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Is it criminal to call a creditor pretending to be someone else?

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  • Is it criminal to call a creditor pretending to be someone else?

    I know that's a strange question, and I'm thinking it's not criminal per se, but I'm wondering if anyone has ever had a situation like this. My parents (late 60's) are in the process of getting divorced. My father has blown ALL of their money, supposedly including all 401Ks, etc. and the house my mother is living in is in danger of being foreclosed because she allowed him to use it (it was inherited from her parents) as collateral and he isn't paying the loan. He claims not to be working (lives with his gf) but we know he has been under the table.

    ANYWAY....he has significant debt and defaults, and will likely be declaring bankruptcy in the next year. My mom is NOT on his credit cards, and creditors have pretty much quit calling her, as she has passed his new number and address on to them.

    Today she got a phone call from a debt collector on my dad's $16K credit card bill to "confirm the details" of a payment she supposedly called them yesterday and promised to make. A woman called the collector, identified herself as my mom and said she was cashing out a 401K and would be overnighting payment for the full balance. My mom explained she had never made that call and certainly didn't have the funds (or inclination) to pay my dad's debt. She called my father and he admitted he had his gf call in to the agency, identify herself as my mother, and make the other statements, but claims that they lied to the agency about the intended payment, and that they were only getting the balance for the bk paperwork.

    Now we are skeptical about his explanation because a) there's no reason he shouldn't know how much he owes, as bill collectors contact him day and night, and b) even if he DID need the info, it would be completely out of date by the time he files, because he is waiting to file 'til after the divorce is final, which won't be for months.

    My husband and brother both immediately asked if this was criminal on the part of my dad and his gf. Mom tried to contact her lawyer, but had to leave a message, so I just thought I'd pop in here and see if anyone here had any thoughts, since you've all been so helpful to us in the past.

  • #2
    I very much doubt that it's a crime. No harm, no foul. Just another annoyance in a long parade of aggravation.
    Your poor mother. Go give her a big hug.

    Keep On Smilin'

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by keepsmiling View Post
      I very much doubt that it's a crime. No harm, no foul. Just another annoyance in a long parade of aggravation.
      Your poor mother. Go give her a big hug.
      Thanks -- that's what I was thinking, too. Dad and gf didn't really *do* anything, and even the collection agency said the gf posing as my mom and making promises didn't legally obligate anyone to anything. Everything's just so hinky and weird, and I guess at this point nothing should surprise us, but this little nugget really threw us all for a loop today!

      And I will definitely pass on the hug to my mom -- she has been a real trooper through all of this nuttiness!

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      • #4
        I feel very much for you and your poor mother. I hope she has a good attorney! And please pass another hug along...
        "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

        "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

        Comment


        • #5
          I guess I would have to disagree. To me, this sounds like a mild form of identity theft and is a serious matter.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by daveinIL View Post
            I guess I would have to disagree. To me, this sounds like a mild form of identity theft and is a serious matter.
            The problem is, how will the mother and children get their State's Attorney to take the case? As you said, it appears to be a 'mild form', and the SA usually has bigger cases to prosecute. At least that is the way it is here. We tried very hard to get any form of Law Enforcement to investigate the cyber bully and stalker that bedeviled us for nine years. But no, not serious enough.

            I happen to think the cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, and character assassination are VERY serious, but LEO would not do anything to help us. It took a massive heart attack followed by stroke and kidney failure to stop the creature.
            Last edited by AngelinaCat; 01-09-2013, 09:28 AM.
            "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

            "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by daveinIL View Post
              I guess I would have to disagree. To me, this sounds like a mild form of identity theft and is a serious matter.
              Possibly but not likely. Did I understand that 'Dad' is going to liquidate the 401? He is in bk? That would be hiding funds as well as theft of Mom's half of retirement that she in most states is entitled to. This could go badly for Dad and an AP could be a good choice for Mom. Has the divorce been filed?

              Karma is a B*tch and Dad will end up losing his wife and gf in the end. He will die alone and broke. Not a tear for him. 'Hub
              If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by AngelinaCatHub View Post
                Possibly but not likely. Did I understand that 'Dad' is going to liquidate the 401? He is in bk? That would be hiding funds as well as theft of Mom's half of retirement that she in most states is entitled to. This could go badly for Dad and an AP could be a good choice for Mom. Has the divorce been filed?

                Karma is a B*tch and Dad will end up losing his wife and gf in the end. He will die alone and broke. Not a tear for him. 'Hub
                It may only be "slightly" illegal (there is no such thing as slightly) but I agree that enforceability would be near impossible.

                If there is any though of a potential future AP initiated by the mom, then I would definitely file a police report as a matter of documentation and providing a future paper trail.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by daveinIL View Post
                  It may only be "slightly" illegal (there is no such thing as slightly) but I agree that enforceability would be near impossible.

                  If there is any though of a potential future AP initiated by the mom, then I would definitely file a police report as a matter of documentation and providing a future paper trail.
                  Good idea. However, might not fly as it is a civil action to blow away a 401, and a stretch at being a felony as they are still married. I have to admit this is a tough question. A lot depends on timing. There will always be a paper trail and if a bulk amount was taken out, the tax hit would be great. 'Hub
                  If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I appreciate everyone's thoughts very much! I don't think dad has any 401K left to liquidate ... it's our understanding that he already liquidated everything and SPENT IT ALL. Took the tax hits and forged mom's e-signature on the returns (we have copies now). However, on the off-chance that there IS a plan in place to pay off that card, mom will be calling once a week to check on any activity. She also hopes to speak to her attorney today and fill her in on everything and see if any legal steps need to or can be taken re: the gf impersonating mom to creditors.

                    The divorce is already in process; of course dad is pleading poverty even though he's been collecting social security, unemployment, and under-the-table wages for months. Mom works in a commercial kitchen 10 hours a week for $8/hr and gets $1K/month from social security, so dad has decided she has "plenty" and has passed nothing on to her. As you might imagine, he and I are no longer on speaking terms.

                    Since the divorce is moving forward and dad has already lied on interrogatories, I fully believe that he is accumulating plenty of rope and mom just has to hold on a bit longer til he hangs himself.
                    Last edited by brennan; 01-09-2013, 12:05 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So sorry to hear how your mom is being harassed and abused, Brennan! Please send her hugs from me - although you don't know me, I wish you every success in getting these matters cleared up and your mom to have some peace and stability again.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PANSYFACE View Post
                        So sorry to hear how your mom is being harassed and abused, Brennan! Please send her hugs from me - although you don't know me, I wish you every success in getting these matters cleared up and your mom to have some peace and stability again.
                        That's very kind of you. Good wishes are always appreciated! She is a faith-filled woman and I believe that is what's getting her through this (and hopefully the support from my brother's family and mine is helping too!).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by keepsmiling View Post
                          I very much doubt that it's a crime. No harm, no foul. Just another annoyance in a long parade of aggravation.
                          Your poor mother. Go give her a big hug.
                          I did some quick research and I think you are right. I found impersonation laws for a few states and they all require that harm be caused for it to be a violation of the law.
                          LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                          Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                          $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LadyInTheRed View Post
                            I did some quick research and I think you are right. I found impersonation laws for a few states and they all require that harm be caused for it to be a violation of the law.
                            Thanks for that! I am usually a pretty good Google detective, but I wasn't finding much.

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