Can I do something legally if my mother opened a credit card in my name and now my wages are being garnished?

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Can I do something legally if my mother opened a credit card in my name and now my wages are being garnished?

My mother opened the card 10 years ago and never paid any of the amount charged (after multiple attempts to collect the debt from her). I was notified of the card 3 years ago, when they sued me. I asked her about it and she admitted opening up the account and making the charges. She agreed to go to court and pay it. It was never paid. Now I have received more legal paperwork from a law firm and signed by a judge, garnishing my wages for the debt. What do I do?

Asked on August 17, 2011 Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should speak to an attorney. In theory, if someone opened a card in your name without your permission, you are not responsible for the charges. However, complicating the matter is:

1) If you have not previously disclaimed or denied that it was your charge, it may be difficult to do so now, after at least 3 years (since you first found out) have passed. Your silence (if you did not act) may be taken to have acknowledged and accepted the debt.

2) You may have to report your mother to the police and press charges--when someone claims that another person stole from them (including identity theft and opening an account in their name), in order to avoid a debt, it is often required that they "put their money where their mouth is," so to speak, and report the alleged thief for theft.


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