Mistaken Identity

On Saturday, I got a letter in the mail from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, telling me that I owed them $1700 for money received over three months in 2006 in error, based on my deceased father's pension from Bethlehem Steel. There was only one slight problem: They had the wrong person! Same first and last name as mine, different person. My dad never worked for Bethlehem Steel, never received a pension from them, and is very much alive. The Social Security Number of the deceased Clyde, Sr. also was different than my dad's.

So this morning, I called the people at PBGC and they were very nice about it. I explained the situation, as well as the fact that my dad is alive and well and has been living here in Florida since the mid-1980s. Never worked for Bethlehem Steel. Never received pension benefits from them. I offered to give them his cell phone number if they wanted to verify that. The lady I talked to (named Bonnie, believe it or not) said that wouldn't be necessary. They took my address out of their computer and will continue looking for the other Clyde who cashed his dad's pension checks after he died. Good luck to them.

It wasn't news to me that there were other people out there who have the same name as mine. I did a phone number search a few years back and found about a dozen of them in the U.S. and one in Canada. My name is unusual but not unique. The only time in the past I've had problems with someone else with my name was a few years ago when the local property appraiser got my dad mixed up with me and tried to take away the homestead exemption on my property. I had to explain to them that Clyde, Sr. was the one buying and selling all those properties, and that Clyde, Jr. only owned the one property and was, indeed, entitled to the homestead exemption.