As a young adult, Labreaya Bell is busy planning for her future, but that's difficult when she can't escape having her identity stolen in her past. Earlier this March, the 19-year-old got her first full-time job at Federal Express in Maple Grove, but when the company showed her the results of a background check, Bell was surprised to see a half dozen people using her social security number.
What makes this even more outrageous is that Bell's mom discovered someone was using her daughter's social security number to work at Hennepin Faculty Associates, the physicians group that staffs Hennepin County Medical Center. That was seven years ago, when she was just 12. At the time, the Social Security Administration wouldn't give Bell a new number, telling her mom it would monitor her number for any unusual activity and to contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a police report. This week, she got the same advice.
"Filing her taxes, I'm not sure what we're supposed to do. Is it going to work when we go to do it? Or is it going to say sorry, someone else has applied?" her mother asked.
Meanwhile, Bell plans to work for a while to save money to go to college, but she's already learned a lesson in how long lasting the consequences of identity theft can be.
A representative from the Social Security Administration told us new numbers can be issued if an individual can show their number has been misused and that they are having ongoing problems because of it. He declined to discuss any specifics of Bell's case.