People considering filing a Las Vegas bankruptcy might not realize that there are two unusual topics that connect with bankruptcy. One is scams, particularly those related to consumer debt settlement. The other topic is identity theft. At first blush, one might not see the connection, but it’s actually quite clear. The rise in computerized information makes it very convenient for people to conduct their affairs, but it also makes impersonating them easy too. Thus, the law is expanding conceptual terms, such as, “personally identifiable information,” “private information,” “confidential information.” Although protecting these types of information is an important issue, here are six ways identity theft connects with bankruptcy.
- Theft of credit information. The thief steals your credit card, or debit card and PIN, and then goes on a spending spree. Usually, you can disavow credit card charges but not debit card ones. If you can’t cancel charges or resolve issues with your bank, you may be forced to file bankruptcy.
- Theft of Social Security information. When someone becomes a citizen (even at birth), the government assigns him or her a Social Security number and sends a card in the mail. Do not carry this card on your person. Because many lenders require people to provide their Social Security numbers, it’s not too hard to obtain the name and address that accompany a number and then use it to fraudulently take out loans. This too can force someone into bankruptcy.
- Unauthorized payday lending. Payday loans are dangerous due to their high interest rates. Internet-based payday lenders, though, can be worse. Some people have reported that after they applied to a payday lending service on-line, the lender deposited money in their accounts, claimed it was an authorized loan, and then demanded payment plus interest. While this might not be identity theft in the strictest sense, the hallmarks are similar, and the borrower can end up filing bankruptcy.
- Theft due to creditors’ mismanagement of records. This can be deeply frustrating because it’s caused by the creditor’s incompetence and can’t really be avoided by debtors. If a creditor’s security protocols are easily compromised, that can lead debtors into bankruptcy, or worse, a creditor might disclose debtors’ confidential information while they’re in bankruptcy, leading to subsequent identity theft.
- Theft of medical records. Medical offices often don’t check patient’s identities, making it easy for thieves to fraudulently claim they are someone else to obtain medical treatment.
- Fraudulent bankruptcy. Sometimes people will file bankruptcy in someone else’s name. Even if the case is dismissed, it will still appear on a person’s credit report, and bankruptcy judge’s are unsure if they can expunge the records.
Identity theft can ruin people’s access to credit and create all kinds of hassles before it’s corrected. If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, speak with an attorney immediately.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation by calling 702-880-5554.