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Maryland Legal Aid Helps Domestic Violence Victims Stop Financial Abuse

Picture: Maryland legal aid protects domestic-violence victims from additional financial abuse. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
Picture: Maryland legal aid protects domestic-violence victims from additional financial abuse. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
April 24, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Some victims of domestic violence in Maryland are dealing with a rare but very serious problem: their abusers are also stealing their identities and cashing in.

A Maryland man kept his wife locked in a room for most of their 10-year marriage, and that wasn't the only abuse. According to Alecia Frisby, a staff attorney for Maryland Legal Aid, he also stole his wife's identity to get credit cards and charged more than $25,000. Once the woman escaped, she had to go to court to clear the debt.

Frisby would not identify her client, but said other domestic-violence victims can learn from her experience.

"Once they are safe, I would advise any victim of domestic violence to get a copy of your credit report," she said. "On your credit report you can find out if any charges have been made that you didn't make."

Victims should notify the credit card companies immediately of any potential problems, Frisby said. Too often, she said, people who have been defrauded are inclined to ignore calls from creditors and throw out the bills.

"That's not the best approach," she said. "You have a good defense."

Frisby also encouraged victims of fraud and domestic violence to get legal help if banks don't respond.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - MD