Separation can stir up all kinds of feelings—sadness, anger, misunderstanding—and even cause people to act out of revenge. With access to your personal information, it’s easy to take advantage.

Joint Accounts & Lines of Credit

Your ex could take advantage of the fact they have access to your joint accounts and joint lines of credit to clear out your shared account or use your line of credit to have a good time.

How to protect and minimize risks
  • Close joint accounts as soon as you can.
  • Pay the balance on your joint line of credit and close it immediately.
  • Don’t use joint credit or debit cards. Spouses should each have their own cards.
  • Don’t choose a password that refers to your personal life. For more information, see the “Passwords and access codes” subsection of the Computer Related Tips page.

Bank Fraud

If your spouse wants to commit bank fraud, you’re an easy target. They have access not only to your credit and debit cards, but also to all kinds of personal information about you that you may have used to create your PIN or password. With this information, your spouse could use your credit cards to clear out your account or pay for a nice vacation somewhere.

How to protect and minimize risks
  • When you move out, take all your personal papers with you.
  • Change all your passwords, especially the ones you use to access online bank services.
  • Cancel your credit and debit cards and get new ones with different numbers.
  • If your ex-spouse had access to your accounts, tell your bank that only you will have access to the account in the future.