stevel writes "Holly Ramer, who lives in Concord, NH, has never been to the Federated States of Micronesia, but debt collectors dun her mercilessly for unpaid loans taken out by a small business owner in that Pacific island nation. Why? Micronesia and other countries in the region have their own Social Security Administrations which gave out numbers to residents applying for US disaster relief loans. The catch is that the Micronesian SSNs have fewer digits than the nine-digit US version, and when credit bureaus entered these into their database, they padded them out with zeros on the front. These numbers then matched innocent US citizens with SSNs beginning with zeroes, as many in northern New England do. The credit bureaus say to call the Social Security Administration, the SSA says call the credit bureaus, the FTC says they can't help, and nobody is taking responsibility for the confusion."