Identity theft is becoming a good deal more common. It’s not supposed to be easy to pull off in Arkansas, but it happens. In many ways, it’s something of a race between the ne’er-do-wells committing the theft and consumers playing catch-up. The struggle to protect accounts with unbreakable passwords and personal identification numbers can be daunting. Failure can result in sudden trouble and a need for swift debt relief.

Evidence of identity theft often surfaces quickly. An odd charge shows up on your bill and a flag goes up. Sometimes, your credit card issuer spots something out of the ordinary and it acts to shut down the card. Then, you’re informed your current card is no longer usable and that a new one will be arriving in the mail soon.

The worst cases can be much more devastating, as was on display in a recent item on Bankrate.com. A woman’s credit and checking account information was stolen at some point last year, but she didn’t find out about it until January of this year. By the time she did, her bank account had been frozen and she was unable to pay her usual bills. Interest rates on credit cards began to soar. Minimum payment requirements did too.

She’s permanently disabled and the theft and the effort to fix her situation only made her physical condition worse. She wondered if seeking bankruptcy protection would help.

There may be no easy answer to the question. Every case is different and the particular circumstances in play in each case influence whether filing for bankruptcy is even a possibility. Certain eligibility requirements have to be met, depending on the form of bankruptcy being considered.

Regardless of whether bankruptcy is an option, what is clear is that when theft occurs some action is required to begin fixing damage to consumer credit. That requires a plan, and formulating one that works to spot and close all the holes that the theft opened up can be daunting. Speaking with experienced legal counsel, especially if the initial consultation is free, is always recommended.