Christine Bell doesn't mind that a Florida woman shares her name and birthday, but sharing her Social Security number is another matter.
Bell, 22, said she is trying to unravel bureaucratic red tape caused by a Social Security Administration mistake that gave her the same number as a Christine Bell who lives in Florida.
She said the problem popped up two years ago when she was a senior at West Virginia University. She said she tried to charge something on a department store account and found her credit had been pulled.
A store official "said I had lied on my application. She said the Social Security number said I was born in Florida," Bell said.
Unable to convince store officials she was a native of Charleston, Bell said she turned to Social Security officials for help. But she said they tried to convince her that she had been born in Florida.
Eventually, Bell convinced them she was born in West Virginia and she was given a new number.
But all of her financial and student records are tied in to the old number, and "they said it could take up to 10 or 15 years to straighten that out," Bell said.
"My driver's license had to be changed and they almost didn't let me graduate from college because my Social Security number had changed," she said.
Bell said she doesn't know the situation facing the other Christine Bell. She said Social Security officials will not tell her anything about the other woman, including where she lives.