Jieun Kim from Los Angeles and Jieun Kim from Evanston, Illinois have more in common than just their name and birthdate — they have the same Social Security number, thanks to the conscientious public servants of the Social Security Administration (SSA). This error has caused the 31-year-old Kims years of frustration and identity theft accusations, with their bank accounts shut down and credit cards canceled. Despite the Kims pleas for help, the SSA, famous for its empathy and fast response times, has yet to reply to NBC News' request for an explanation.
LA Kim left South Korea in 2012 to attend an English language school. She got a work permit and was employed as a graphic designer. But with her personal information and income history merged with Evanston Kim's, she's been unable to get a letter confirming the mistake from the SSA to move her green card application forward.
Evanston Kim arrived in Evanston in 2017 to study at Northwestern University. She's a doctoral student and had a full scholarship for her first year of studies. But after being issued a the same Social Security number as LA Kim, her Robin Hood account was shut down without explanation and her credit cards were canceled, leaving her baffled.
"So I called my credit card companies and demanded to know why," Evanston Kim told NBC News. "The only answer I got from them was that they cannot tell me because it's a security issue and identity protection issue."
From NBC News:
Also, LA Kim said, SSA records list her as having four parents — hers and Chicagoland Kim's. And the agency has, so far, refused to give her a letter confirming there was a snafu so she can get her green card application moving, she said.
"It really is disappointing and baffling that they will not take responsibility for their mistake," she said.