Nobody wants to think that they might be the target of identity thieves. Unfortunately, these criminals do not discriminate. They simply use anyone whose information is available via black-market networks — and that could include you.
Especially if your finances were already an issue, identity theft and bankruptcy could potentially be a disaster. However, you still have rights.
The FTC’s online identity theft portal provides a great deal of information you might find useful about recovering from fraud in general. Specifically, in terms of bankruptcy, the FTC recommends the following steps:
- Contact a U.S. Trustee to potentially refer your case to a criminal prosecutor
- Get the civil law resources you need to prove that your bankruptcy filing was fraudulent
- Keep an exhaustive record of all communications that you make during the process
You will notice that both the criminal and civil courts could have a role in obtaining a fair outcome in this type of case. On the criminal side, prosecutors and investigators will try to identify and stop your defrauder. On the civil side, your attorney would attempt to explain why you are not responsible for your bankruptcy and to help you remove it from your record.
It might seem outrageous to you that someone would use your identity to file for bankruptcy. However, it happens more often than you might think.
The fact is that bankruptcy comes with a wide range of potential advantages, including stopping creditor harassment, reducing overall debt and maintaining ownership of your private property. Legitimate bankruptcies would be a fair compromise between you and your creditors — there is a balance for the relief you would obtain. Long-term fraudulent actors might see this as a good opportunity to continue using your personal information.
Considering all possibilities
Of course, there could be other factors at stake. For example, a criminal or criminal network could attempt to slow down the bankruptcy process by filing many cases — including yours — and clogging the court’s docket.
Even in situations in which you might need to file for bankruptcy, the first step is usually trying to minimize the impact of the process and maximize the benefits. In cases of identity theft, you get all of the drawbacks — and none of the benefits.