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SSN Overlap With Micronesia Causes Trouble For Woman

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the not-my-problem dept.

Government 494

stevel writes "Holly Ramer, who lives in Concord, NH, has never been to the Federated States of Micronesia, but debt collectors dun her mercilessly for unpaid loans taken out by a small business owner in that Pacific island nation. Why? Micronesia and other countries in the region have their own Social Security Administrations which gave out numbers to residents applying for US disaster relief loans. The catch is that the Micronesian SSNs have fewer digits than the nine-digit US version, and when credit bureaus entered these into their database, they padded them out with zeros on the front. These numbers then matched innocent US citizens with SSNs beginning with zeroes, as many in northern New England do. The credit bureaus say to call the Social Security Administration, the SSA says call the credit bureaus, the FTC says they can't help, and nobody is taking responsibility for the confusion."

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wow (-1, Redundant)

dgarciam (1291598) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127005)

What a mess!

cotton niggers, sand niggers, rice niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127075)

kill all niggers

Re:wow (0, Troll)

City AnG3lu5 (1562913) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127101)

I'm gonna post a real reply to your comment and say you are right sir! I think it'll take years to work out who's fault this is, it's so convoluted.

Re:wow (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127165)

Well, if it were possible to get legislation that puts credit bureaus acting within the U.S. under the domain of the FTC, and then start regulating that shit with some adequate consumer protections like it should be, that might be nice. Of course good luck with that when most legislators are in the pocket of the credit and banking businesses.

Only fix I can think of is that people should quit playing the party games next time voting comes around. Find an independant or write-in canditate that isn't already a bought and paid for shill (and hope they can't make things any worse).

Re:wow (1)

City AnG3lu5 (1562913) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127245)

yeah that's what a load of people did over here with the fucking BMP and anything that gives racist nutters like them seats can't be good.

It's also very unlikely, sad as it is.

Re:wow (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127509)

Well, if it were possible to get legislation that puts credit bureaus acting within the U.S. under the domain of the FTC

Yeah, if only there was legislation [wikipedia.org] in place that did that. Imagine how lucky we'd be if Congress had passed it way back in 1970......

what i would say (1, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127007)

Fuck you! i do not owe you any money so you sort it out, it is not my problem

Re:what i would say (4, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127063)

And when they keep calling you at your job, and insist on speaking to your boss, and call your family, and eventually physically show up at your door, what then?

Re:what i would say (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127079)

i am the boss, and i am the one that makes the loud dad noise (just ask my kids) :D

Re:what i would say (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127299)

"...the loud dad noise"

So you will fart on them?

Re:what i would say (4, Funny)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127461)

pull my finger

Re:what i would say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127139)

Then they're harassing you and violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You should keep meticulous records of this and then make some money by suing.

Re:what i would say (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127171)

What if they're out of the country to avoid having to adhere to that act?

Re:what i would say (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127649)

They'd still be using US phone lines to make their harassing calls.

Re:what i would say (5, Informative)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127179)

...and eventually physically show up at your door, what then?

I'd live for that day.

Re:what i would say (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127291)

i will cross that bridge when i get there

Re:what i would say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127365)

When they show up at my door, I call the police and detain them for going past the "no trespassing" sign. You don't want to know what happens if they're armed or at all physically intimidating.

Re:what i would say (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127199)

And when they keep calling you at your job, and insist on speaking to your boss, and call your family, and eventually physically show up at your door, what then?

Then you send them a cease and desist order as provided for by the FDCPA (fair debt collection practices act). If they are stupid enough to continue collection efforts after receiving it then you file suit against them in Federal court and collect $1,000 for each violation. They'll soon stop calling you when they realize that each phone call is going to cost them a thousand bucks.

What debt collector shows up at your door anyways? I've never heard of that. If they had the balls to try that with me I'd ask them once nicely to get off my property and if they declined I would "encourage" them to leave with more forceful measures.

