David, 56, a cancer patient with a disability, was surprised to discover his NIS 3,500 monthly social security stipend
was NIS 1,200 short because, unbeknownst to him, he had apparently begun receiving a paycheck.
"I didn't understand what happened," David told Ynet, "I called the National Insurance
and told them I was barely functional, and it is inconceivable that I have a job." In reality, as David would soon learn, his identity had been stolen.
David insisted to conduct an investigation and the National Insurance gave him the details of 'his' employers – a cleaning company in Ramat Gan. "When I arrived there with two family members it turned out that someone in the company was employed with a fake ID card
of me," David said. The company's owner contacted the police and the Israeli Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) that succeeded in identifying the identity thief: Waha Kuzashvili, 58, a Georgian national who entered Israel
in 2012 on a now-expired tourist visa.
A complaint was filed against Kuzashvili and PIBA
took him in for questioning. In his hearing, he admitted to buying the ID card for NIS 2,000 from a moneychanger in Ramat Gan so he could find work despite his lack of legal status. Kuzashvili was held for a number of days at a detntion center, and following the conclusion of the investigation he was deported.
"It is scary to find out that someone can impersonate you so easily," David said, adding "I don't know what else he did in my name." Besides the aforementioned, David is still battling the National Insurance where representatives refuse to reimburse him for the NIS 1,200 detracted from his stipend because of Kuzashvili.
"I cannot survive without this money," he told Ynet adding that he had petitioned the government organization a number of times and filed all the necessary paperwork, and yet his stipend has still not been updated.
In response, the National Insurance said "as soon as (David's) request and the relevant paperwork were received, the reduction was frozen and his stipend will return to normal at the end of this month."
According to PIBA, there are dozens of cases of identity theft
every year. "We see many situations in which there has been unlawful usage of an ID card after it was stolen or forged," said Amos Arbel, head of the Registration and Status Division.
"In one case a woman lost 100% of her stipend after another woman began working in her name and in other cases a bank account was opened in their name.
"In this case, what probably happened is that somebody just saw the details and forged them. A regular ID card is not high quality, you can forge an ID card with a scanner and printer," Arbel added.
The National Insurance Institute stated in response: "In July, the citizen's stipend was reduced seeing as records showed that he was employed. However, as soon as the relevant documents were filed, the reduction was halted and his benefits will be fully paid this month."
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