Laws governing identity theft committed by a family member

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Laws governing identity theft committed by a family member
Reporting identity theft is difficult when it may land a family member behind bars. (the old jail image by mavrick from

Dealing with identity theft is even more difficult if the thief is a family member. In-family identity theft is as much a crime as any other identity theft, but some law enforcement agencies view it as a family matter. In addition, victims may be reluctant to prosecute family members for theft. It is important for victims to know all their rights and responsibilities when dealing with a thief in the family so that they can make the best decision for themselves and their family.

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Parental Identity Theft is A Crime

The Identity Theft Resource Center states that parental identity theft--cases where a parent steals his child's identity rather than clearing up his own credit--is a criminal matter. Local law enforcement sometimes fails to address this crime because it mistakenly thinks that the relationship between thief and victim makes the crime a family law matter rather than a criminal matter.


If a minor child's identity is stolen by a family member, it is up to the child's parent or parents to address the issue with authorities. The parent should order a copy of the child's credit report and highlight discrepancies. The parent is responsible for contacting police as well as credit agencies to clear up identity theft problems.

The Necessity of Police Reports

A victim may be reluctant to file a police report if the identity thief is a member of her immediate family--a child, spouse or parent. However, federal and state laws say that a person must file a police report in order to avail himself of legal protection against identity theft. The victim or her parent, if the victim is a minor, can attempt to resolve the issue with the credit bureaus, but without a police report, the credit bureaus may not have sufficient evidence to accept the claim. In addition, if an adult does not file a police report or otherwise attempt to stop the identity thief, she can legally be considered a co-conspirator in the theft.

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