You may file a civil claim for damages against the identity thief; actually collecting on a judgment may be an entirely different story. But at the end of the day, you should not be liable for accounts opened fraudulently in your name. You should contact a local attorney to explore your legal rights and available remedies.
I would suggest you report the ID theft right away. File a report with your police department and complete an identity theft affidavit. For more guidance on steps you may take to protect your rights, visit http://www.ohioconsumerhelp.com/sub/id-theft.jsp. You may also obtain an identity theft affidavit at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf.
Additionally, you should check your consumer credit reports to see if this false information is appearing. Inaccurate information can affect your access to favorable credit terms, employment, and even insurance. You may obtain a free copy of your credit reports from the three national credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com once per year. I highly encourage consumers to make their request(s) for a free report by mail (NOT over the Internet, as there are often certain waivers you agree to when you check that infamous "agree to our terms" box that may preclude your right to recovery in the future).
If anything is appearing on your reports that is not attributable to you, I would encourage you to seek the assistance of an attorney familiar with the federal law applicable to credit reporting (the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA). For an attorney in your area, visit http://naca.net/find-attorney.
If you have been contacted by a debt collector, you have legal rights. The law governs the means by which debt collectors may seek to collect what is allegedly owed. The burden is upon the collector to show that you owe what they say that you owe. Visit http://www.ohioconsumerhelp.com/sub/Debt-coll.jsp for additional information and resources about what steps you may take to protect your legal rights. A seasoned consumer lawyer will be able to assist you with unfair debt collections.
Many consumer advocates will consult with you without charge or obligation. This is the best first step in protecting your legal rights, and understanding the protections available to you under state and federal law. During your consultation, be sure to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of placing a fraud alert on your consumer file to protect against further harm to you and your good name.
Good luck to you!!
NOTE: This Answer does not constitute legal advice. Every case is fact specific. To render a legal opinion, an attorney must engage in a consultation with a prospective client and review any pertinent documents. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship with Attorney Amy L. Wells or WELLS LAW OFFICE, INC.