Your Credit Reports Should Only Contain Information About You.
Your credit reports play a critical role in your financial life. They contain personal information about your credit activity, financial history, employment history, and other personal information. Lenders use your credit reports to determine you eligibility for loans, interest rates, utility services, and even cell phone service. The information in your credit reports should contain only information that belongs to you.
When a stranger's information appears in your credit report, your credit file is mixed. This can damage your credit and have a significant impact on your financial life. Mixed files create a false impression of your credit history. This can lead to a lower credit score, or damaging negative information appearing on your credit report. For example, your credit report could be mixed with unpaid debts, late payment history, inquiries and other information that does not belong to you. This can decrease your credit score, and can disqualify you from loans. And even if it does not harm your credit score, this is still a stranger's information appearing on your credit report. If that stranger misses a payment or stops paying on the account, then your credit report and reputation will be injured.
Additionally, a mixed credit file can result in your confidential personal financial information being wrongfully disclosed to others. Oftentimes if a stranger's information is appearing in your credit file, that indicates your information is appearing in their file. This violates your privacy, and greatly increases the risk of identity theft.
Why Do Mixed Credit Files Occur?
There are many way your credit file can be mixed with someone else's. The root of the problem is the credit bureau's procedures for matching information to a person's identifying information. For example, mixed files typically occur where someone shares a similar name or a social security number that is close to yours. Of course, this is no excuse. The credit reporting agencies should use sufficiently rigorous procedures to ensure information that does not belong to you does not end up on your credit report.
How Do I Fix a Mixed Credit File?
You should regularly check your credit reports to ensure they are accurate. For information about how to obtain your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union, click HERE.
If information on your credit report looks suspicious or does not belong to you, this can be a sign that your file is mixed with someone else's. It can also be a sign of identity theft. You will need to dispute this information directly with the credit bureaus. You should specifically identify each item of information in your credit report that does not belong to you, and explain that you believe you are a victim of a mixed credit file. For more information on how to dispute errors on your credit report, click HERE.
Can I Sue For a Mixed Credit File?
Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union have faced hundreds of lawsuits related to the mixed file problem. This is not a new phenomenon. If a stranger's information is appearing in your credit report, the attorneys at Weiner & Sand LLC can help guide you through the dispute process and evaluate whether litigation is an option for your case.