Remember that a debt collector has no power or authority over you. Their main weapon is intimidation. They are counting on scaring you into paying them money and will use all manner of threats and lies to achieve this end. Other than that their only possible remedy is to sue you. This is an empty threat for the most part though because they almost always lack the documentation that would be required to win a lawsuit. They bank on collecting default judgments when the defendants fail to appear and aren't prepared to deal with someone shows up and contests the matter.

Re:what i would say (4, Informative)

The Empiricist (854346) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127319)

Then you send them a cease and desist order as provided for by the FDCPA (fair debt collection practices act). If they are stupid enough to continue collection efforts after receiving it then you file suit against them in Federal court and collect $1,000 for each violation. They'll soon stop calling you when they realize that each phone call is going to cost them a thousand bucks.

That really can be effective. My household kept receiving calls from one collection agency that had our phone number (nothing to do with SSNs, identity theft, etc., but still annoying, especially since it was usually an automated call). For whatever reason, they kept calling even after we told them that the person they were looking for no longer used our number. So, I mailed off a FDCPA [ftc.gov] Sec. 805(c) demand that they cease communication with us.

The next time they called (with a real person fortunately for them), I pointed out that I had sent a written demand that they stop calling and that their call was in violation of the FDCPA. I didn't have to be mean...the calls stopped cold.

Re:what i would say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127331)

Do you not have baileffs? you know people who are granted legal authority to sieze property to pay off a debt? its a wonder anyone pays any money back at all then, i mean what will they do? sue you? oh now i owe you more money, well i'm not going to pay that either, what are you going to do sue me?

Re:what i would say (2, Funny)

City AnG3lu5 (1562913) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127213)

It's america. Guns man :D

Re:what i would say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127295)

IANAL, but: Brandishing a firearm = have fun in the pound-me-in-the-ass...

Re:what i would say (4, Informative)

Phoenix Rising (28955) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127387)

Brandishing a firearm on your own property when someone refuses to leave = defense of property in almost every state in the Union.

Re:what i would say (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127541)

Brandishing a firearm on your own property when someone refuses to leave = defense of property in almost every state in the Union.

Umm, you might want to be careful there. In several states you are limited to "physical force" to deal with a trespasser. "Deadly force" can only be employed if your life is in danger or they actually break into your residence. I would love the chance to throw a debt collector off my property but I think I'd leave the firearms out of it.

Besides, it's much more fun to watch them puking their guts out after you pepper spray them than it is to watch them bleed to death on your front lawn ;)

Re:what i would say (2, Funny)

Surt (22457) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127661)

You should always own two guns, one registered, the other to plant on the dead guy.

Re:what i would say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127255)

And when they keep calling you at your job, and insist on speaking to your boss, and call your family, and eventually physically show up at your door, what then?

At that point, money collection and telemarketing laws no longer apply. Standard laws of slander, libel, trespass, and possibly assault will apply.

Additionally, if they eventually physically show up at your door, you call the cops to have them hauled off to jail.
Doing that for collection purposes is only legal when you have full (legally scripted) documents stating you have a right to (money | posession | etc) of that person, which will be 100% impossible to provide or have.

Additionally, if they physically threaten you, try to grab at you or hit you, you can legally defend yourself and beat the living shit out of them before they are hauled off to jail.

Besides, your situation would never happen here.
Who on earth is going to fly from Micronesia to the US or UK to collect money? No one.
It will be passed on to either the legal system or a private collection agency in the country the accused is in.
At that point, there will be no evedence or proof that the accused is actually the person they loaned money to, and the court would drop it instantly, and a private collection company would either drop it or be shut down out of business by the courts.

Re:what i would say (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127399)

you sue them for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act and collect your statutory damages.

Re:what i would say (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127475)

Call the Police and file a restraining order. Charge them with harassment.

Re:what i would say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127505)

1) You tell them, using certified mail, to stop or prove you owe.
2) If they call you again, you sue them in federal court because they are breaking federal laws and are liable for thousands to damage.
3) Profit.

See, there isn't even a "..." in there.

Re:what i would say (2, Funny)

El Torico (732160) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127589)

And when they keep calling you at your job, and insist on speaking to your boss, and call your family, and eventually physically show up at your door, what then?

Wait for them to step inside and then shoot them. After all, they were stalkers.

