FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- Jeremy Guthrie of Angola is deceased, which makes our meeting this week kind of hard to explain.
Jeremy- I find out that I'm no longer living, according to all the major credit agencies
Jeremy's financial nightmare started back in 1995 when his wallet with his social security card inside was stolen in South Bend. The first possible breach we found was in 2000, someone took out a 25-thousand dollar car loan in his name and there are plenty of other items he simply can't explain.
Jeremy Guthrie "I see cars that I never owned and bills for hospitals that I've never been at"
Two years ago the IRS informed Jeremy that he had a tax lien of over 15-thousand dollars and started keeping his tax returns as payment, then things only got worse a few months ago when he was denied a home mortgage after a credit agency said he was deceased. Jeremy came to us after 2 years of paying the IRS on a lien he wasn't even sure was his
Jeremy's Situation is not that uncommon in that many people find it intimidating to deal with the IRS, you certainly have to be patient with their phone system. We set up a 3-way call between myself, Jeremy and the IRS and after a 45-minute conversation he finally got some answers about where the lien came from.
Jeremy was told his tax lien came from an audit of his income taxes over 10 years ago, but still after his wallet was stolen. He was instructed to do a number of tasks that with The FTC and Police that will document his complaint. Meanwhile, we consulted an expert in data protection who told us Jeremy's case is an example of why it's so important to protect your id.
Eric Rupp of Summit Data Protections said "Let's say they steal something like your social security number, now they can take that and match it with an address or phone number they already have".
Eric Rupp says setting up a fraud alert could have stopped many of Jeremy's problems, it's free with the major agencies, also most banks have id experts on staff for consumers. Most importantly, use sites like annualcreditreport.com to check your credit at least once a year. The IRS also told me, never carry your social security card in your wallet. As for Jeremy's situation, it's possible that the person using his ID recently died, as a woman used his social security number in a death benefits claim. He know has an uphilll battle to remove the stain from his credit and more importantly, prove to them he's alive.
Jeremy- "One little thing on your report can really ruin your life. I keep hitting walls trying to prove that I'm alive"
The IRS has given Jeremy 30 days to provide them with the information they've requested, at which time they'll review his debt to the government and determine if he was actually the Jeremy Guthrie that acquired it. In your corner I'm Ryan Elijah
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