Identity theft is a very complicated situation that can leave victims with a bad credit history. It becomes even more complex when the criminal is a loved one. Family identity theft does happen, and there are many ways for it to come about.
Using the social security numbers of a deceased relative, parent, child, friend or other person close to you are all forms of family identity theft. When the debts go unpaid, it is the victim who is responsible. In most cases, one would not hesitate to file a police report, however, claiming this criminal act against a family member is a difficult thing to do.
What consumers must realize is that unless they plan on paying off the debt personally, the only way to get it off of their record is to take legal action, because the credit card companies and other lenders are only interested in getting their money back.
The Identity Theft Resource Center states that lenders will not take the fraud claim seriously without a police report, and that refusing to file one may make you appear suspect.
"You are not an accomplice or co-conspirator unless you knew about the fraud for a while and did nothing to stop it," the organization says.