Bankruptcy And Identity Theft
In today’s high-tech landscape, identity theft is a problem that has grown to massive proportions. And, this trend is expected to continue as cyber criminals become even more sophisticated. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were nearly 17 million victims of identity theft in 2017, and during that year a total of almost $17 billion was stolen. In fact, for the first time in history, the number of social security numbers stolen in 2017 exceeded the number of pilfered credit card numbers. If not addressed swiftly, identity theft can completely wreck a victim’s finances. In some cases, bankruptcy may be the most viable option to enable victims to start over with a clean slate.
Are you a victim of identity theft? Contact Sirody & Associates for a free consultation and start rebuilding your financial future.
The Dangers Of Identity Theft
Anyone who has ever been a victim of identity theft understands how difficult it can be to recover. Qualifying for things like auto and home loans and credits cards can be nearly impossible due to the hit that your credit score takes as outstanding, unpaid debts begin to pile up on your credit report. And cleaning up your credit report following identity theft can take years. For each individual fraudulent line item, you’ll need to be able to prove that the thief was responsible for the debt. You may even end up having to appear to court to prove to collections agencies that you were not responsible for the fraudulent charges. This can be a time-consuming and costly process and can negatively affect your credit rating.
Save Time And Money
Fielding calls from bill collectors, sorting through letters from creditors demanding payment and combing through your bills to determine which charges are fraudulent can be exhausting and all-consuming. What’s more, contesting and fighting individual debts in court can literally take years and cost thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy generally takes months<. Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a lengthier process than filing for Chapter 7, but it is still generally much faster than trying to resolve identity theft debts one-by-one.
Wipe Away Fraudulent Debts
Any debts that were incurred prior to filing a petition for bankruptcy are eligible to be discharged. This is particularly helpful for victims of identity theft, as they often are unaware of some of the debts that were incurred until the fraudulent debts resurface later in the form of a creditor demanding payment. Bankruptcy can be a means to wipe your financial slate clean without the hassle of proving time and again to collections agencies that a particular debt is not yours.
Take The Next Steps
If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, it’s important to immediately file a police report and also place a fraud alert on your credit report. Once your bankruptcy is filed and your debts are discharged, you can begin to rebuild your financial future. Going forward, always keep login credentials for any online accounts private, and use unique passwords for all accounts. Also, monitor your credit report regularly and never provide your social security number over the phone. For more information about filing for bankruptcy after having your identity stolen, contact Sirody & Associates.