and eventually resulted in him having to pay more for mortgage insurance, along with the horrible toll it’s all taken on his family and private life.

While banks and other companies — 25 in all, according to Austin — have apparently had no problem opening up various new accounts for this other person (dubbed “Frank” in the essay) without alerting the real Austin, they immediately blame him whenever Frank does something wrong.

“[H]e’s having an easier time proving he’s me than I am,” writes Austin. “These companies make me jump through more hoops than Frank — for if they did, they would have known he’s not me.”

Austin says that he has copies of credit applications signed by this guy using the stolen SSN, that he knows this other man’s name, address, place of employment, phone number, and birthday, yet this stranger “turns out to be as untouchable as a comic book supervillain.”

He claims that his attempts to get local law enforcement to care have been fruitless, even when police were presented with a folder containing several years’ worth of evidence and a definitive paper trail.

According to Austin, a St. Paul Police Dept. sergeant told him, “The only way we can really do anything is if you capture him on video using your card.”

He says he’s hoping this essay will spark some local media attention in his case and help him finally do something about the ID thief who lives only 20 miles from his family.

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