Tax Collection is No Easy Task - Mistaken Identity Causes Russian Citizens to Lose Everything
How not to find oneself without money and property because of the full namesake’s fault? Muscovites who were attributed the debts of complete strangers are reflecting on this question. Conscientious citizens suddenly found themselves turned into persistent non-payers with huge loan debts. Now, they have to deal with bailiffs and collectors. Some of them are seriously thinking about changing their surnames.
Andrei Yashchenko has the details.
Olga Kuznetsova: «I had to take sedatives, I had to take pills for high blood pressure because of being very nervous».
Olga Kuznetsova lost her peace when money started being withdrawn from her bank card.
Olga Kuznetsova: «I called the bank, and they said that my money was arrested. I asked them why».
It turned out that her namesake, a persistent non-payer, lived in Ulyanovsk. It took months to figure it out, they promised to return the money.
Alexander Kopylov's look-alike was put in prison for fraud.
Alexander Kopylov: «I opened my online banking app of the bank I was using back then and saw that I had 200 million in debt. I calmed myself down, called the bank to ask if it was a joke, and they said it wasn't. They said that bailiffs arrested my accounts».
They turned out to have the same names and family names, dates of birth, and even cities. As a result, one Alexander is in prison and the other's apartment, car, and all accounts were sequestrated, and he was banned from leaving the country. We're trying to figure out the non-payer's name in the bailiffs' database.
— Did you just circle your name?
— Well, I typed both of us. There are full names and dates of birth there. These are his debts.
Alexander's accounts were unblocked, but his apartment and car are still sequestrated. Such mistakes are everywhere.
A photographer from Voronezh, Sergey Kravtsov, wants to change his last name. Collectors are bothering him because of the full namesake's loan.
Sergey Kravtsov: «It was surprising that they didn't want to settle the issue and listen to me. They were on the wrong track and I tried to explain this, but in vain».
When bailiffs receive debt recovery documents, they send requests to banks and other organizations, using only the name, the surname, and the date of birth. If there's a suitable person in the database, and they have money on their accounts, it is taken away.
Alibek Gukov, lawyer: «Bailiffs use not all of the ID data. Specifically, the person's full name and date of birth. All the rest stays out of their attention».
We can only guess how many namesake Ivanovs, Petrovs, and Sidorovs there are in the database. The Federal Bailiff Service is trying to justify itself. They're eager to ask for more information, but the law forbids this.
Oksana Pulina, Federal Bailiff Service representative: «The request is sent electronically and automatically, and it's noteworthy that the request is made according to the full name and date of birth. The place of birth isn't specified because there are spelling variations».
From next August, there should be less mishmash. There'll be amendments that will allow bailiffs to ask for more information, including passport serial number, tax ID, and IIAN.
However, it'll only be about administrative fines recovery so far. It won't be about loans, so if your last name is common, check yourself often on the Federal Bailiff Service's webpage. Even if you've never had any loans.
Andrei Yashchenko, Savely Matyukhin, Farid Khananov, Viktor Shcherbakov, and Oleg Dobin, Vesti