BRIDGEPORT - A Bridgeport couple says someone in Georgia opened up a credit card in their names and racked up bills, ruining their credit.

Serro Hasimi and his wife, Xhevrije, are Yugoslavian immigrants who arrived in the U.S. in 1999. They say they are now living in a financial nightmare from which recovery is difficult.

Within a few years of their arrival, the couple says they had found a proud new identity as American citizens, until that identity was stolen in 2012.

Police reports show that somebody in Georgia stole their Social Security numbers, and then opened up a Capital One credit card in their names.

The Hasimis say bill collectors have hounded them to pay for charges they never made.

With their credit ruined, they say they are unable to refinance their home in order to escape the debt.

Credit card fraud is a federal crime, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal says he is working with investigators to help. The first step, he says, is to cancel the fraudulent credit card account to minimize the damage to the couple's credit.

Police say that if a thief makes bogus charges on a valid credit card account, the cardholder is usually not held responsible, but it is much more complicated if somebody manages to open a credit card with a stolen identity.

Officials say citizens should guard Social Security numbers and other personal information carefully.