By this time I thought I’d be writing all about the prep and procedure for the colonoscopy I’m having to make some doctors happy. Would you believe colonoscopies are so popular that there is a waiting list? Can you envision the line outside of a row of portapotties? With a tour group in England, I quickly learned the word “queue,” meaning to line up and wait for the next available seat, no matter what the nature of the need might be. Webster delicately gives the example of “a line at the post office.” I am now in the queue and will be entertaining myself with other amusing activities until my number comes up.
During this waiting period, I received a letter from the IRS saying I am being investigated for tax returns from 2013. I thought it was an unimportant form letter and nearly destroyed it. Fortunately I read it and handed it over to “Boss of the Money.” He read it, recognized it was genuine and didn’t find it entertaining. He pointed out to me a major problem. My modest retirement income hasn’t been enough to require me to file a return since 2009. The letter stated that I “might be the victim of identity theft,” they’d contact me again in 60 to 90 days and meantime I needn’t worry. Then I threw up. RB told me I’d done nothing wrong and the IRS had made a mistake. He promised he’d take care of Earl and they’d visit me in prison until the problem was solved.
For half a week I forgot about it, then the State of Ohio wrote me, referring to the income tax return of 2013, which is non-existent, enclosing a check for $6,181.00, which is not enough to leave the country and my passport has expired so I didn’t run with it. I did contact our kids so they’d know, if I was missing, that I left voluntarily and that RB had not done me in. There was no rush, my scooter only goes 5 miles an hour and I don’t believe the scooter would get me to Troy
Then another letter from the IRS confirmed that my identity HAD been stolen. Why would anyone want to be me? I don’t; there’s no money in it. We learned the check had been canceled before I ever held it in my hand. From the beginning of our marriage, RB has always handled the money, an effortless job since we never had any. He put himself in charge of the investigation, which was wise because it involved several trips around. He can drive and I can’t, Actually, I CAN drive; I just can’t see where I’m going. Both letters had a list of individuals and businesses, email addresses, fax and phone numbers, to know where to start. We’d begun with the bank, of course, and secured private information and any possibility of our account or credit cards being accessed. RB spent days holding the receiver to his ear, and sometimes he actually said a few words. And sometimes the “Official Person” wanted to speak with Jenny C. Stevens, me, then I got to hold the receiver. Nearly everyone was courteous except a Mrs. Watson, who didn’t like my lack knowledge. I tried to tell her I couldn’t see the fine print; it didn’t matter to her.
So, how could anyone get my Social Security number? I never carry that kind of information with me and I don’t believe it’s on drivers’ licenses or related IDs. Think of all the individuals and businesses that have access to our unique numbers, which were never intended to be used for identification. Writing from the queue, I’m taking my turn as a victim and will keep you informed as other annoying problems arise and I imagine there will be. In retrospect, we believe the perpetrator is either a thief-in-training or just not too smart. He had the check for $6,181 sent to me, Jenny C. Stevens, at my home address.
Carolyn Stevens can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.