This has always been a question most people are scared to ask, “Can a spouse be charged with identity theft?” Consider the following scenario: One day, and you go home from work to discover that your spouse has been detained and accused of identity theft.
Although it can sound like a scene from a movie, too many individuals live in this reality. Marriage-related identity theft is indeed on the rise, and you can become the next victim if you’re careless.
If your spouse steals someone else’s identity, you might wonder if you could also face charges.
The answer is possible, and it depends on the situation.
If you were aware of the crime and assisted your spouse in covering it up, you could occasionally be charged as an accessory to it. You could be prosecuted for a crime, for instance, if your spouse used your credit card to make illicit purchases and you assisted them in hiding the statements from you.
You won’t often be held accountable for any crimes your spouse commits without your knowledge, though. You will only be responsible for the debt if your spouse uses your identity to incur much debt with your knowledge.
Even if you’re not accused of a crime, your life would be significantly affected if your spouse steals your identity and destroys your credit.
So it’s advisable always to keep a close eye on your finances and be alert for any unusual activities.
Can a spouse be charged with identity theft
Yes, your spouse can steal your identity, to put it simply. In actuality, identity theft may be committed by anyone who has access to your personal information.
If your spouse has access to your Social Security number, they can open credit lines in your name. Here’s how it works. They may also use your information to file taxes or apply for jobs.
Keeping your personal information secure is the best defense against identity theft, and this calls for safely storing your Social Security number, birth date, and other sensitive information.
The best action is to contact the Federal Trade Commission if you believe your spouse has stolen your identity. They can assist you in making a complaint and restarting your life.
10 ways to spot an identity theft
When your spouse (or ex-spouse) misuses your financial information to perpetrate fraud, this is referred to as spousal identity theft. They may sign documents, create bank accounts, or apply for credit cards without your permission.
Spousal identity theft frequently preys on the common personal bond between spouses, particularly amid an acrimonious argument or separation. Such instability can be visible in several ways, as listed below.
1. Unfamiliar calls from debt collectors:
If unfamiliar debt collection agencies are calling you, it’s possible that your spouse has racked up debts in your name. When someone has access to your personal information, this is a very likely scenario.
2. Authentication messages from your bank:
Your bank frequently sends an authentication message via text message or email to verify the transfer when you attempt to withdraw money from your account. However, if your spouse or another third party made the request, it was likely you who did so.
3. A sudden drop in credit score:
You will face the price if your spouse fraudulently opens additional credit card accounts using your identity while you aren’t paying the bills. When your credit score starts to decline, check your credit history for any unusual activity.
4. Unrecognized transactions on your bank statement:
Make sure to carefully review each transaction on your bank statement whenever you get one. Contact your bank if you observe a strange transaction so that it can be properly investigated.
5. Unexpected credit rejection:
If you apply for a new credit line and fulfill all the conditions, but are still turned down, this may indicate that your credit has been tampered with. Look for any questionable activity on your credit record, then get in touch with your creditor right away.
6. Unapproved benefit claims:
Your spouse may fraudulently apply for unemployment or health benefits on your behalf. They might fake your signature on a loan or other financial documents, for example. Make a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission if you observe this (FTC).
7. Missing or stolen IDs:
Your financial security could be put in danger if you lose your ID. For instance, if your spouse has your driver’s license, they can apply for insurance benefits on your behalf.
8. Unfamiliar package deliveries in your name:
Have you obtained a shipment that you never requested? Your credit card may have been used by someone with access to your personal data. Inform the credit card company over the phone that there has been a fraud.
9. Restricted access to utilities:
If your spouse switches the way that household bills are paid during a separation, your payments might no longer go toward your utilities but rather toward your spouse’s. Your water, electricity, or phone services can be cut off as a result.
10. A warrant for your Arrest:
You can be charged if your spouse falsely uses your identity to commit crimes. If you discover a warrant for your arrest, take legal action by contacting your lawyer for advice. Spousal identity theft is, in fact, illegal.
You should also be aware that if you contemplate committing this offense, you might be prosecuted with a felony and sentenced to up to 15 years in jail.
Identity theft is a serious offense with potential long-term effects on the victim. If you’re considering taking your spouse’s identity, you should know that doing so is illegal and has serious repercussions.
Spousal Identity Theft Texas
In Texas, you might be responsible for your spouse’s activities if they steal someone else’s identity.
That’s true, and you can be responsible for the debt if your partner opens a credit card in your name without your knowledge and charges a significant amount. Even if you were unaware of the identity theft, you could still face criminal charges.
And if you are found guilty, you risk receiving jail time and significant fines. What, then, can you do to safeguard yourself?
First, maintain a close eye on your credit score and financial statements.
Report anything odd you notice right away to the police. It would help if you also thought about blocking fresh account openings by freezing your credit.
Additionally, think about credit freezing, which would stop anyone from creating new accounts in your name. Finally, watch out for warning signs in your relationship.
Your spouse may be planning to conduct identity theft if they frequently request access to your financial information or pressure you to open additional accounts.
What is the Punishment for Identity Theft for Someone You Know
What happens next if you are discovered? The seriousness of the act and the state you reside in determine whether identity theft is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony.
It would be illegal, for instance, to obtain a credit card using your spouse’s details and run up a sizable bill. But it would be a misdemeanor if you used their information to get a new cell phone plan.
Of course, you’ll also be required to compensate the victim if caught and found guilty of identity theft.
This implies that in addition to any fees or interest incurred, you will be required to repay any money that was stolen.
Under several federal legislation, the Department of Justice prosecutes fraud and identity theft cases. Congress, for instance, approved the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act in the fall of 1998.
Due to this legislation, it is now illegal to “knowingly transfer or use, without legal authorization, a means of identifying another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.” 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7) (7).
In most cases, this crime entails a maximum 15-year jail sentence, a fine, and the criminal forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used in the crime.
Plans to commit identity theft or fraud may also involve breaking other laws, including those relating to identification fraud (18 U.S.C. 1028), credit card fraud (18 U.S.C. 1029), computer fraud (18 U.S.C. 1030), mail fraud (18 U.S.C. 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. 1343), and financial institution fraud (18 U.S.C. 1344).
Each of these federal violations is a felony with severe penalties, including up to 30 years in jail, fines, and confiscation of property.
To prosecute identity theft and fraud, federal prosecutors collaborate with Federal investigative organizations like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Identity Theft Marriage
You might not be aware, but you could be held liable if your spouse steals someone else’s identity. That’s right, and you may face criminal charges even if you were unaware of what was happening.
If your spouse engages in identity theft, you could face severe repercussions because it is a serious crime. What, then, can you do to safeguard yourself?
Keep a watchful eye on your finances and credit record first. Speak up if you notice something that doesn’t seem right. Additionally, if you suspect your spouse is committing identity theft, speak with a lawyer who can assist you in defending your rights and your assets.
Being cautious with your personal information is crucial, especially if you’re married or in a committed relationship. Your social security number, birth date, and other vital details should all be kept securely.
Talk to your spouse if you believe they may be accessing your information without your consent. Call the police if you think your spouse is committing identity theft using your personal information.