Why does my ex still have access to my credit card info?

Photo: pixabay.com

Q. I recently discovered that my ex-husband has been using the automated phone system of my credit card company and entering in my personal information to find out my credit card balance, limits and payments. He did not make a purchase or open a new account. He mistakenly believes that money that he owes me as outlined in our divorce agreement is linked to my credit card balance. I called my credit card company but there is no way to stop him from using the automated phone system, so I canceled the card. I filed a complaint with the police but there’s nothing they can do since it’s not considered identity theft. Why don’t privacy laws fully protect against someone accessing and viewing your personal financial information?
— Divorced

A. That’s an ugly situation.

It’s hard to say why identity protection laws aren’t more robust. That’s a question for your legislators.

But based on your situation, you could contact an attorney to look into invasion of privacy issues.

There are four categories to invasion of privacy, said Amber Leach, a certified divorce financial analyst with AXA Advisors/R.I.C.H. Planning Group in Morristown.

They are: (1) unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another, (2) appropriation of another’s name or likeness, (3) unreasonable publicity given to one’s private life, and (4) publicity that normally places another in a false light before the public, she said.

It depends how harmed you think you are, how much further you want to take this and if it is ultimately worth it, Leach said.

Given your situation, we want to highlight the importance of completely separating after divorce.

Oftentimes, this is difficult when kids are involved or joint ownership of an asset continues post divorce, Leach said.

“A joint account may be left open for both parties to contribute to and pay certain designated expenses,” Leach said. “Parenting plans and joint expenses can lead to further involvement with your ex-spouse. This arrangement normally happens when there is a basic level of trust between parties.”

However, without these types of entanglements and with a lack of trust, then it is wise to hit the reset button and completely separate, Leach said.

Post-divorce you might want to take steps to open your own bank account, and as you found out, a new credit card could be wise, too, Leach said.

Hopefully through the divorce process you ran a credit check to make sure he is removed as an authorized user on your cards and you do not have any unknown outstanding debt, Leach said. Many banks offer this service to their clients or you can do it for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.

“The separation should continue with a new cell phone plan and a change on all your passwords to existing accounts,” Leach said. “Also don’t forget to revisit beneficiaries on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies. Working with a financial professional can help you organize these steps.”

Email your questions to .

This story was originally published on June 18, 2021.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.