Re:what i would say (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127643)

I have a no soliciting sign and an electrified door bell, so when they show up at my door, they're going to kill themselves.

Re:what i would say (4, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127065)

Fuck you! i do not owe you any money so you sort it out, it is not my problem

Actually if you wanted to be a real dick you could sue the collection agencies rather easily and collect at least $1,000 per violation. I would recommend that the people who are receiving these calls read up on the 'Fair Debt Collection Practices Act'. Send a cease and desist order to the debt collector as provided for by the FDCPA and when they call you again file suit. Wait a few months and cash your check.

Re:what i would say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127107)

from personal experience, i can tell you that this does not work. the C&D order will simply be returned to sender because the collection agencies know not to sign for certified mail.

Re:what i would say (1)

Delwin (599872) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127125)

They don't need to. Once you can prove to a judge that you've made 'all reasonable efforts' (including the C&D letter) you get to sue their asses off.

Re:what i would say (3, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127265)

from personal experience, i can tell you that this does not work. the C&D order will simply be returned to sender because the collection agencies know not to sign for certified mail.

Let them refuse the C&D letter. I'll include that fact in my lawsuit. Judges don't look favorably upon those that attempt to duck legal papers/service. They are just putting another nail in their coffin if they do this.

Re:what i would say (1)

UconnGuy (562899) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127651)

One way around that is to write "Payment in full" on the front of the envelope. Most collection agencies can't resist at that point.

Re:what i would say (1)

popo (107611) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127309)

File suit? Oh yeah, that'll cost you less than $1k... : /

Re:what i would say (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127447)

File suit? Oh yeah, that'll cost you less than $1k... : /

A 1k judgement falls under small claims court. That doesn't require a lawyer and it's cheap as hell in terms of fees.

Re:what i would say (1)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127391)

Fuck you! i do not owe you any money so you sort it out, it is not my problem

Actually if you wanted to be a real dick you could sue the collection agencies rather easily and collect at least $1,000 per violation. I would recommend that the people who are receiving these calls read up on the 'Fair Debt Collection Practices Act'. Send a cease and desist order to the debt collector as provided for by the FDCPA and when they call you again file suit. Wait a few months and cash your check.

Just try getting them to identify themselves.

"Hello, may I speak to Joe Deadbeat?"
"No, there is no Joe Deadbeat at this number."
*click*
(Five minutes later)
"Hello, may I speak to Joe Deadbeat?"
"Who is this, please?"
"Are you Joe Deadbeat?"
"No. Who is this, please?"
"Can you tell me where Joe Deadbeat is?"
"No, I don't know Joe Deadbeat."
*click*

If you don't admit to being the debtor they're calling about, they will not give you the opportunity to sue them. They will continue to harass you until you either admit to being the debtor, or change your phone number.

Re:what i would say (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127443)

Contact your phone company and say that a nuisance caller has been harassing you. They will provide you with the caller's details.

Re:what i would say (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127495)

No they won't. At least not without a subpoena.

Re:what i would say (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127479)

If you don't admit to being the debtor they're calling about, they will not give you the opportunity to sue them.

That's why I don't confirm or deny that I'm the debtor. It should go like this:

"Hello, may I speak to Joe Deadbeat?"
"Who is this?"
"May I speak to Joe Deadbeat?"
"Who is this?"

Do this long enough and eventually you'll get some moron that assumes you are the debtor. They will then start trying to collect from you. At this point it isn't real hard to get an address out of them.

For extra points record the phone call (if legal to do so in your state) and hope they are stupid enough to disclose some detail about Joe Deadbeats account. Then track down Joe Deadbeat yourself and offer him the tape so he can sue them for this disclosure. Assuming that you never claimed to be Joe Deadbeat you've broken no laws by letting them hang themselves.

I actually did this once after a collection agency refused to take the hint that my recently assigned phone number didn't belong to the man they were looking for. I started recording their calls and eventually some jackass told me the amount that was owed on the account. I located Joe Deadbeat myself and gave him the recording. He sued them and won a sizable settlement and an agreement that they'd write off the debt.

