Name change during possible identity theft?
January 23, 2006 5:33 PM   Subscribe

I sent my (original) passport, divorce papers and a form with all my identifying information to the social security office. Too bad FedEx delivered it to some random house. What do I do now?

I'm in the middle of a big PIA name change due to a divorce. Social Security required original documents, so I sent my divorce papers, my passport and a form with all the usual Social Security stuff on it to the social security office. FedEx misdelivered it to a residential address. (Yes, I had the right address.)

I still have a social security card from before I was married with the old name, but everything else is in the new name.

1) Besides checking my credit report, what do I do about the high possibility of identity theft? (My passport was left on a doorstep in San Francisco's Mission District.)

2) Is my name changed just because the court says it is, or do I have to wait until I have a new card? Do I just start changing cards and things over? What name do I file taxes under?

3) I travel for business regularly. Can I get in trouble for travelling under the old name if everything's in transition? Or would I get in more trouble travelling under the new name before everything's complete?

Ancedotes with what you got away with, general advice and anything else is totally welcome.
posted by Gucky to Law & Government (13 answers total)
Did you get it back? What has FedEx done about it? They should be able to help you out.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:49 PM on January 23, 2006

How does FedEx know they misdelivered, if you gave them the correct address? Will they give you that address?
posted by GaelFC at 6:50 PM on January 23, 2006

Yeah, fedex needs to fix this problem. It would be great whoever lived at the house would do the right thing and return them to you. In the meantime, look up info on your state's attorney general's office. They should have guidelines for you to follow if you think your identity may have been stolen.
posted by TheLibrarian at 7:08 PM on January 23, 2006

So "left on a doorstep" means there was no signature of receipt for the package.

I've had problems with fedex in the past, in fact I know a rep but I won't see him 'til tommorow. Usually they try to rectify the problem. In this particular case there is a huge liability on their part. I would ride their asses until you get that package back. I would demand to have it back ASAP.

FYI, I have been advised that USPS is actually better. I couldn't believe it either, but that was info from someone who regularly ships very precious and very expensive jewelry and art. Good luck, sorry I can't help more.
posted by snsranch at 7:16 PM on January 23, 2006

Response by poster: FedEx has a record of delivering to the correct address, and yet, they have it recorded as being left on the front of a personal residence. Meaning they don't know where the heck it is. They have informed me they will reimburse me for the cost to get a new passport and copy of my divorce papers.

It was delivered over a month ago, but I assumed social security was just really slow. I've been sitting on their hold system for weeks. Which means that if someone received it accidentally, they're not going to return it.
posted by Gucky at 7:18 PM on January 23, 2006

File a claim, however FedEx has that service. Ride their asses. It behooves FedEx to take care of this NOW. They may or may not be able to actually recover your items, but you never know what the driver may be able to recall. The notation of "left on front porch" had to have been selected by the driver.

At the least, FedEx needs to pay for ID Theft services for you. They need to pay for you to get all new documents, and they need to pay for you to mail the stuff that you need to mail (via USPS or UPS or whatever you choose) as well as paying for your expenses in actually obtaining these documents (court costs, fees, etc.)

Changing your name -- my name was changed on bank accounts, credit cards, and other stuff long before I had a new driver's license or SS card. Typically you will need a copy of the document that allows the change for these people to have, sometimes you won't. It varies. Be prepared to fax or mail a copy -- most places in my experience did not require the original.

For the ID theft portion, check your credit reports regularly. You get a free one a year from each agency. Every four months, pull another one. Equifax, TransU, and Experian. Also, really make FedEx provide you with ID theft services. Really. This is their bad. Equifax offers a three-in-one monitoring package. There are conflicting opinions about how much good this does, but I think in this case, it's worth it to make FedEx pay for it for some period of time.

If you don't already monitor your bank acocunts and other financial accounts daily, do so now.

Good luck. And nail 'em to the wall. Crap like this is NOT excusable, and they do NOT want this type of press.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:31 PM on January 23, 2006

Could you just go to the address they were delivered to and say you want your documents back?
posted by 517 at 7:38 PM on January 23, 2006

Name change: your Social Security card and driver's license are your two main identity documents, the official proof to everybody else of who you are. If everything but your SS card is taken care of, you should be good until you have the opportunity to obtain a new SS card. Consider going in person next time, if you can. File taxes under the name Social Security has. If this doesn't match the name you are using at work, though, you may run into a snag. I think that you can fly under whatever name, as long as you have the required identity documents to match. For domestic flights, you're probably good with a driver's license. I have no idea what you'd do for international flights, but it may be an issue.
posted by moira at 9:55 PM on January 23, 2006

IANAL Take care you don't sign anything from FedEx saying you accept what they offer as a settlement for their mistake! They will almost certainly try that trick, and may even imply that you must sign or they will do nothing.
posted by Goofyy at 2:53 AM on January 24, 2006

As far as I know, USPS Registered Mail is probably the single safest way to ship a package in the United States. It's expensive, but it's treated with very high security. I know for sure it's routinely used for packages worth tens of thousands of dollars. Registered mail disappearing, from what I understand, is essentially unheard of. It's tracked with receipts every step of the way from sender to addressee.

USPS will insure registered mail to $25K, so they apparently think it's pretty secure, too.
posted by Malor at 3:43 AM on January 24, 2006

A certain company lost my friend's dissertation and was forced to settle for an unspecified amount. She has an awfully nice house and car, and she works part time. No more information than that is available.

Don't sign anything until you are certain that your identity has not been stolen.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:55 AM on January 24, 2006

You have reported the lost passport to the State Department. They are a little paranoid about the whole thing (terrorists getting your passport, using it). All right, maybe someone could sell it until it finds its way to an illegal alien. Here's the address to report via internet. They will probably help you along the way to getting a new one.

best of luck!
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:33 AM on January 24, 2006

I woud write a detailed and polite but to the point letter to FedEx.

David F. Rebholz
FedEx Express
Executive Vice President,
Operations and Systems Support
942 South Shady Grove Road
Memphis, TN 38120

Once written, call his office at FedEx HQ at (901) 818-7500, and let whoever answers know that you have sent a letter detailing a serious mishandling of identity documents by FedEx, which has not been resolved to your satisfaction, and ask them if they could not do anything, or call anyone, to more directly expedite the situation. Tell them, that if possible, you would like the documents recovered because the simple cost of replacement that FedEx claims has offered you does in no way compensate the enormous amount of time you have spent dealing with this situation. Tell them that you didn't want to bother them with this, but you feel that FedEx claims is not "hearing you as a customer" and that makes you feel as if you are at their mercy over something vital to your everyday life.

It might help.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:40 AM on January 24, 2006

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