If you’ve recently looked at your credit report and find that you have an outstanding student loan balance that isn’t yours, you may have been the victim of identity theft.
When someone applies for a loan with your social security number and name, you probably won’t find out about it until you review your credit report or find that you are denied for credit that you thought you would have been qualified to receive.
Student loan payment requirements don’t typically kick in until a few months after the student graduates, so you may not even receive a notice that the loan payment is due for months after the loan has been taken out in your name.
If you find out that someone has taken out a student loan with your name, you’ll need to report this incident of identity theft to the appropriate authorities. Here’s what you will need to do:
Check for a Social Security Number Match
If you find that the loan records have your name on them but the social security number isn’t yours, you will need to provide proof that you are not the person that received the loan.
The U.S. Department of Education will need a photocopy and signature of your social security card, your driver’s license or government-issued ID card, and your passport or birth certificate to verify whether you or someone else was actually the recipient of the loan.
Confirm for a Full Name and Social Security Number Match
If both your name and social security number match and you did not sign any loan papers to process the application, you will need to prove that the application was forged with your signatures.
In addition to providing a copy of your social security card, driver’s license or other government-issued ID card, passport or birth certificate and other identifying documents, you will need to prove that you didn’t attend the school that the loan funds were sent to.
You might be able to do this by proving where you were employed during that time, where you lived, or what type of job you were doing during that school year.
Prove You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
If you think your social security number has been compromised, you have the right to request a discharge of the student loan with the U.S. Department of Education.
You will need to fill out an official form and furnish proof that a court judgment was made in your favor, and any information that confirms identity theft was at play when your student loan was acquired.
You will also need to provide a copy of your government-issued identification card and a clear copy of your social security card.
Once the loan has been discharged, you will need to contact the credit bureaus to confirm that the balance has been removed from your credit report.