How to Put a Stop to Familial Identity Theft

identity theft

Identity theft is a crime, regardless of who is doing it – and it’s important to know how to put a stop to it if it’s happening to you. There have been reported cases of identity theft among family members who share the same name. A father and son, for example, even if they are Jr and Sr, still for all intents and purposes have the same first and last name.

A recent case came to light wherein a man’s father was essentially manipulating his son’s credit rating by posing as the son to apply for a multitude of things, including a mortgage loan – complete with forged signatures! A situation like this can be extremely detrimental to family ties, but must be dealt with accordingly.

Anytime someone knowingly poses as another person in order to make use of their credit, action must be taken. If this has happened to you, it may feel very conflicting to report your family member to the authorities. In that case, you should attempt to talk to the person in question first and let him/her know that what is occurring is illegal and very damaging to you personally and financially.

You can also investigate whether or not the Consumer Reporting Agencies are at all at fault for combining both of your financial identities.

If, after a proper discussion and investigation, your family member continues to use your personal information for his/her own financial benefit, your next step would be to connect with a credit repair attorney in your area. An experienced attorney will know exactly how to help you take back control of your identity, and will be able to send a formal cease and desist letter to the family member in question.

Your attorney will help you make contact with all of the Consumer Reporting Agencies to report what has happened and to demand that corrections are made to your file so no further damage is done to your credit score. At this time, legal action may have to be taken against the identity theft in order to stop them from using your name and other personal information. It is never pleasant when we have to take legal action against a family member or friend, so make sure that you’ve made every attempt to mediate the situation before taking it to an attorney.

After your current situation gets resolved – either through the court system or via mediation – you’ll want to take steps to prevent something like this from happening in the future. If you get the feeling that the behavior may repeat itself, you may want to think about legally changing your name. This will eliminate any confusion about your identity being separate from that of the perpetrator.

Remember: identity theft is illegal! Using a family member’s identity is NOT OK, and needs to be stopped, regardless of how emotionally difficult the process may be.

Image credit: Nellie Mckay

 

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