NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says its office is investigating a claim Betty Stone says was filed unlawfully with her son’s name.
Stone’s son is developmentally-challenged, but still has a job and can live on his own. Every so often, she helps screen his mail.
“He can do things for himself, so We’re very blessed there. He just needs somebody to watch after a few things for him,” Stone said.
A few weeks ago, she found a letter from Chase Bank saying they flagged her son’s account for suspicious activity. Only one problem, he never opened an account.
Stone followed the money and found two transactions with the letters “ODJFS-PUA.” As in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
There were two unemployment payments sent directly to the account totaling $960. Stone’s son told her he saw a letter from the department before but didn’t think much of it.
Thieves used the same name, same address, and even the same social security number. A few weeks later and letters from California began to appear.
“He’s not worked in either state. He’s not lived in either state,” Stone said.
This time the name was altered slightly and the social security number was wrong, but the address was once again the same.
“You don’t know at first where to start. You don’t know where it’s coming from. You don’t know who these people are and you don’t know how far it’s gone,” Stone said.
Chase Bank says they’ve frozen the account until they get more clarity. While Stone waits to hear more from Ohio, California has already denied the claim for not having enough proof of identity.
Fraud investigator Sgt. Michael Warren of Metro Nashville Police says thieves put a lot of work and a lot of research into finding your personal information.
Take for example all the personal details about your life you have on social media. Where you went to school, your parent’s names, your first car, it’s likely all this information is somewhere on social media. It’s also very likely these are the answers to security questions to gain access to your bank accounts. That said, don’t put it past thieves to simply go through your mail.
“Just think about a piece of junk mail, how much personal information is on a piece of junk mail,” Warren said.
Sgt. Warren says you’re entitled to a new credit report every year from each of the three major consumer reporting companies. You can request a copy by logging on to annualcreditreport.com.
If he could stress one thing to parents, Warren recommends freezing their child's credit.
“A freeze shuts it down. It means that no one can run your credit without you calling the credit bureau first,” Warren said.
You can later unfreeze the credit when your child is old enough to begin applying on their own. These are steps you can take now, knowing the truth is thieves will not stop and neither should you.