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How to Handle Identity Theft

Ask Savvy: My Boyfriend's Parents Ruined His Credit

Dear Savvy,

My boyfriend's family has had a lot of money problems in the past few years that they kept hidden from him. Things all came out in the open when he was kicked out of school because his parents couldn't pay his tuition, which they had told him was already paid. Turns out they had almost lost their house and had to resort to opening credit cards in both his and his brother's names, which they couldn't afford to make payments on.

He's been working hard to try and pay off the debt his parents put him in, but it seems like every time he gets close they tell him of another loan or credit card in his name that he didn't know about. He can't even go back to school because he can't get a loan anywhere to pay for it, and is now afraid he will never be able to get a good job. Is there anything he can do to help his situation, or is his credit going to be bad forever?

See my answer when you

.

Your boyfriend's parents have stolen their son's identity. They've taken advantage of him and put him in a terrible position; how selfish to use their son's blank slate and put his own financial health in jeopardy. His parents might have a good reason for not selling their home and downsizing to something cheaper, but it's obvious they aren't concerned with taking responsibility for their situation and instead rely on their son's credit to get by.

This type of thing is unfortunately not uncommon for parents feeling desperate and just a couple weeks ago a man was arrested for using his 8-year-old son's social security number to rent his apartment. The first step is damage control: I suggest that your boyfriend request an extended fraud alert on his credit report through all three credit bureaus. He would be notified if there are any attempts to check his credit (when his parents inevitably try to open another account in his name) and would have to give permission for the alert to be lifted. Make sure that he reviews his credit report for any accounts he didn't know existed, and if he finds any he can sign an affidavit of fraud and begin the process of having those accounts removed.

Your boyfriend does have the option of filing a fraud report to dispute the existing charges, but this could prompt a criminal investigation of his parents. That's some very serious business and so is identity theft — your boyfriend needs to weigh his options and decide how far he wants to take things. Learn more about identity theft and victims' options by visiting the government's website dedicated to this type of fraud.

