Have you found out that someone else has been collecting your social security benefits under your name. Stolen identities do not happen only to people who have lost their credit cards or had their information stolen when they bought something online. It can happen to anyone at any time, including late in life when the identity thief is looking for easy money. To sort it all out, you will need a social security lawyer.
Uncovering the Thief
When you get past the initial shock that someone had been receiving your social security checks for months already, you can try to track down the thief. If the thief is clever enough, he or she has the checks sent to a P.O. box, and not to an address or deposited into a bank account with your name on it. It is more difficult to track down your identity thief when checks are sent to a P.O. box because anyone with a key or the code could pick the checks up. On the other hand, direct deposit or checks sent to a street address will help you identify the criminal faster because you know right where to go.
Since many thieves are hijacking addresses and bank accounts online, it's best to visit your local social security office and set up your online profile with the correct address and banking information. At the office, they can also help you block your account. That means that people can't make changes online unless they appear in person at the social security office and give permission.
Talking to a Social Security Lawyer
If you do find out who the thief is, under no circumstances should you pursue this person on your own. You have no idea who he or she really is, nor what he/she is really capable of. Talking to a social security lawyer, like Horn & Kelley PC Attorneys at Law, is the best way to start your case, especially if you have the address of the thief or name of the bank where your benefits went.
Your lawyer will probably hire a private investigator to track this person down and turn him or her into the police. At this point your lawyer will then build a case against the thief in order to prove that you are the real you and the other "you" is the fraud. Winning the case means you can return to the social security office and regain your lost benefits and start your regular delivery of your checks.
The Social Security Office's Involvement
The social security office might complete their own investigation on the matter, or they might be to busy to get involved. Either way it is not their fault, and you cannot pursue and sue them unless they still refuse to pay after your lawyer provides them with the proof of identity theft and verification of your identity. If the office still refuses, at least you have a lawyer in the correct branch of law who will fight to get you the benefits you should receive.