Mr. Patel’s story

What happens when you have a common first name, common surname and a popular date of birth? You’ll never believe what happened to Mr. Patel*.

Mr. Patel came to The Well a little bit stressed.  He had recently received a DVLA fine by post which he knew nothing about. Not only that but some benefits had stopped and he didn’t know why. All of this was creating financial hardship. English was not Mr. Patel’s first language and he was having trouble having his story understood by the relevant government departments. Advice workers at The Well found a translator to help and got stuck in.

Our advisors first contacted Social Security Scotland (SSS) to try and find out why Mr. Patel’s benefits had suddenly stopped. SSS had notes to say Mr. Patel had moved to England and was claiming benefits there. This meant we needed to contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). After speaking with the DWP it became clear that someone in England was claiming and receiving Mr. Patel’s benefits and it wasn’t the same Mr. Patel who was asking The Well for help. The DWP opened an investigation.  Mr. Patel provided evidence and waited.  Weeks of chasing turned into months, and nothing seemed to be happening. One of our advisors decided to involve the local MP.  After explaining the whole story on Mr. Patel’s behalf, the MP contacted the DWP to speed up the investigation.  The DWP finally confirmed this was a case of stolen identity, that the relevant department would pursue those committing the fraud, and Mr. Patel’s benefits should be reinstated soon.

During all of this, our advisors were also trying to solve the mystery of the DVLA fine.  Mr. Patel had received a fine and points on his licence for something that happened near Norwich. Mr. Patel has never been to Norwich and was actually at a family funeral at the time of the alleged offence. Despite sending the DVLA evidence to prove his case, things were not progressing.  Again, advisors had to involve the local MP to speed things up.  Eventually, the DVLA discovered that the person who had committed the driving offence was not our Mr. Patel, but another man who had the same first and last name as Mr. Patel but also the same date of birth! This was a case of mistaken identity.

While proving his innocence was stressful, both mentally and financially, it is an immense relief to Mr. Patel that he has been able to clear his name.  We are happy to see the weight lifted from his shoulders and a smile on his face again.

If you find yourself in a similar situation to Mr. Patel, don’t suffer in silence.  Come to The Well.  We will try our best to help or signpost you to someone who can help. In the meantime, keep personal information in a safe place.  Check bank statements regularly to pick up on anything that doesn’t seem right. If something seems wrong, question it straight away. Also, be careful of what information you post online such as your full name and date of birth. You can never be too careful!


*Name and some details have been changed for privacy


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