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JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 7 years
This happened to my friend. You can't get the debts cleared up unless you press charges against the person who stole your identity if you know who it is.
turbocredit turbocredit 7 years
LISTEN EVERYONE GO TO TURBOCREDITSOLUTION.COM IT IS TOTALLY FREE AND IT CAN HELP HIM GET HIS CREDIT BACK. HIS IDENTITY WAS STOLEN WE HELP PEOPLE DO THIS EVERYDAY AND AGAIN WE CHARGE YOU NOTHING. WE EXPLAIN HOW CREDIT CARDS CAN HELP OR HURT YOU. HOW CREDIT WORKS REMOVE INACCURATE ITEMS FROM YOUR REPORT. SO MANY REPORTS CONTAIN ERRORS DOES YOURS. ALSO GET FREE CREDIT REPORTS. I'M NOT TRYING TO SELL MY SITE TO YOU AGAIN IT'S FREE BUT WHEN SO MANY PEOPLE ARE A CREDIT MESS IT IS VITAL TO YOUR HAPPINESS AND HEALTH GOOD LUCK
AmberHoney AmberHoney 7 years
Some of these stories are so amazing what parents do to their children. I can't believe the nerve of some parents to burden their children like this, it's shameful to say the least.
yadiet yadiet 7 years
mY MOM DID SOMETHING LIKE THIS TOO ME.. I OPENED AN BRANDSMART CC WITH HER SO SHE CAN PURCHASE A NEW WASHER BECAUSE HER HAD BROKEN. ME BEING THE GOOD KID LENT HER MY LINE OF CREDIT. WELL SHE PAID OFF THE WASHER. BUT THEN BEHIND MY BACK WENT AND PURCHASED A WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER THINGS WITHOUT TELLING ME. SO, FIVE MONTH AGO I RECEIVED A PHONE CALL THAT I OWE $1400.00 OF PAST DUE AMOUNT. I'M A COLLEGE STUDENT THAT PAYS FOR CLASSES AND 1400 BUCKS IS ALOT. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU WORK A 9-5 THAT PAYS A LITTLE BIT. I ENDED UP CALLING HER TO MAKE SURE SHE CUT UP THAT CARD AND SHE HUNG UP ON ME THINKING I WAS ASKING HER FOR MONEY. THANK GOD THIS IS THE LAST MONTH OF THAT BILL. I NEVER TOLD ME HUBBY ABOUT THIS BECAUSE HE WOULD OF HAD A FIT
EvilDorkGirl EvilDorkGirl 7 years
My mom did something similar, but on a smaller scale. I found out that she had used my SSN to open 3 credit card accounts while I was in college. I didn't find out until I went to buy a car, and they showed me my credit report. Because I had thousands of dollars of debt on my credit report, I got a much higher interest rate on the car loan. That sucks, BUT my mom did a good job of paying the cards off on time. Since then, I regularly check my credit score (my transunion score is provided as a perk on one of my credit cards that I opened), and I of course do the one free report per year thing. I also made it very clear to my mother that if she ever uses my SSN for anything else, I won't hesitate to take legal action. It SUCKS to have to say that to your Mom. I just wish she would have asked, I would have helped her however she needed it.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 7 years
Jail time would cure the problem for me - mom or dad, sister or brother - they didn't care about the about him why care about them.
LibbyEAW LibbyEAW 7 years
Although it seems extreme to press charges on your parents, I HIGHLY suggest he does this. Once your credit score has gone down it is VERY VERY hard to repair, even for people who are victims of Identity Theft- which by the way, he absolutely is. This wasn't a co-sign situation it was FRAUD. And I can promise you that mess they have made of his credit will far outlast his parents if he doesn't take serious action.
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 8 years
Hmm, I've read that it's very difficult to get a new SS#. I was reading an article about a mother of two who had her SS card stolen out of her car by a young pregnant woman. The pregnant woman used HER name in the hospital and therefore all the mother's health information was changed to that of the pregnant woman's. Blood type, allergies, procedures done, etc. The mother also has a health condition where she might end up in the hospital at any time (I think it was epilepsy or something related), but she wasn't allowed to change the medical information because different hospitals and doctors and health-care providers and labs keep separate records and it's very hard to get a hold of every one. AND to make it even more ludicrous, she couldn't examine the records to tell them what to change because it would violate the privacy rights of the pregnant woman! And she was a freakin' thief!! Identity theft is so scary... I really feel for your boyfriend. Of course he wants to help his family, but this is a mark that's going to be on his records FOREVER. Even if he wins millions and pays off everything immediately, the info will still be there. :(
Ana_belle03 Ana_belle03 8 years
Who do you do an ask Savvy? B/c I have a question.
geebers geebers 8 years
How sad - I hope your BF files a report. He doesnt deserve to live like this thanks to his parents extremely selfish behaviour. Boy do I really respect my parents reading this. They would never ever do this.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 8 years
^whoops! i was going to say that this inspired me to give my credit report a thorough checking, so thanks for posting it.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 8 years
this is terrible... i can hardly imagine what's it's like to go through something like this. it's not at all the same situation, but this story reminds me of my friend--years ago, her family "borrowed" thousands of dollars from her college tuition grant, and have basically told her that they can't pay it back. it's sad what families can do to each other when times are tough. it did inspire me to do a full check on my credit report at all three bureaus, so
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
^ our not out.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
While I understand that the economy is horrible and people are desperate (my family suffered for a few year however we are getting back on out feet) I do not understand on how parents could do that to their child(ren). My parents would never do such a thing and any caring parent would rather take responsiblity for their financial debts than to take their child's life down with them (essentially it is the child's life they take down since ruining the kid's credit will lead to many, many troubles and worry.) I get they were desperate however what they did was downright cruel.
Meike Meike 8 years
Poor guy...first of all, that is not his bad credit. It's his parents illegal activities that got him where he is. I realize they are his parents but he should have reported the fraud the same way he would if strangers had stolen his identity. He shouldn't have to go through life punished for something he did not do.
