Today online shopping, banking, and automated loan approvals have become the norm. People make purchases in an instant using their mobile phones or computers, and in public areas. The convenience has been welcomed by most; however, it has also allowed criminals to take advantage of the system by breaching security firewalls and stealing identities. In fact, identity theft is more common ever. It can destroy a person’s life and cause enormous amounts of debt, especially if the theft is not immediately discovered.
Anyone who has ever had their identity stolen will know that it can be very difficult to get debt collectors to stop pursuing them for a debt that was the result of theft. In general, a creditor will require proof of the debt being part of the theft, and even after it’s been proven, the debt will likely go to collections. At this point you may:
- Have to prove again to the collections agency that this debt was not yours
- Have to go to court
- Find that your credit score has been affected
- Realize how expensive and time consuming this process is
If you’ve been the victim of identity theft and need a way out of this very difficult situation, it may be time to talk with a bankruptcy lawyer.
Why File for Bankruptcy After Identity Theft
If you’re facing debt that you were not responsible for and are watching your credit score decline because of another person using your identity, bankruptcy might be the most practical solution. When you file for bankruptcy with a bankruptcy lawyer, you may benefit from:
- Bankruptcy works on all types of dischargeable debt, including those incurred in identity theft
- Bankruptcy is useful when you don’t know the creditors
- Debt collectors must stop contacting you
- You can stop the situation before it gets worse
- Filing for bankruptcy can be cheaper than disputing the debt in court
- Your credit score will start rebuilding itself after the bankruptcy process is completed
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy can often be completed in 3-6 months
If you are the victim of identity theft and want to file for bankruptcy, you must be able to show that the debt incurred before you began the filing process. You must also file a police report, and if possible, name the person who has stolen your identity. In many cases, a family member or friend is involved in the case. When this is true, you can talk with your lawyer to find out how to proceed in this potentially vulnerable situation. A lawyer might also put a special fraud alert on your credit profile which notifies creditors of the theft.
What You Should Do Now
Identity theft is not to be taken lightly. If you are facing surmounting debts and creditor harassment, it may be a good idea to talk with a chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer to find out if Chapter 7 or 13 is right for you.