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by Abigail Van Buren

Parent Must Be Accountable for Stealing Child's Identity

DEAR ABBY: I caught one of my parents using my credit card without my authorization. I checked my credit report and found that four other accounts had been opened in my name without my permission. I am furious.

My first impulse was to seek legal action, but I held back. I come from a Chinese/Filipino family. It is considered a matter of family honor not to disgrace or embarrass one another.

I am torn between reporting it and just taking care of it. But if I take care of it, I am enabling my parent to think that I can just clean up the problem and be OK with it.

I sent a letter asking that the balances be paid off. It was ignored. My other relatives aren't willing to get involved. I love my parent very much, but this isn't right. It has already ruined my chances of having a car or home of my own. What should I do? -- DISCREDITED IN ROCKVILLE, MD.

DEAR DISCREDITED: Your parent is guilty of credit card fraud and should be confronted. If you already have, and got nowhere, then treat this like you would any other crime and report the perpetrator to the police. There are legal remedies you can take.

In case you feel you are alone with this problem, I'm sad to say you have a lot of company. It is important that you waste no time in getting this mess straightened out. Please do not for one moment feel guilty about breaching "family honor." That happened when your parent began to fraudulently use your identity.