cubadog cubadog 8 years
What his parents did is illegal and wrong. I can not believe they put his financial life in such jeporady it is one thing to do to it to yourself but to have your own family do it is horrible. I am sure he is feeling like he has to help them but the reality is he is not doing them any favors by taking care of it. I think he should go to the police.
carak carak 8 years
this is horrible. i hope he presses charges on them. i know they're his parents but this is one of the most horrible things they could do to him (that i can think of right now).
amybdk amybdk 8 years
This breaks my heart... I hate seeing people so desperate that they do this kind of harm to anyone - especially family! Thanks so much for your information, bellaressa. I hope everything is working out for you! Good luck to the poster and her boyfriend.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
MartiniLush, I don't know if there is a company that does that but it’s worth a search. But I had a couple of agencies threaten to garish my wages. I was so nervous I confided in a school mate, who had a friend that was a lawyer. The lawyer wrote letters on my behalf, it keep them off of me but the only true way the lawyer told me was to file the police report and follow up with the agencies, collections, and to alert the credit companies.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
bella, thanks for that post! Such great advice and all the more compelling coming from your personal experience! I applaud you for being so responsible - I just think it is insane what you have to do once the police report is filed. I can only imagine the amount of time it has taken you to contact the creditors and reporting agencies, and I am sure that it is so frustrating and stressful. Identity theft is such a problem now, isn't there some agency or company that can help you out with getting your records cleared - maybe do the contacting of the credit reporting agencies or something on your behalf? Also thanks for the reminder about the annual checking of the credit report (Lynne, too!) - I usually do that around my birthday, but am making sure by putting it on my calendar right now!
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
That is SOO terrible. I can't even believe it.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Thanks Lynne. I think this is one more: the credit card companies and/or collection agencies will be try to dissuade you to pursue the police report b/c they want the money. As someone that is kinda consumed with this: it will eat at him, having to pay all that money back and even he may get resentful. I think the sooner he deals with this situation the better. I wish that someone taught me about credit reports and budgeting but when I found out that I had that much debt my only thought was omg I need to pay this off. I never thought about looking for a job even though I was in undergrad and then went to graduate school – I took jobs solely for two purposes to pay my low cost of living and paying off credit cards. That is the wrong way to live; it puts you further behind in your career and any goals that you set for yourself. I would also encourage the poster to talk to her bf and have him discuss with his parents (which may not help) but let them know he does not appreciate this treatment and that it needs to stop. I hope his parents will be understanding and stop but if not he may need to distance himself from them (which doesn’t mean he doesn’t love them, he just doesn’t like the way they live their lives and what they do). Side note: whenever he talks to credit companies and/or collection agencies never tell them you live with your parents ---even if you do. Open up a PO Box or a UPS box and have all your mail going there.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Thanks Lynne. I think this is one more: the credit card companies and/or collection agencies will be try to dissuade you to pursue the police report b/c they want the money. As someone that is kinda consumed with this: it will eat at him, having to pay all that money back and even he may get resentful. I think the sooner he deals with this situation the better. I wish that someone taught me about credit reports and budgeting but when I found out that I had that much debt my only thought was omg I need to pay this off. I never thought about looking for a job even though I was in undergrad and then went to graduate school – I took jobs solely for two purposes to pay my low cost of living and paying off credit cards. That is the wrong way to live; it puts you further behind in your career and any goals that you set for yourself. I would also encourage the poster to talk to her bf and have him discuss with his parents (which may not help) but let them know he does not appreciate this treatment and that it needs to stop. I hope his parents will be understanding and stop but if not he may need to distance himself from them (which doesn’t mean he doesn’t love them, he just doesn’t like the way they live their lives and what they do). Side note: whenever he talks to credit companies and/or collection agencies never tell them you live with your parents ---even if you do. Open up a PO Box or a UPS box and have all your mail going there.
Lynne Lynne 8 years
Bella, keep the posts coming because your experience, sad that it had to happen, can only help him and all of us to learn from you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, congratulations on taking a responsible attitude and good luck with everything in the future :). I have to third the suggestion on checking the credit reports. It's sad that many do not know you can check it for free! Even with the stipulations as to how many times per year per compnay, it is access to your OWN information. You may not get your score, but it tells you ALL accounts opened under your name/social, addresses where you've lived, name changes, etc. This is a very important step that everyone should take once reaching legal age and maintaining annualy.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
wow - that's an awful situation to be in. i would assume that if he checked out his credit report, then he would be able to find all the accounts that are opened under his name. Not that you can really consider doing this if it's family, but that's fraud - if they opened accounts using his information - without his permission......
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