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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Familial Identity Theft Is No Less of a Crime

When you sit down at the dinner table during the holiday season, you probably assume that the people breaking bread with you are individuals you can trust without question. Family members are usually the first people you would come to in times of need. However, even though you may share a bloodline with someone, that doesn't mean they won't try to take advantage of the close connection you share.

According to a 2007 report from the Identity Theft Resource Center, of the 10 million cases researchers examined, nearly 900,000 of them involved family members. This means that for some victims, family gatherings are probably not events that they look forward to.

Sometimes children will take advantage of their parent's good name
According to a story that CBS News ran in 2007, Lynn, whose real name had been changed for the piece, found out that her son had been using her identity to commit a litany of crimes across town. Because her real name is common for males or females, her son was able to use it without getting caught.

A phone call can change a family's dynamic
Lynn had been suspicious of her son for some time, as he never seemed to have an issue in regards to finances. Then one day she received a phone call from a local Sears looking to verify a $2,500 check that her son was writing in her name at that moment. She told the person to call the police and her son was arrested for identity fraud.

Even when it's family, some crimes are unforgivable
It turns out that this trip to Sears was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to Lynn's son's fraudulent activity. He had opened up numerous credit lines and bank accounts, robbing Lynn of more than $100,000 when all the damage was added up. Not only had her son made a mess of Lynn's credit report, but it also drove a wedge in their relationship.

Lynn testified against her son and he went to jail for nine months. Had she been enrolled in a credit monitoring program, she may have been warned of the strange activity happening in her name, and she might have been able to prevent her son from having to do time for his crimes. Because of identity fraud, Lynn not only lost a significant sum of cash, but also a normal relationship with her son.