Can I be Charged with Identity Theft for Using my Deceased Husband’s Credit Card?

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“My husband died more than 8 years ago. I used one of his credit cards and made payments all of this time. Recently my financial situation has changed and I quit making the full payments. The credit card company is threatening to report me law enforcement for identity theft if I don’t sign a statement indicating that I will take full responsibility for this debt. They want me give all my personal information and have it notarized. Do I have to do this?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

The credit card company is just trying to protect their interests by bullying you into signing an explicit statement of responsibility where the responsibility is already implicit. The reality is that you have assumed responsibility for your husband’s account by using it and there’s very little chance you could avoid liability for charges you made to the account. By the same token, it’s highly unlikely that any prosecutor would consider identity theft charges in this sort of situation, especially since you paid the bills until recently. You should contact a bankruptcy attorney and explore your options.

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Author: Ray Everett-Church, Esq.

Ray Everett-Church is a privacy and security consultant with PrivacyClue LLC and is co-author of "Internet Privacy for Dummies"