Protecting Your Identity and Bankruptcy
It's safe to say that filing for bankruptcy is one of the few times in your life when you'll expose every financial detail about yourself. From credit reports to tax returns, no financial stone will be left unturned - and that can lead to some startling discoveries regarding potential identity theft.
Identify theft is rife, and can happen to anyone, regardless of their financial standing. However, as many bankruptcies are prompted by identify theft, it's important for those consumers considering filing for bankruptcy to know their rights, and to identify ways to eliminate the possibility of having their identity stolen during such a delicate time.
So if you want to protect your identity during and after bankruptcy, here's what you need to know:
- Order copies of your credit score to see if any debts have been opened under your name without your knowledge or consent. While bankruptcy courts will dismiss most of your unsecured debts in a Chapter 7 , it's still important to take note of what's going on in terms of finances. If someone has stolen your identity, you need to know - that way, they can't rack up even more debts after you've declared bankruptcy.
- Don't give out any information to debt collectors once you've started bankruptcy proceedings. Legally speaking, debt collectors are not allowed to contact you once you've filed for bankruptcy, so don't cave into any pressure to give up personal information. Simply alert them that you've filed for bankruptcy and should no longer be contacted. If they persist even after that, cut off communications and alert your bankruptcy lawyer immediately.
- It may be wise to invest in a credit monitoring service. While many people operate just fine without credit monitoring services, having a vulnerable financial slate after bankruptcy may mean you need to take extra precautions to protect your identity. Use a credit monitoring service that's available through your bank or credit card lender, as these will offer you the most comprehensive service.
- Finally, ensure that any credit offers you receive online or in the mail are through trusted lenders with a long history of working with bankrupt clients. By being cautious about who you work with, you'll stand a better chance of protecting your identity during such a vulnerable time.
Rebuilding credit after bankruptcy is imperative - don't let identify theft ruin your efforts. Use these tips to protect your identity during and after bankruptcy.