How do I turn my mother in for identity theft/fraud to get my credit cleared without putting her in prison?

Asked over 1 year ago - Fall River, WI

About a year and half ago my mother opened a home phone and internet account in my name without my knowledge. I just found out now because I received a letter from the debt collector. I want to get this off my credit score without putting my mother in prison due to the fact that I have younger siblings with no where to go.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Gordon R. Leech

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . When a relative has stolen your identity, it does put you in a quandry. If you file a police report, the authorities may arrest that relative. Obviously, this may be a no-win situation. However, the Fair Credit Reporting Act nor other laws that require creditors to prove their claims against you require you to file a criminal charge, though it certainly can help in fighting the affects of identity theft. Instead, you can follow the steps outlined by the Federal Trade Commission in its Identity Theft package, and instead of filing a police report, you can file your Identity Theft Affidavit with one of the other authorities such as the FTC. You can then use your affidavit and proof of filing the affidavit with the other authority to dispute the accounts both in your consumer credit reports and with any creditor that opened an account due to the identity theft. There is nothing to prevent a creditor from filing a criminal charge of fraud or some other action against the perpetrator of the theft. But you have definite rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act when you are the victim of identity theft which do not require a criminal complaint. I have provided a link to the FTC website so you can download its very good package on how to recover from identity theft. You can dispute fraudulent accounts appearing on your consumer credit reports and you can dispute any liability directly with the creditors on fruad accounts too. Do all of this in writing, and keep copies of everything in case the accounts remain on your consumer reports or creditors pursue you in collections. This information will be valuable evidence that may prove violations of your rights if the consumer reporting agencies or creditors and their agents fail to respect your rights and cause you harm. We also maintain information on disputing accounts on your consumer credit reports and fair billing rights that you may find helpful, and I have included a link to our website page for your reference. If you can't resolve these issues or you want help, a consumer attorney licensed in your state may be able to assist you.

  2. Amy Lavonne Wells

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I am so sorry for what you are going through. I have assisted consumers through situations just like the one that you are facing now.

    Ultimately, in order to restore your credit, it will likely be necessary to file a police report. Identity theft has different consequences in different jurisdictions. I am not privy to the penalty in your jurisdiction. Sadly, this is a challenge that many victims of family fraud face. In the matters I have dealt with her in Ohio, at least during the pendancy of my client's cases, criminal charges were never pursued by the authorities. And while the credit issuers claimed they may pursue it, to my knowledge, that never happened. So the ultimate outcome is unknown, and will not be in your hands.

    Either way, you have legal rights. And a tarnished credit report can have serious implications upon your ability to find employment, access credit, and even obtain housing. You should reach out to a consumer advocate for further guidance. Most will consult with you without cost or obligation.

    All the best to you and your family.

    NOTE: This Answer does not constitute legal advice. Every case is fact specific. To render a legal opinion, an... more

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