This is something frustratingly despicable I just learned about. Thieves stealing the identities of people who are currently homeless. The homeless individuals most often don't have a clue that it happened, until much later. Years may go by until they finally start getting things together, and then realize that someone stole their identity a long time ago and now their credit is ruined. The fact that they did not act immediately to resolve the situation while money was being borrowed in their name makes it all the more difficult to resolve later. A lot of apartments will not even rent to tenants with bad credit histories. (The reasoning is that if they didn't pay their debts before, how do the apartment company know the tenant will pay when their rent comes due, or if there's damage to the apartment. And in general they consider people with bad credit histories to be more risky people all around) Then it becomes impossible to borrow money on a house if your credit has been ruined. For a formerly homeless person, that's most likely going to put homeownership out of bounds, even in areas that have a lot of cheap housing. A ruined credit history could act to keep them homeless. And identity thieves love targeting the homeless. It's very unlikely anyone's going to find out. These people are on the streets, they're not paying attention to their finances in banks. Most of them don't have a bank account or credit card. Imagine your record states that you borrowed $10,000, you never paid it back, that debt has now grown to $40,000 with fees and interest, and now 6 years later you're trying to dispute it and prove you weren't the one who actually borrowed that money. For someone who is only recently getting out of homelessness, most likely they don't have that much money or are not earning much money. $10,000 to them is more like $100,000, if that gives you a better understanding of the situation.