For criminals who want to commit identity theft, it is relatively easy. They can steal your mail, look through your trash, pose as legitimate agencies via email or online, etc… Now, imagine if that person has immediate access to all your personal information because he or she lives in your home. Though it is an awful scenario to consider, at the Law offices of Feinberg & Waller, APC, we have found that desperate and angry wives and husbands have stooped to the level of stealing their spouse’s identity. Whether it is in an attempt to ruin them financially or not, the end result of a potential financial disaster is the same.
So, how can you protect yourself? Chances are that your spouse knows your social security number, birth date, and/or driver’s license number. You can ask him or her to forget them, but that probably won’t be very effective. Your best bet is to keep a watchful eye. This means if you have a credit card or bank account in just your name, monitor it. Regularly inspect your financial statements. Review accounts and billing statements, looking for charges you did not make.
Run a regular credit inspection. The law requires that each of the three major nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union -give you a free copy of your credit report every year. So ask for it. But don’t stop at one. It might be best to run a report on yourself every few months or less.
Finally, you can file a “fraud alert” on your credit reports. This tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. And then close any accounts that you don’t need or you think your spouse might be accessing.