Five Ways ID Theft Can Disrupt Your Life

There are indications that identity theft continues to rise in the United States, and individuals often don’t realize they have been victimized until the ID theft has caused serious problems for them. Some of the repercussions of identity theft include

Lost benefits

A woman in Tennessee discovered that her Social Security disability check was cancelled because a fraudulent tax return had been filed in her name, and the Social Security Administration thought she had lied about her disability, despite the fact that the Internal Revenue Service confirmed her SS disability claim was legitimate.

Legal problems

If an identity thief uses your name when he/she is arrested, it could be just the beginning of a long and troublesome journey with law enforcement authorities, regardless of whether you have ever been in trouble with the law before. You could receive court summons, be required to appear in court, and prove you are not the person accused of the crimes done in your name.

Errors on your credit report

Because new account fraud is a common result of identity theft, it is likely that thieves will have a negative impact on your credit score. Identity thieves typically open a new account, max it out, and leave you responsible for the bill. A credit freeze can prevent this type of fraud, but does not prevent a scammer from taking over an existing account.

Problems with family members

Family members often have access to each other’s personal information, and sometimes, a family member is the person who misuses this data, creating financial and credit problems for the legitimate account holder. Reversing damage caused by identity theft requires filing a report to police, and often, family members do not want to turn in their relatives, even if they know they are to blame.

Tax problems

Tax identity fraud can take a long time to clear up, typically as many as 180 days. If a scammer files a fraudulent tax return before you do so, you still have to file, but cannot do so electronically and will not receive a quick refund, even you have one coming.

Some problems present more challenges than others, and it may take years before the difficulties are truly straightened out. The best strategy to prevent ID theft problems is to check credit statements and reports for any sign of fraud. The sooner the theft is detected, the better off the victimized individual will be.

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