Re:what i would say (5, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127499)

The linked article said that there are potentially 130,000+ potential matches when the Micronesian SSNs are padded out with zeros to form 9-digit US SSNs. It probably won't be too long before some enterprising lawyer realizes that these 130,000 people form a class and files class action lawsuits against credit bureaus, reporting agencies, and any other firms which (a) have a few bucks and (b) attempt to collect from the wrong people.

Re:what i would say (3, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127091)

If they keep calling you and asking you to pay them, it automatically becomes your problem, even if it isn't supposed to be.

I wonder if one could report them for extortion. Especially if they keep it up after you have provided reasonable evidence that you don't owe them money.

Re:what i would say (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127163)

That doesn't stop them from falsely reporting it to credit agencies.

Re:what i would say (4, Informative)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127323)

Instead of insulting a poor call-center rep, if a collection agency is trying to charge for a debt that's not yours, you need to do the following. (note: this only applies if you are in the USA)

1- Ask their address. They are legally obligated to give it to you.
2- Write a letter to them, invoking the Fair Collection Practices Act and demanding that they cease collections
3- If they can't prove the debt is yours, they must cease collecting and inform the credit bureaus of this.
4- There is no four

Re:what i would say (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127415)

Instead of insulting a poor call-center rep

"poor call-center rep"? They are all scumbags. Go watch the movie 'In Debt We Trust'. Go read collections 101 [scottgeiger.com] and learn how they are trained. They are all miserable lying bastards who are willing to break the law in order to collect a quick buck. They don't deserve an ounce of sympathy and if they make the mistake of calling me they are going to hear every four letter word in the English language.

Re:what i would say (1)

aynoknman (1071612) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127425)

Your sig and your post seem to contradict one another.

Re:what i would say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127497)

Why not do the American way? Sue the credit bureaus who added the zeros for the "mental anguish" and time lost trying to fix it. They are the guilty ones, not the innocent citizens. The corrections would be made very quickly, and any such 00 numbers with US gov't loans due would be checked post haste.

I would like to have universal health care but ... (-1, Troll)

Jerry (6400) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127055)

bureaucratic ineptness like this suggests that it would not be run any better than the way the Health Insurance companies run the current system.

In fact, it would be worse. I can change health care providers, but if the gov runs health care changing governments would be much more difficult.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127089)

And that's why you have the ability to legally replace the government if you don't like them (ignoring, for a moment, the horrible disconnect it is to have a for-profit company that benefits directly from denying claims in charge of your health).

Besides which, this is a problem of the credit bureaus, not the government.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127315)

And that's why you have the ability to legally replace the government if you don't like them

No you don't. Where have you been? Don't you know that our esteemed legislators get to pick their voters [wikipedia.org] , not the other way around?

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127433)

I've been in Canada.

And frankly, if you see a problem like that in your government, there are two things you should be doing:

1. Lobbying to fix it
2. Getting the hell out of Dodge

Sitting back and taking it up the ass shouldn't really be an option, but it seems to be what most people choose.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127095)

Did you read TFS? This is about a bunch of private sector bill collectors harassing private citizens for debts they don't owe; because they can't tell the difference between US and Micronesian SSNs.

Other than being a pretty fair parable of my interactions with my insurance company, this has nothing at all to do with what you are talking about.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127099)

Not sure what this has to do with health care. The issue is with the credit bureau systems being inept, not the SSA itself.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127143)

If only there was some mechanism whereby people could choose to select a new government after a fixed period of time.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127221)

A wonderful mechanism where 48% of a nation isn't stuck with whatever choice was made by the other 52% of the nation.

Oh well, I guess a guy can dream.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127253)

If only there were some mechanism in place that would actually get us a new government rather than just a skewed rehash of the old one.

Oh wait, there is:
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

I think it's time to use that mechanism.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (1, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127287)

A) Health care providers are large bureaucratic agency that you have less recourse against then government programs.

B) Many people can't change providers becasue they can't get ANY insurance

C) This issue isn't a government issue, it's a private company screwing up.

D) No one is saying getting rid of private health care

E) Most government program are far more efficient then private companies. I suggest you read the fiscal reports.

