Credit Building for Domestic Violence Survivors


Addressing Coerced Debt

Has an intimate partner ever convinced or pressured you to borrow money or buy something on credit when you didn’t want to? And threaten consequence for saying “no”?

What is Coerced debt? It is debt obtained in a survivor’s name by the abuser in a domestic abuse/violence relationship via fraud or duress.


Step 1: Understand

What is coerced debt and does it affect me? Click here to learn more!

Step 2: Protect

How do I protect myself from financial abuse? Click here to learn more!

Step 3: Discover

How do I know if I have coerced debt? Click here to learn more!

Step 4: Dispute

How do I dispute different kinds of coerced debt? Click here to learn more!

Step 5: Defend

What do I do if I am sued for debt that isn’t mine? Click here to learn more!

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act – 15 U.S.C. §1681 governs the reporting of information by consumer reporting agencies, including nationwide credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

A block of coerced debt is the best remedy, but to obtain a block, need an identity theft report as defined in 15 USC § 1681a(q)(4):

  • An identity theft report is also necessary if the victim wants to place an extended fraud alert on her file.

Obtaining a police report is crucial for the victim to be able to assert these protections.


Fair Credit Billing Act

The Fair Credit Billing Act – 15 U.S.C. §§ 1631 et seq governs disputes over credit cards – including unauthorized use.

Provides mechanism for victims of coerced debt to dispute an unauthorized account or unauthorized charges – requires that creditors actually investigate the victim’s claims.

A creditor cannot simply deny a claim of unauthorized use  because the victim was married to an abuser or was in a romantic relationship.


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