It is never easy being a victim of identity theft. Nobody is happy to find out that his or her identity has been stolen and used for personal gains. While this situation is depressing, finding out that the identity thief is a loved one is sad enough. And the most embarrassing one is identity theft perpetrated by a spouse. This is called spousal identity theft.
Spousal identity theft occurs when a partner in a marriage relationship uses the identity of the other partner for a variety of selfish aims, especially to open accounts as well as for credit purposes. Although financial infidelity often leads to serious consequences on both the relationship and the credit score of the one whose identity was stolen, there are ways the victimized party can recover from such gross breach of trust.
Marital property laws in most cases position the two parties in the relationship as a financial entity. This means your spouse is capable of accessing your accounts. However, if your signature is forged or an account is opened with your identity without your consent, it becomes a clear case of fraud. While it is possible to file a police report, relevant authorities are reluctant to prosecute such cases because they see it as domestic disputes. In the extreme, you may file for divorce and get the court to attach the credit responsibilities to the spouse during the division of marital assets and debts
Regardless of anything, ensure that you consult an attorney to decide on the appropriate course of action. While in the process of this, ensure you consider the following issues as a matter of fact:
Contact your creditors and financial brokers: in the case that your spouse has successfully stolen your identity, ensure that you contact your creditors and banks so that they are in the know of the situation.
Contact the police: identity theft whether by a spouse or a family is a crime. By understanding this, you should be able to file the necessary police report for the victimization being experienced. Your creditors and banks may also ask for a police report before exonerating you from any transactions that may have been carried out with your identity.
Pay off the debt: if you notice that the account created with the stolen identity has been used to incur debt, it is advisable you pay off the debt as soon as possible so that the interest doesn’t accumulate beyond measure.
Decide if it is sensible to continue the relationship: if the account opened with you identity has been used illegitimately, you will need to press charges against your spouse to give the impressions that you are not complicit. Ensure that the divorce proceedings highlight the issue of spousal identity theft so that you are covered from all liabilities accruing from the stolen identity use. In the case that you want to continue with the marriage, ensure the intervention of a counsellor to help you navigate the breach of trust.