F) Change health care providers has a lot of problems. Pre existing conditions, risk of cancellation, increased costs when you change too much and are considered a risk.

G) the current cost actual inhibits small companies from hiring good people.
A government Health care program is far better then what we have now.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127579)

government programs are NEVER more efficent then private companies in fiscal management, and here is why - a government agency will be penalised if they don't spend 110% of their budget each year, by having that budget reduced. the logic being if they didn't use it they don't need it. a private company always strives to decease it's budget and incease it's profits, profits are something a government agency never worries about.

is profit chasing the best way to run a health care system? probably not. you can't put a price on a person health. but if you want to start arguing that government departments are efficent with money, you'll lose lose lose.

at the end of the day, fixing health care is going to leave someone unhappy. if it's done right it's going to be drug companys and health insurance company's who will have their profits cut and prices regulated. health care can't exist as a for profit entity, because you've literally got a gun to their heads demanding money.

Re:I would like to have universal health care but (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127293)

I don't know. The government has been running our K-12 public education system so effectively, if we trust the government with our childrens futures we can trust them with our health.

Sue them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127073)

Harass me because they want me to pay them money that I don't owe them? That can't be legal.

Names don't match (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127077)

They'd never get a judge to sign a lien or wage garnishment unless the SSN, name, and birthdate matched. Not to mention signatures on signed documents.

Re:Names don't match (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127313)

also driver's license numbers, place of residence, place of birth, (the list can get bigger) they wont get far making unsubstantiated claims of debt

Re:Names don't match (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127357)

They'd never get a judge to sign a lien or wage garnishment unless the SSN, name, and birthdate matched. Not to mention signatures on signed documents.

Umm, they'd never be able to get a judge to do any of those things anyway unless they sued you and you lost. Judges don't have the power to order wage garnishment just because some credit card company hands them an account statement. The credit card company needs to sue you and win first.

Why do "credit report agencies" have immunity? (5, Interesting)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127083)

The credit reporting agencies are redistributing negative information they _know_ is untrue. Why isn't this defamation or liable/slander (whichever is the written one)?

It seems like the credit agencies have managed to get some sort of immunity to "it costs money to lie" principle.

Where does this protection come from?

I agree that it has nothing to do with the social security system, since the extra-national numbers don't actually match (it's the credit reporting system that is forcing the reporting entity to "pad" the number with leading zeros) and are completely out of their control.

Like most of our problems in the U.S.A. there is a lack of accountability and personal and/or corporate responsibility at its core.

Eventually someone is going to revolt against someone somewhere.

Re:Why do "credit report agencies" have immunity? (5, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127137)

Eventually someone is going to revolt against someone somewhere.

Thanks, Nostradamus.

Re:Why do "credit report agencies" have immunity? (4, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127343)

The Hitchhiker's Guide defines Collection Agencies as "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes."

Re:Why do "credit report agencies" have immunity? (2, Informative)

skine (1524819) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127645)

Curiously enough, an edition of the Encyclopaedia Galactica that fell through a time warp from 1,000 years in the future defines the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybnernetics Corporation as "A bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."

Re:Why do "credit report agencies" have immunity? (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127373)

liable/slander (whichever is the written one)?

I believe that would be libel [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Why do "credit report agencies" have immunity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127453)

There's no slander in Islander. wait . . .

Wouldn't have happened in Polynesia (5, Funny)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127105)

In Micronesia, they gave out short SSNs. In Polynesia, they would have looked like x^2+4x-3.

It's the credit companies responsibility (-1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127113)

for 2 reasons.
1) They shouldn't be using SSNs

2) They entered the wrong number.

The people who are being hounded because of the credit cards incompetence should be sued.

Re:It's the credit companies responsibility (0)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127121)

The people who are being hounded ... should be sued.

Well, that's just mean.

Idiot programmers (3, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127115)

All this, caused by someone too lazy to add a "if (country == USA)" statement.

Re:Idiot programmers (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127187)

Actually, I'm thinking it's a US-centric application that doesn't even have an option for other countries. Or maybe just Canada.

