Identity Theft & The IRS

QUESTION: A company that I used to work for opened a PayPal account using my name and SS #. Is this identity theft? 

A company that I used to work for opened a PayPal account using my name and SS #. I stopped working there in 2008. I was contacted by the IRS that I had unclaimed income on my 2012 return and was asked to pay over $10,000 plus interest. This was for monies payed by PayPal to the company and not to me. Although they have now admitted that the payments were sent to them and not me I am concerned that they may have used my name and SS# for other accounts which the IRS will come after me for. Should I – a) file a stolen ID report with the Police and b) take legal action against this company?

ANSWER: This sort of identity theft is becoming more and more common: the victim’s social security number is used to avoid paying taxes; or worse, the victim’s social security number is used to get access to a tax refund.

I would suggest you complain to the local police department. If you have sufficient information about the company that stole your ID, you may want to pursue it as well.

From a consumer rights perspective: I strongly urge you to check your credit bureau reports. You may obtain a free copy of your reports through If you find any suspicious information, you should immediately contact the credit bureaus and have a fraud alert issued. I would also suggest you contact a consumer rights attorney that can help you wade through the credit reporting mess. Most consumer rights attorneys do not charge an upfront fee for their time and will work on a contingency.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.


CRIMINAL Debt Collectors calling Consumers Common Criminals

On Friday, March 23, 2012, Channel 2 in Houston aired a special on abusive debt collectors. Reporter Amy Davis, paired with Consumer Attorney Dana Karni, brought to light the “Dark Side” of the financial industry. Needless to say, those who work on the “Dark Side,” have proven to have a lot of nerve, too little regard for Federal Law and use language trickery, saying what it takes to get consumers to agree to almost anything. Consumers spit out their bank account information and credit card numbers because they feel threatened and stressed by these collectors. These are “scare tactics,” like we’ve mentioned before, at their best.

Common Threats:
– You’re going to lose your job.
– You’re going to go to Jail.
– We’re filing criminal charges against you.
– You’re driver’s license will be revoked.
– We’re going to put a lien on your home.

Common Misrepresentations
We’re calling from:
– the Sheriff’s Department,
– the F.B.I.,and
– the I.R.S.

Here comes the IRONY…
While these collectors are threatening criminal prosecution and even jail time (among other things), chances are they are facing criminal charges themselves or just finished dealing with the consequences of criminal acts from their past. As it is not required by Texas state law, most potential collectors are not subject to a criminal background check when applying for this type of work. With that being said, the possibility that the person handling your account and calling you a criminal is a criminal, is fairly high.

REMEMBER, the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits 3rd Party Debt Collectors from using harassment or misrepresentations in order to persuade you to pay a debt.

If this has happened to you, contact the nearest consumer attorney to you and find out your rights. You can find an attorney in your area at

To watch the Channel 2 Special that inspired this post, please go to

This blog covers consumer rights as they relate to Texas State law. If you reside outside of the State of Texas, you should consult with a local attorney.