UPDATE: DECEMBER 2022. CAIVRS IS STILL BROKEN
I wrote this blog initially in June 2021. In December 2022 I got some emails from Federal Student Aid telling me I didn’t have to pay back my loan. I immediately logged into my FISA account which I made in June 2021 to repair the mess I wrote about below. Remember, there is no way to check a CAIVRS report.
There didn’t seem to be a loan however my permanent address had been changed to:
311 EXPORTING ST UNIT 2,AURORA, IN 470011339,UNITED STATES
I think I caught some more chicanery just before it started. Read on for the original story.
I bet you never heard of Credit Alert Interactive Verification Reporting System (CAIVRS) before.CAIVRS was established by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency in June of 1987. It is a database of Social Security Numbers that are in default regarding federal loans such as Student Loans, Small Business Loans, VA Loans, etc.
The following agencies report to CAIVRS:
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Education
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Small Business Administration
- Department of Justice
If you default on a loan or credit card it goes to your credit report which is accessible to you. However, if you default on a Federal Student Loan it is not reported to your credit file. It is only reported to CAIVRS.
YOU WILL NEVER KNOW YOU WERE A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT UNLESS YOU APPLY FOR FEDERAL MONEY.
I just applied for a VA loan for a new home and was notified by my lender that I was delinquent on a Federal Student Loan and that I could not get my VA loan until this issue was cleared up. I immediately knew this was inaccurate because I HAVE NEVER HAD A STUDENT LOAN.
Then I called the Department of Education Student Loan Debt Resolution ……………… let that sink in a moment. This problem is so huge apparently that they have their own departmental offices.
While listening to the voice prompts they tell you to visit their web site:
So I did that and tried to create an account. It failed because, hey, my SSN, name, and date of birth didn’t match the fake account already in existence. The web site directs you to their help desk which I called. The tech told me that my SSN was being used by another person and that I needed to call yet another office.
FINALLY GETTING SOMEWHERE
This person told me my identity had been stolen and all I had to do was send in my passport, birth certificate, drivers license, and Social Security card and that it would take 6-8 weeks to fix. After some complaining by me he provided an urgent fax number.
Seems simple enough…………right up until I realized I haven’t seen my SS card in years. I had to apply with Social Security to get a new card which took about 2-3 weeks. So at any rate lets summarize.
- The US Department of Education issues a loan to someone with my Social Security number. That person does not have my name, address, date of birth and is in fact, FEMALE.
- They then tell me to fix their error which can take weeks.
- In the mean time I am being deprived of my Veterans Benefits.
- CAIVRS is non accessible to anyone but lenders that handle Federal Loans.
- You will never know you were a victim of ID theft unless you try to obtain a VA loan or a Federal Student Loan or other Federal monies.
- There is no way to freeze your CAIVRS report like you can with your credit report.
- For all you know after your report is cleared that someone at DOE is issuing another loan against your SSN right away.
YOU CAN’T CHECK YOUR OWN CAIVRS REPORT
I have so far contacted my Congressman (Greg Murphy, North Carolina), my Senator (Tom Tillis, North Carolina), the Department of Education, and the VA. No one seems to care.
This is the most ridiculous broken system ever that provides almost the perfect smoke screen for issuing bad loans. I guess that I am insinuating that something is amiss at the DOE.
If you are reading this ……….could you take my SSN and open credit with it in your name? Nope. It would fail. You could obtain credit in my name and maybe get a loan or credit line and use it until I found out about it, and I have the protection of freezing my credit file.
But someone at DOE is issuing loans without verifying ANYTHING. NOTHING. Again, in my case they issued a loan to a Woman using a mans SSN. I mean, what in the actual hell?
As for you…….you may want to know how you can check if you were the victim of this as well. Here’s the answer.
WHAT ELSE IS WRONG?
Here is something else that is wrong. At the end of this process no one says “I’m Sorry”. “Let us explain how this happened”. Nothing. You get nothing. In fact the fake account with my SSN STILL EXISTS. They cleared my CAIVRS report but the fake account with my SSN STILL EXISTS.
I still can’t create an account at the DOE website and I would like to do that because hey, it would then at least tie my SSN to my actual name.
I would sure appreciate it if you were to write your legislators. All Americans should be able to see the status of their CAIVRS report.
You might want to read The Black Box Society by Frank Pasquale. The Secret Algorithms that Control Money and Information.
Tells you all about the databases used to rule and sometimes wreck our day to day life.