Regardless, what the hell are the US credit bureaus doing tracking credit for residents of Micronesia? Micronesia has their own social security administration, can't they also track their own credit?

Re:Idiot programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127191)

All this, caused by someone too lazy to add a "if (country == USA)" statement.

Another good reason to stop outsourcing our jobs to third world countries like India.

Re:Idiot programmers (2, Informative)

slo (673297) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127229)

At the risk of sounding like a code Nazi, don't do this! Match on country and id.

Re:Idiot programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127633)

I think that was supposed to be pseudocode...

a little metadata (2, Informative)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127181)

looks like the data (ssn) needs a little metadata (issuing authority, distinguished name) in order to make it work.

Re:a little metadata (3, Insightful)

shabble (90296) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127507)

looks like the data (ssn) needs a little metadata (issuing authority, distinguished name) in order to make it work.

Or, as I've questioned previously [slashdot.org] on here, WTF are the credit rating agencies in the US using non-unique identifiers (and identifiers that shouldn't be used outside a social security scenario) when (usually the exact same) credit agencies in other countries can manage using other (available) data? (Name, DOB, (Previous and current) Address?)

For example in the UK, the equivalent to the SSN is the National Insurance (NI) number - this is never used by the CRAs - only by HMRC (tax office.)

Anyway, sure, they still get false positives using these details (the most common seems to be when they use the name only), but not quite on this sort of scale.

Re:a little metadata (1)

shabble (90296) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127517)

For example in the UK, the equivalent to the SSN is the National Insurance (NI) number - this is never used by the CRAs - only by HMRC (tax office.)

Um, and the benifits agency, of course - hence the equivalency.

Re:a little metadata (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127533)

Metadata my ass, thats just more for them to get wrong. A simple checksum would be more than adequate it wouldnt let them enter or generate bad numbers in the first place.

ah just shut the fuck up fags. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127201)

go suck my nuts nerd.

DO NOT CALL List ? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127209)

The national US Do Not Call registry has very severe penalties for those who make unsolicited business calls without a prior business relationship. $500/call IIRC

So just charge'em! Get details on the callers, and start the complain/enforcement process.

Of course, they will try to prove they have a prior business relationship. But will not be able to -- they're just fishing, trying to find the real people they foolishly loaned money to. So they'll pay for their unsolicited calls. Serve the basterds right!

Re:DO NOT CALL List ? (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127539)

It won't work. The incorrect SSN entry makes it appear that the target person is the one with the bad debts. To the collector, that is proof of a prexisting relationship and it won't stop the calls.

It won't matter that the information in the credit file is incorrect. To the collectors, it will be viewed as legitimate. I'd recommend that anyone with leading zeroes in their SSN have a consumer statement added to their report, stating something like "I have never lived in Micronesia. SSNs issued in such US territories, when entered by credit beureaus, are padded with extra zeros, making them match SSNs of US citizens who were born in the NE United States. Please ask the credit beureaus to update and correct their records."

Ah, the ages-old art... (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127231)

When in doubt
  • Pad with blanks on one end or the other or both
  • Pad with zeros on one end or the other or both
  • assume that if it is all blanks or all zeros, it's an error
  • don't check if it is all blanks or all zeros, and don't worry about it

I have a phone number that is all zeros in one of its fields, and for a couple years I would get several calls a week from people who were apparently responding to a page. They would invariably start out yelling "What!" or "Yes!?" or some such, like I had been harassing them for a while. It eventually stopped occurring, presumably after a code review at the telco.

Re:Ah, the ages-old art... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127545)

You missed one:
    - pad with spaces and then watch the dollars add up.

Re:Ah, the ages-old art... (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127555)

Trust me, it can just as easily go the other way.

Debt Collectors are Morons (4, Interesting)

rlp (11898) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127237)

I got a new wireless phone a year ago. It came with daily calls from collection agencies for people I've never heard of. Some were annoying automated calls. When called by live people, I told them they had the wrong number and to please update their database. Of course they didn't. Finally took a letter to the agencies legal departments to get them to stop.

