Inheriting debt in America: Parents defrauding their kids
July 24, 2015
Pushed to the edge by rising energy costs, some parents are racking up bills using their kids’ identities
This is not just about relatives who steal information from adult family members for financial gain. In some cases, parents struggling financially end up using the identities of their children to keep the family afloat. For example, a power company will eventually turn off the electricity after a family fails to pay the electric bill. So parents sometimes wipe the slate clean by opening another account in a child’s name. In other words, they take a step that the law considers fraud to help keep the lights on or the phone working. But not only is this illegal, it also can have serious financial implications for the child. Because if the bills in the child’s name aren’t paid in full, the child can inheriting debt that will follow him into adulthood. That can mean damaged credit scores and years of trouble trying to make things right. Duarte Geraldino has the story.