I have an odd situation. 5 years ago, I helped my (very financially irresponsible) parents move to a new house, and stayed a few months to help them settle in. Unbeknownst to me, when they set up the utilities, all provided by the city, the city asked for names and SSNs of all occupants, and they provided mine. I moved across the country a few months later and haven’t spoken with them since for some very good reasons.
Earlier this year I checked my credit report for the first time and discovered a debt of $ 1300 owed to the city. A few phone calls revealed they had accumulated $ 1300 in unpaid utility bills and bailed, and the city claims they can hold me responsible for the debt unless I can prove with a utility bill from elsewhere that I was not living there at the time. I don’t understand how I can be responsible for debt I didn’t authorize, sign for, or even know about.
The credit reporting bureaus all tell me that to remove the account from my report, I would need to file a police report against my parents alleging identity theft, and press charges against them. I hesitate to do that because I asked the city official I spoke to on the phone if they had informed my parents that all occupants would be held equally responsible for any debt accrued, and he stated that it is not policy to do so. Also, the official stated that no documents were signed because the verbal contract was all they needed. So even though I have no doubt that they would have provided my info anyway, I can’t really see this as a case of identity theft on their part.
Does anyone know what my options are here?