Few things are more aggravating than someone impersonating you to obtain credit. To make things worse, fraud on your accounts can force you into bankruptcy. Here are four types of information that if inadequately protected can lead you into bankruptcy.
(1) Social Security information. A common way people steal identities is through Social Security numbers. Once obtained, it’s not too hard to open new lines of credit fraudulently. The way to prevent this is to (a) never provide Social Security information to an untrustworthy party and (b) never carry your Social Security card on your person or leave it in a place that’s easily accessible.
(2) Credit card information. Rather than trying to fool a bank officer or Website into believing they are you, thieves might simply steal your credit card or debit card numbers and then begin a rash of unauthorized purchases. The good news is that if the purchases are made on a credit card, they can be disavowed; the bad news is that it’s not true for debit cards. Again, keep credit/debit card information secure.
(3) Mismanaged credit information. Sometimes those trusted parties that people give their Social Security and credit information to are not in fact trustworthy. Not all creditors diligently protect private credit data, and they are vulnerable to hacking attacks. In other instances, unscrupulous employees steal credit information and sell it. Identity theft through another party is a true nuisance because there’s very little people can do to prevent it.
(4) Medical information. Medical identity theft can sometimes be the worst type of identity theft. The thieves steal patient information and resell it, but often the buyers will change the patient records to suit their desires. These changes are very difficult to correct, which can imperil victims when they seek medical assistance. For instance, if the thieves remove a medication allergy from a stolen patient record and a doctor prescribes it to the rightful patient, serious adverse side effects might result.
These forms of private credit information can be used for all kinds of unsavory purposes that can ruin people’s access to credit and lead them to bankruptcy through no fault of their own. Thieves can even file fraudulent bankruptcies, which can further damage the creditworthiness of the rightful debtor, and might be difficult to expunge from a credit report. If you’re having trouble paying bills because your identity was stolen, consult with an experienced New York bankruptcy lawyer before the problem gets totally out of hand.
For answers to more questions about identity theft and bankruptcy, the automatic stay, effective strategies for dealing with foreclosure, and protecting your assets in bankruptcy please feel free to contact experienced Brooklyn bankruptcy attorney Bruce Weiner for a free initial consultation.