Q&A: Parental identity theft

Dear Liz: I have been dating my boyfriend for about eight months and he recently told me that his dad took out a credit card in his name when he was a baby. He has about $150,000 in debt because of this! This is a very serious, life-changing crime but my boyfriend is reluctant to take his dad to court. I’m worried about our future together and don’t know where to go from here.

Answer: Parental identity theft is unfortunately not uncommon — and the parents typically get away with it. Victims are reluctant to file the police reports necessary to clear their names because doing so could trigger criminal prosecutions of their family members.

If your boyfriend is not willing to file a police report, the debt is considered his and he probably will need to pay it, settle it or declare bankruptcy to move on with his financial life.

If he’s ready to hold his father responsible, the Identity Theft Resource Center at www.idtheftcenter.org has more information about filing police reports and starting the long process of cleaning up his credit.

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