Dealing With Identity Theft by A Friend or Relative

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When your identity is stolen, it is often done by a friend or a relative. This can be a sticky situation to be in. You may feel violated and that your trust has been completely betrayed. You may find it difficult to trust anyone again. These are valid feelings. Additionally, you may have a hard time turning that person in or filing a police report, because of the ramifications it may have on that person and your other family relationships.

You may have pressure put on you by your parents or siblings to let the matter go. It can be even trickier when your spouse steals your identity.

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft happens when someone uses your identity for their financial gain. There are different ways that this can happen, and some parents may not even think that what they are doing is wrong. Here are some examples of identity theft.

  • A family member uses your name and social security number to qualify for a credit card or loan.
  • A parent uses a child's name and social security number to sign up for utilities or cable.
  • A cousin uses a family member's name and social security number to qualify and sign for a lease. 
  • A spouse uses your name and income without your permission to open an account without your knowledge.

Often this will negatively affect you if they have gone delinquent on the account or if you have too much outstanding debt under your name, even if they have kept up with your payments.Even if nothing has gone into collections, it is wrong and it needs to be corrected.

 

What Can I Do If My Identity Has Been Stolen?

You will need to contact the creditor and business and explain that you are not responsible for the debt. You should take the time to file a police report. This is the only way that you will be able to fix your credit report. Although it may be difficult to file a report on someone you know, you need to do it.

If you are feeling guilty about it, don’t. You didn’t do anything wrong, and these cases are rarely prosecuted. The credit card companies may come after the person to get their money back.However, they will not excuse the debt if you do not take the proper steps to prove that the debt is not yours.

What If Other People Do Now Want Me to File a Police Report? 

If you are receiving pressure from other friends or family members about not filing a police report, you need to remember to act in your own self-interest. Your credit history is the one at stake, and you will be the one responsible for repaying that money unless you take the necessary steps to begin disputing the charges. You need to continue to check your credit report regularly to catch and prevent additional problems.

What Else Do I Need to Do to Protect Myself? 

You may need to change your checking account number, as well as close all of the accounts that you have open. Take the time to set up alerts on your credit reports. This will help to protect you from identity theft in the future. If your credit cards are stolen, you are at a great risk of having your identity stolen, so you should carefully monitor these as well. You should monitor your credit report by pulling a copy every few months.

You can do this for free by rotating through each of three major reports every four months. 

How Do I Deal with My Family After This Happens?

It is important to realize that identity theft is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong. If you feel betrayed you should find a healthy way to deal with these feelings. You may decide to write the person a letter or to cut off ties with that person entirely. It should make you more cautious about how you share information and ways to keep your personal information private. You may also consider getting counseling if you want to maintain a relationship with that family member. 

What If I Do Not Know Who Stole My Identity? 

If you do not know who stole your identity you can steal file a report that it has been stolen. Take the time to request that the paperwork regarding the loan or credit card be sent to you.

This information may help you to identify who stole your identity. It may also help police catch someone who has stolen several people’s identities.