A family’s dilemma: Is it a scam, or did someone make a big mistake?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – With Internet scams, mail fraud, and computer hackers dominating the news, especially the massive security breach at Equifax, consumers are on edge when it comes to their privacy.

A Cheektowaga family received a packet in the mail this week that looked so much like an official notice–right down to bar codes, and court identification numbers—it caused them to wonder suspect it was a sophisticated scam, or a monumental case of mistaken identity.

Avelle Bishop was mystified, “It had all of our names on here, it had all the kids’ names on here,” as she read over the 4-page document, a “Notice of Wage Withholding” addressed to her sister, Quenia Bishop. The packet was mailed from Texas.

The document indicated Quenia’s wages were going to be garnished, and the garnishment seemed to be for back child support, “I am looking at it and we are trying to make heads or tails of how someone could get this information, and how is someone from Austin, Texas going to garnishee our wages.”

Avelle lives in the Cheektowaga apartment with her sister and mother, and they were baffled: If it is a scam, how did someone get all of this information? The employer who would be withholding the garnisheed wages was in Texas.

The Bishops have never lived in Texas, although Avelle once lived in Dallas for two years, but she has no children. So Avelle called the agency in Austin that sent the letter to try to get to the bottom of it, but she said the customer representatives kept asking for her Social Security number.

“I am still trying to be pleasant to this lady, because I am getting really mad at this point, and she just keeps going on, and then she finally hung up on me.”

In Bishop’s opinion, from what she could see, if it is truly a scam, she suspects someone is interested in getting her Social Security number, “I figured it was someone maybe I knew that was ‘identity thefting’, and trying to use our name in other places. So that was what I was really figuring it was really about.”

As it turns out, the reason the documents look so scary and realistic is because they are from a legitimate company whose business is wage garnishments.

News 4 has been in touch with the agency that sent the wage withholding notice, and a spokesperson told us, their security department is working on it to see if this is one big mistake–or isn’t it?

Stay tuned.

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