They only connected the dots when they saw Eyewitness News' report.
Denise Abdale of Flushing, Queens says until Wednesday night, she had no idea how she became a victim of identity theft.
She got a letter from the IRS on Monday, saying she and her husband, who file a joint tax return, had been overpaid on an $11,000 tax refund.
They never did get an $11,000 refund.
Someone else apparently did get a refund.
Abdale showed the IRS she actually paid taxes of several thousand dollars.
"They told me there was a fraudulent return, that the person worked at LIJ and had my social security number," Abdale said.
Both Abdale and her husband have been patients in the North Shore LIJ Hospital network.
Administrators there now admit confidential records with critical patient information were stolen, not once, but twice over several months in the past year.
North Shore recently sent out a letter to several patients telling them that their records may have been used to open credit cards.
But clearly, the identity theft problem may be much bigger than credit fraud.
Abdale also says she never got a letter.
"You've had to freeze all your accounts," Eyewitness News investigator Sarah Wallace said.
"Yes," Abdale said, "I've had to call the bank and tell them to put a freeze on all my accounts now."
A registered nurse named Clincy Robinson was arraigned Thursday in Nassau County for identity theft, and possessing stolen information not only from North Shore, but also from an international fright company, Nippon Express.
"He has maintained his innocence in so far as being any kind of prime mover. He was used by somebody," said Philip Tomich, Robinson's defense attorney.
"To get that information?" Wallace asked.
"No," Tomich said.
"To sell it," Wallace said.
"No, no, no. He may have possessed some things, but he never actually was involved in securing the information," Tomich said.
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