Dealing w/ an unscrupulo
06-14-2012 05:07 PM
I've been doing a lot of reading on this forum lately, and seeing how active and helpful the members of this community are, I thought I'd pose a question of my own.
I'm 22 and just graduated from college this past May. In July, I'll be starting a good job in NYC, and will be leaving my parents' home and moving into an apartment of my own. As I enter the professional world, I'd like to start building my credit and get into good financial shape. I know that nothing on a personal level will prevent me from being able to do this - I'm a very diligent person, good at saving and spending, etc. However, I have a rather unscrupulous father who may pose a problem for me with regard to my finances.
My father has a horrible track record with finances (I could go into details, but that would require pages and pages of writing). He did OK for a short period from around 2002 to 2010, when he had a decent full-time job and didn't accumulate any debt. However, he has been unemployed since 2010, and has focused his energy into some business idea. My father claims that his work on building this business will reap some reward, but I highly doubt it, and he seems to be getting more and more desperate for funding to run this ill-fated enterprise. This would be his 4th business since his 30s - the 1st failed utterly - he got into a lot of trouble in our country of origin, and we lost our home there; the 2nd and 3rd also failed utterly, this time after we had moved to the US, causing my father to declare bankruptcy which, according to him, the lawyer screwed up and he ended up having to pay his creditors anyway while the bankruptcy remained on the credit report. In dealing with these problems, my dad received considerable support from his well-off brother and sister, but that was generally after he had stooped to doing lots of immoral things, like issuing bad checks and opening credit card accounts in my mom's name without her knowing.
What worries me now is that, given his current financial shape, my father might try to capitalize on my credit in the coming months and years without my knowledge. After all, just last year, my mom closed three of her credit cards after she found out that my dad had maxed them out without her knowledge. I'm afraid that my dad could open new credit cards in my name and then max them out - as I've mentioned he's done this before to my mom, and he certainly isn't above doing it again to my mom or myself. I've even become paranoid with the mail since I've returned from college - not wanting my dad to get his hands on any credit card offers in my name or my mom's name. I've since opted-out of these types of mailings for both of us, but I'd like to do more to protect myself from my father in the months and years ahead. I've considered putting a permanent freeze on my credit report with all 3 bureaus to prevent any one from checking my credit without my knowledge (for example, to issue a credit card in my name). There would be a fee ($5) to temporarily lift the freeze if I ever needed to (to get a credit card or something), and I wouldn't need to keep the freeze forever - just until I'm fully established with my own family or until the old man keels over, whichever comes first. Of course, I know that if I don't freeze my credit reports or do anything else to protect myself, and my dad opens an account in my name that would constitute ID theft and fraud and can result in him being prosecuted, but I'd rather not go down that avenue. Any suggestions on what I should do? Thanks in advance!