Identity theft occurs when someone uses your identity for their own financial gain. This can especially be a sticky situation when the identity thief is done by a family member. You will feel betrayed and violated leading to trust issues. However, you may find it hard to file a police report due to the ramifications it may cause the person or other family relations. You are sure to get pressure from your siblings or parents to let the matter go.
Measure the problem
Most if not all cases of familiar fraud will go undetected for a long period. For example, if a parent uses their kid’s identity, the matter always goes undetected until the kid child attempts to build their own credit.
Once you learn of an identity theft, the first step should be to get a credit report to see the extent of the damage. At this moment, you should also place a fraud alert on your credit file so you are notified whenever someone requests credit using your details. You may also consider placing a credit freeze if you do not want new accounts opened in your name.
The next step is to contact your creditors and ensure all accounts opened in your name are closed. Once you have all the information, you can then make contact with the family member.
Battle the emotions
Identifying the perpetrator drastically increases the emotional impact and they are normally long lasting. The shock of being defrauded by a trusted person makes emotions difficult to bear. At this point so many questions arise on how much trust can be put on the person and it may greatly affect the relationship of the two parties.
You will also be torn between making the situation know to other family members as it may affect more people. However, it is obvious that the person never cared about you and you should watch out for yourself, just try not to make the situation ugly than it already is.
To solve identity theft, there are only two options; prosecuting or solving in-house. This decision can be influenced by evaluation of the perpetrator and the victim’s financial reports.
Keeping it personal
Settling the matter without involving the authorities may only work for you if you realized the situation early. For this option to be effective, you have to work closely with the thief in collaboration with the creditors of the fraudulent to ensure a repayment plan that is effective.
Such settlements will require trust and cooperation from the two parties. If the situation is delicate then it may not be easy. If you have pressure from family members or you personally don’t want to complicate your relationship with the perpetrator, then this solution is never effective.
Report to authorities
Experts recommend that you should handle familiar fraud just as you would if you didn’t personally know the perpetrator. You are expected to place a fraud alert, dispute all fraudulent accounts, and report to authorities. Reporting to the police will be imperative in clearing your credit. However, this decision is difficult to make due to a lot of reasons. It is however highly recommended.
Regardless of the method you choose to resolve the matter, you should never give up.
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