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Stressed Black woman paying bills using laptop

Source: JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty

Back in the day, it was not unheard of for parents to open utility accounts in their children’s names. During the ’90s, many stand-up comedians used these scenarios as punchlines to their jokes. People used to get a good ole “keke” behind those stories. However, those children are now adults — many of them with damaged credit. They’re trying to establish their lives, purchase cars, and buy homes, but they can’t because they have a credit history that is less than stellar. Even worse, the only ways that they can improve their financial situation are to either begin paying their way out of debt they didn’t create or turn their parents over to the authorities because these days, the act of putting a bill in your kid’s name is no longer called simply “ghetto,” it’s referred to as identity theft and financial abuse.

Recently, 22-year-old Michael Trichilo Jr. made headlines when he learned that his father had been opening lines of credit in his name since he was 14 years old. According to WNEP, Michael Trichilo Sr. had allegedly accumulated over $120,000 in debt under his son’s name over the last 6 years. Trichilo Jr. first noticed something was wrong a few years ago when he attempted to purchase a vehicle and was turned down for a loan. A quick credit check revealed thousands of dollars in unpaid loans. According to police, evidence suggests that Trichilo Sr., who filed for bankruptcy back in 2015,  was responsible.

Unsurprisingly, the young adult was reluctant to take criminal action against his father, who allegedly promised to make it right. However, after several years of living in financial ruin, Trichilo Jr. turned his father in. Trichilo Sr. was charged with 18 felonies including identity theft and fraud.

Unfortunately, this story is not the least bit unique. Many young adults are finding that they have to dig themselves out of the financial holes their parents have created for them.

“My credit is really bad now,” a college senior in a similar situation told CNN Money. “I’ve had to have a co-signer for every apartment I’ve ever had, I can’t get a credit card and getting any other loans or even a car is going to be very hard.”

She, however, decided not to turn her father over to the authorities.

“It’s just not worth the emotional turmoil,” she said. “But every once in a while I do get so frustrated that I almost go ahead and do it.”

This is such a difficult situation to be in.

Did your parents ever put bills in your name as a kid? Did those decisions impact you financially in your adult life? Let’s talk about it below.

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