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Question: How can I remove a judgment when it is the result of identity theft? We have just found out that a company that we know nothing about was awarded a judgment against my wife. We know this is identity theft. We filed a police report and a report with the FTC. Someone used my wife’s Social security number but it isn’t my wife’s. How do we handle this? Unfortunately, they are assuming we are guilty and are treating us as such. But this is identity theft.
Answer: Get a copy of the court file and find out what it shows regarding service of process. If your wife (as opposed to the identity thief) was not served, file a motion to quash with supporting affidavits and documentation showing that she was not served. There is a corroboration requirement; for example, if the address of service was not hers, you need a lease or deed showing where you did live. You may want to get an attorney to do this.
A judgment obtained without service of process is void and can be attacked at any time. However, you should act as quickly as possible.
Your wife should immediately obtain all 3 of her credit reports and see if there is anything on them that is not hers. If so, fill out the identity theft affidavit on the form prescribed by the FTC (www.ftc.gov) and send it and the police report to each of the 3 credit bureaus with a list of what is not hers and a request that the items be removed. Send it in writing, rather than using the bureaus’ web sites.