Marital Identity Theft: Another Layer of Abuse

Posted on December 4th, 2019 in Divorce

According to a recent study, 14.4 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2018. Pennsylvania’s identity theft laws state that, “a person commits the offense of identity theft of another person if he possesses or uses, through any means, identifying information of another person without the consent of that other person to further any unlawful purpose.”

But what happens if the person committing the fraudulent activity is your spouse?

In the Law360 article, “Why Marital Identity Theft Is So Hard To Fight,” the problem is much more common than we realize. 

What is Marital Identity Theft?

Marital identity theft occurs when your spouse opens multiple credit card accounts, misuses your Social Security number, and signs documents on your behalf without your consent. In 2018, roughly 2.2 million Americans experienced identity theft at the hands of people they knew. 

Often, marital identity theft is not the only abuse the individual faces. A large reason victims cannot leave an abusive relationship is because of the financial burden their spouse has placed on them.

In the video series, Women Breaking Free, women share their tales of financial abuse by ex-spouses. 

How to fight it

The age-old assumption that if you marry someone, you are consenting to that person to do what they want to your body and finances is wrong. And it often creates legal troubles for those trying to fight identity theft. 

However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself while you seek legal action.

Watch your credit score

If you suspect fraudulent activity by your spouse, monitor your credit score closely. If you notice your credit score is changing or you are suddenly having issues with your credit, freeze your accounts. By freezing your credits, new ones cannot be opened under your name.

Report the charges and maintain documentation

It is always in your best interest to keep documentation of the fraudulent activity against you. By building your case with facts, you’ll be better prepared if you decide to move forward with divorce. 

If you do press charges against your spouse, having that documentation will also aid in your case.

Hire a lawyer who has your best interests in mind

Preparing to divorce your spouse is hard enough. But when legal action must be taken against them to better protect your future, it can be overwhelming. 

Kalinoski Law Offices P.C., has an experienced team of lawyers to help you fight domestic abuse. We know each case is unique–we’re prepared to put the time into yours. 

Are you a victim of marital identity theft? Contact Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. today

There are laws in place to assist victims of domestic abuse seek justice. Here at Kalinoski Law Offices P.C., we represent individuals in Lackawanna County and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania who are seeking justice and support against their spouses.

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