Overton fire captain fights to prove he is alive after identity theft

Published: Sep. 14, 2015 at 9:04 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2015 at 1:02 AM CDT
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September records stating that Overton Fire Captain is deceased. (Source: KLTV Staff)
September records stating that Overton Fire Captain is deceased. (Source: KLTV Staff)

OVERTON, TX (KLTV) - In a case of identity fraud, Joseph Zalman IV isn't just battling his credit. He's trying to prove that he is, in fact, alive.

"I mean I can't deny it. I'm stuck," said Zalman, who is Fire Captain of the Overton Fire Department. "One after another, the banks and everything started saying that I was deceased."

"I've got to pay cash out of pocket, that's it," Zalman said. "There's not a way for me to get credit for anything."

Zalman says his wife was the first to be notified of his so-called "death" last October, via a letter in the mail.

"The letter said that they were sorry to hear of my passing," Zalman said.

It was a frustrating notification that now has his financial stability in the red.

"Before this happened, my credit score was probably in the low 700's, high 800's," Zalman said. "I had good credit. I could walk in anywhere and buy anything I wanted. Now, they just laugh at me, and it's nothing I did wrong."

Authorities tell Zalman his accounts were hacked by a woman in California who used his late father's credentials to falsely verify his death.

"I had to go through the whole fiasco," Zalman said. "I had to get my birth certificate and all that stuff, just to prove that I was still alive. We've done what they've asked us to do. We've actually done it multiple times and it is still not any good."

Even his most recent September statement still showed "deceased."

"They're still reporting me as deceased, so everything is froze up," said Zalman.

Nearly a year since his initial letter, Zalman says he doing everything he can to "come back from the dead."

Recent studies find that every two seconds someone in the United States becomes victim to identity theft and fraud.

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