Politics, Moderate



Dealing with identity theft during the shutdown

Kathleen Parker on

Well, it says here it went out in October.

But I didn't get it.

It says it went to a Green Dot account in October.

You said that already. I didn't get it. I don't have a Green Dot. I've never heard of Green Dot.

It's a thing.

It's not my thing.

Next I called the national SSA number, which I found on a letter I'd received saying that the SSA couldn't send me any more money (haha) because it had an incorrect address. A very professional-sounding woman picked up the phone and, upon hearing my description, immediately declared a fraud, issued an alert, filed a report with the inspector general, and told me to call the Federal Trade Commission to get information about freezing my credit.

Suddenly, I'm very interested in this problem, which can't be resolved because the relevant government agencies, including the FTC, are shut down. The cobwebbed IdentityTheft.gov website says, "we will resume normal operations when the government is funded."


Bottom line: Someone hacked into my Social Security account and changed my bank routing and checking account numbers to a Green Dot account that was probably created for that purpose. This means the thieves likely have a small book's worth of information about me, both financial and personal. What might come next, and what should I do?

By now, you're likely thinking: What about the truly elderly person who depends on her monthly Social Security check to live? Someone who may not know how to navigate the internet or have an accountant to call? What does the 87-year-old widow do when this lowest form of human life preys upon her limited income?

As it were, I feel lucky. I have a job and resources. I'll survive -- and maybe even recoup the stolen money I earned. But for now, the U.S. government is little to no help. And the bad guys know it.


Kathleen Parker's email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group



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