Your Money Matters

Did A Family Member Steal Your Identity and Ruin Your Credit?

Ebony Magazine has an excellent article that covers the topic of when a family member helps themselves to your identity and acquires things at your expense because you’re “family”…

No one wants to become the victim of identity theft at the hands of a relative, or to have a family member hurt one’s credit. But when financial problems like these can be traced to a next of kin—someone you probably trusted who betrayed you by using your social security number, credit cards or bank account to make unauthorized purchases—you may need some extra help to turn this situation around.

Family members that share a joint account or anyone that has access to your personal information can end up wrecking your credit, with some serious long-term consequences. Here are some steps you can take to get things back on track when a family member hurts your credit.

Recognize the Problem

Even though it can be hard to believe that a family member would knowingly use your accounts and personal information to get a loan or buy things without your permission, you need to acknowledge that you are dealing with a case of identity theft.

Read more at EBONY
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Note: This is a good article. The only thing to add is that, once you activate alerts on your identity and notify the bank (which will then investigate), your future payroll deposits may be impacted temporarily to the point where your account and other financial transactions may get frozen. So open up an account at another bank before contacting your primary bank and have all payroll direct deposits and automated bill payments redirected to the new account. Also, if the family member is defiant and unapologetic, be prepared to sue that person for identity theft. That will prove to the bank and other creditors that you are taking proactive steps to repair the damage done by the family member (otherwise, it is difficult for the bank or creditor to distinguish between you and the family member).

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