If you've come directly here, check out the first part of this story here. This is my own personal experience with Early Warning Services (EWS, I'll call them) and Regions Bank and how much of a mess is made from having a SSN identical to a TIN or EIN number of some business I have no association with.
March 20, 2012
It's the first I've gotten the chance to move forward in my own little investigation into this whole mess. I head over to the bank and see that the same woman I bawled like blubbering idiot in front of, is available. I step into her office and tell her I still need to get to the bottom of all this. I hand her the letter I received from Early Warning Services (EWS). She calls their fraud department and she starts getting the runaround. She mouths over to me that the guy on the other end of the phone is very rude and they haven't received any confirmation from EWS that I've been cleared. So she calls EWS and learns that they only sent me a notification verifying there were no records found. She calls their fraud department back and ends up emailing them a copy of the letter I received and we wait for them to call back saying they've received the letter.
While we're waiting, I start telling her about how I was/am still able to log into my account online and that I have a negative balance because a payment went through even though my account was supposed to have been closed. She does some digging around, but can't really give me an explanation as to why it went through. She assures me I won't be charged an overdraft fee for it.
She finally gets a return call from their fraud department and just like that, the account has been unblocked. I didn't go into the bank expecting for the account to still be open. I only went in to find out where this was all stemming from, but since they bank hadn't closed my account (for whatever reason and more than two weeks later than they said they would) everything is now just as it was before this whole thing started. Well, okay. I guess.
So basically, EWS said "Oh, she's fine. We don't have any records on her." Regions Bank basically said "Ummm…Sorry for the inconvenience, here's your bank account back." Meanwhile, I'm still left with unanswered questions and now I'm getting really pissed off. I ask the lady at the bank and she couldn't give me any answers. I can tell she knows…something, but she won't tell me. Instead she urges me to call EWS when I get the chance.
I go ahead and make a deposit to cover the negative balance on the account, order a new checkcard (I had already cut it up and threw it away knowing the account had been closed) and head home to call EWS. Finally, I'll be able to get to the bottom of this. Ms Lady answers the phone and I tell her I need to find out why this happened, if I'm a victim of identity theft, and what measures I need to take so ensure this doesn't happen again.
Here comes the nitty gritty…
Ms. Lady tells me that there is a business that went to a bank and entered in my social security number as their EIN (employer identification number) or TIN (tax edentification number). Then she starts talking about the laws in Texas regarding EIN's and I'm like "I've never even lived in Texas", but it leads me to believe that this business is based somewhere in Texas (not that it matters). Ms. Lady goes on to tell me that the EIN or TIN that was issued to this business is exactly the same as my SSN (social security number). The only reason my name/SSN was flagged is because this business has some outstanding credit issues or 'records'. It wasn't noticed until I tried to open up a joint account with my oldest son. I'm dumbfounded.
How the hell does this happen? Aren't EIN's, TIN's and SSN's issued by the government? So am I to understand that the government just issues out these numbers arbitrarily? With all the numbers that are floating around out there, you'd think that there would be some kind of check system to ensure that numbers are used more than once. Right? So why wasn't this caught in the database of all databases?!
I called the Social Security Administration and after being on hold for close to an hour, they tell me it isn't their problem – that I should call the IRS. So I call the IRS and am on hold for another hour before I get a live person on the other end. Ms. IRS lady simply says I need to fill out some forms and send them to their office. Within 60 days after receiving the forms, they'd send me a letter stating they're investigating. Ugh! How frustrating. Ms. IRS lady also suggests that I contact the three credit bureaus and get copies of my credit report. Double UGH!
Trying to get to the bottom of all this has been crazy. Knowing that there are actual IRS forms that have had to be made up for this very issue is scary. To think that the bank can just close or freeze an account without any kind of an investigation first, is downright scarier! I still have to fill out these forms (one of which is an Identity Theft Affidavit), and have to get copies of my credit report. For now, it's over. All there is left to do is hope nothing comes up on my credit report and wait for the IRS to do their investigation.
Thanks for following along. :)