Marcellus (WSYR-TV) -- A Marcellus woman, who says she was the victim of identity theft as a kid, is still haunted by the bills. When Caressa Wenzel tried to open a National Grid account for the first time, the company said she already had an account, opened in 1993 -- when she was 7-years old .
"The total bill together is like $4,800. It is a big bill. It's not just something I can say okay and agree to pay that," Wenzel said.
Caressa filled out paperwork to dispute the bill, offering her social security number, drivers license, and birth certificate. After four years of trying to resolve the issue, she asked the company to provide power while they review her claim.
"They said no, unless I agreed to pay 50 percent down of what the bill is that someone else had ran up and I sign a payment arrangement and I won't agree to do that," Wenzel said.
A spokesperson for National Grid said they are looking into Wenzel 's case. They do have a positive I.D. process to review customers and they're confident it works today. But, in 1993, there wasn't as much technology to help companies prevent identity theft.
"I need to have power for my kids and my own sake you know? It is nice to be able to take a hot shower and be able to cook and things. But, I can't afford to pay a bill like that. I shouldn't have to," Wenzel explained.
With winter approaching, Caressa's landlord has agreed to put the heat in her name, for now.
To find out how to protect yourself and respond to identity theft, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s website