7 On Your Side's Consumer Expert Michael Finney answers your consumer questions.
Katherine from Menlo Park asked: What if an identity thief files to the Internal Revenue Service under my data, but I already owe money from a previous year?
That gets complicated doesn't it? If you and the Internal Revenue Service have already worked out a deal, they might send the I.D. thief a refund. If you don't have a deal the IRS would probably hold onto the cash, but these things are fluid. The best thing to do is contact the IRS right away. They will work with you to straighten out your situation with last year's taxes and the trouble you're in now. Tell them what is going on. It can take about four to six months for the IRS to straighten your situation.
Here is a link to the IRS' website with more information.
Ilene asked: Hypothetically speaking, what would I do if my local dry-cleaners goes out of business without notice? And my clothes are still inside.
Yes, that's frustrating. I have worked on this type of thing before. Once in Alameda, customers could look through the window and see their clothes, but could not get them. All you can do is ask the dry cleaners or building owner, and try to make arrangements to get your clothing.
Contact local police and the district attorney. Then finally, contact the trustee handling the bankruptcy.
Rowena from Rio Vista asked: My granddaughter lives in a non-smoking apartment paying $2,400 a month. But whenever she turns on the heater, she smells smoke. What can she do?
Your granddaughter should contact the landlord right away. Let them know she smells smoke from the heater. And it needs to get fixed. Landlords are supposed to make the home being rented livable and safe, and a basic necessity like a heater, should be working properly.