Identity theft can lead to bankruptcy. It’s one of the leading causes of financial stress. As an ever-growing problem all around the world, individuals are finding it harder and harder to protect themselves against identity thieves who are somehow able to obtain personal information in order to open fraudulent bank and credit accounts. Individuals who suffer from identity theft often find themselves suffering through what can only be described as trauma: emotional and financial. Attempting to disprove the debts that accumulate during times of identity theft can seem impossible.
In order to avoid the quick downward slope between identity theft and bankruptcy, it’s best to avoid having your identity stolen in the first place:
- Make sure your mailbox is locked.
- Shred documents that contain personal or financial information.
- Avoid online forms unless you trust the site hosting the form. Only fill out what is necessary.
- Regularly change your passwords.
- Avoid providing strangers with information over the phone.
- When clicking on a URL in order to verify info or provide info in response to an email request, type the URL in yourself and double check that you are actually on the site being advertised. Creditable online businesses will not ask you for your login or password because they already have it. View requests for this type of info as a red flag.
In addition to attempting to avoid being a victim of identity theft, you should try to catch any instances of fraud quickly by requesting to review your credit report regularly. Detection of identity theft early on will make it easier to deal with. It also makes it less likely that recovery will require drastic action.
In some cases of identity theft, the only action left to the victim is defense. In this situation the best defense may be bankruptcy. Seeking relief from identity theft through bankruptcy would mean wiping your slate clear of all debts, but it also means accepting the consequences of bankruptcy in exchange for the fresh start.
If you suddenly start getting harassing phone calls regarding credit cards or accounts that you don’t recognize, contact an experienced Southern California bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.