I was staying at a (rental) cabin in the woods this past weekend and got a call from a collection agency on the cabin's landline. And no, they were calling for a random person, not they owner of the cabin (or me).

As near as I can tell, collection agencies use the following strategy when seeking debtors: call every number in the country till they find the person they're looking for.

Re:Debt Collectors are Morons (4, Funny)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127375)

When I get an unwanted call I say, "Hold on 1 minute, I'll be right back". Then you leave your phone on and continue to do your work. I never get a second call.

Re:Debt Collectors are Morons (3, Interesting)

stwrtpj (518864) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127581)

Sometimes all it takes is being a little aggressive with them on the phone and asserting your rights. I had this problem years ago when I first moved into an apartment in NJ. A few months afterward I got calls from a debt collector asking for someone I never heard of. After it happened three times, I decided to be nice and ask the neighbors if they heard the name. Turns out it was the previous tenant. So when the debt collector called again, I was nice about it and explained that I had just moved in and that they wanted the previous tenant.

I was promptly accused of covering for him, and was threatened with ridiculous legal action. That's when I made it clear that I knew exactly what my rights were and that if I received another call again I would refer the matter to my attorney (I didn't actually have one, but sometimes mentioning it is enough). I never got another call again.

Re:Debt Collectors are Morons (1)

Razed By TV (730353) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127619)

More than likely, you received a cell phone number that had previously been in use by someone else. Someone who stopped paying their bill (because they had no money), whose service was cut off, and the number thrown back into rotation.

When I first got a cell phone (4 years ago? 5?), I had a similar situation. Every day or so I received calls for the previous owner. Usually they got my voicemail, but on the occasion I answered, I could navigate the automated menu and speak to a human (who was only too happy to speak to someone that might want to pay them). I explained that I was not the person they were looking for (wrong gender, for one), and that it was likely that the previous owner of the phone number had stopped paying the phone bill and I just happened to be next in line for the number. The agencies accepted this without much disagreement, perhaps because they were after the person for the money to pay the phone bill.

Finally, an opportunity! (3, Funny)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127251)

I was born in New York and have a 081- SSN. I think it's time to take out a bunch of Federal loans and blame some lazy Micronesian for failing to repay them. Then I can take the loan money and buy kilos of cocaine^Hdollar bills with the money, resell the dollars and really make some good cash.

1. Be born in the North Eastern United States
2. Take out loan
3. Exploit confused system that can't separate foreigners from natural citizens
4. ???
5. Profit!

Re:Finally, an opportunity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29127519)

Just don't do anything in person. Security cameras and witnesses - ya, know.

The real problem (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127275)

The real problem is that even if you get the debt collectors to stop dunning you, there will still be that negative entry on your credit report. You have to then manually fight each negative entry, which costs time and money.

Sue the credit bureaus for libel. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127361)

n/t

Simple solution for SSN (2, Interesting)

thogard (43403) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127477)

The SSA simply needs to announce that from next January, all new SSNs issued will be 22+ digits long and will be identical for the first or last 9 digits. They wouldn't have to do it, but it would force lots of places to plan for a future change. They could also start putting in a checksum on some new cards or throwing in letters. Remember the common mod 10 checksum used for things like credit cards was designed to work with EBCDIC letters.

Re:Simple solution for SSN (2, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127521)

The SSA simply needs to announce that from next January, all new SSNs issued will be 22+ digits long and will be identical for the first or last 9 digits. They wouldn't have to do it, but it would force lots of places to plan for a future change. They could also start putting in a checksum on some new cards or throwing in letters. Remember the common mod 10 checksum used for things like credit cards was designed to work with EBCDIC letters.

OK, first I'll comment in saying that I think you finally found a use for IPv6 address space...Nice one.

Unfortunately, this number "reform" pretty much all becomes a fucking mute point unless we have some REAL SSA reform to go along with it.

Sorry if it seems I'm a little bitter. I'm due to collect SS the very year they're due to be broke, fuck you very much.

Paging Sam Lowry (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 5 years ago | (#29127625)

This sounds a lot like the set-up for Terry Gillian's "Brazil".
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