Dad Stole Her Identity

Sherry says her father took out credit cards in her name without consent. He's fallen behind on those cards, and now the collectors are calling Sherry. Is she liable for the debt?

QUESTION: Sherry in Cincinnati says her father took out credit cards in Sherry’s name without her consent. He’s fallen behind on those cards, and now the collectors are calling Sherry. If something happens to her father, is she liable for the debt?

ANSWER: You’re just so sweet. You just think the best of him. I’d be ready to choke him. The problem is this: He stole your identity. What he’s done is commit criminal fraud. This is identity theft. Intentions don’t matter in the law. The law doesn’t care about your intent.

The bottom line was that you got your identity stolen. That’s all that happened. There are two options. One is this loan gets paid, and this account gets closed, in which case you’re liable, of course. In other words, you’re going to claim liability as option number one and pay this off for the thief because you happen to think the thief had good intentions. The second way is to claim it as identity theft. You cannot just do what you’re doing. It’s not going to work. You’re trying to walk down both sides of it and go, “Well, I’m not going to worry about this, and since I didn’t sign it, I’m not liable.” You could wait until he dies, and then you could file a police report for identity theft. Or you could just work with him and make sure it gets paid and it gets closed.

He’s obviously broke. If you want to wait until he dies, you can but you’re going to have a harder time then. But you’re going to have to file a police report for identity theft. Then you have to go through all the identity theft steps to say, “I didn’t borrow this money. I didn’t sign for this money, and I’m not liable for this money. The thief is this guy over here, and that’s who stole money from you.” Because he did steal money. It’s what he did. It’s going to be very hard for you to convince if you wait 10 years though.

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