|Pammila Phillis is a staff writer for
offers a consumer report of US credit cards and instant online approvals. Named
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Citizens for Fair Credit Card Terms, Inc.
reports contain errors on a regular basis.
So, before applying for new credit or beginning your credit
repair journey make sure that all of the information contained in
your credit report is yours.
for such mixes include:
name. For example,
a father and son who live at the same address, or who don’t
add “Sr.” or “Jr.” when completing
officers make clerical mistakes.
For example, spelling names wrong, transposing social
security numbers when pulling the credit report, or even
entering incorrect addresses.
reporting data to the Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) personal
information is entered incorrectly.
For example, an address at which you never lived.
married, the social security number of the incorrect spouse is
entered. This is
not good because each credit report should be individual.
What can happen is a merged credit report resulting in
for children or other people.
Sometimes the lender will match the social security
number with the wrong person.
with the same name mixed at the CRA's
side. For example,
John L Smith and John M Smith all is the same except
the middle initial. This is a very common mistake.
is not easy finding these mistakes, but if you know you see
information that does not belong to you, then call the CRA
specifically to ask, “Is my file mixed?”
pull three bureau credit reports through different systems.
Sometimes the system has the capability
to pull in mixed reports or split files, which will show the
conflicting information. This is something consumer reports don't
Experian is the best for this because the mix can show two ways.
will show additional names and addresses and possibly
incorrect accounts that are not obvious.
If the consumer gets the chance to review the credit
report and knows something is not right, then the consumer
will have to write directly to Experian
and provide a copy of a driver’s license (with DL number
marked out) and request to un-mix the file.
it is obvious showing additional social security number of
the other individual mixed on the file. Fix the same way by
writing to the CRA with request to un-mix the file.
On the mortgage side when the files are split, the files are
received as Equifax 1 and Equifax 2.
What is different is that on the credit report are two
credit scores, one for each file. But it is all merged on the
mortgage reports. These
are very complicated.
may very well be all of the consumer’s information that
just got split because two names were used.
For example, a married name versus maiden name.
If that is the case, Equifax advises to add both
scores and divide by two for the end score to be used. But
also follow up informing Equifax that the file needs to be
splits may be by common name, for example father and son,
where there are two people making up the files. These need
to be unmixed.
using and pulling their personal credit report on a daily
basis from monitoring services can cause problems, compiling
soft hits to the credit report.
If the file gets too large, Equifax cannot handle it
and will result in a split file. Some accounts will show on
one credit report while other accounts show on another
Like Equifax, TransUnion
doesn't show additional social security numbers, only additional
names, addresses, and possible accounts that don't belong. The
consumer must contact TransUnion
with a copy of their driver’s license in order to update the
So, depending on
the vender and software used, besides the type of creditor,
different things can result when trying to pull credit reports.
Sometimes it just looks like you have no credit history, and other
times it mixes other people’s credit reports right in with yours.
If creditors don't know to look for the warning signs, they
will flat out decline credit because they think it was all your
credit that was bad.
The CRA’s don't go first and foremost
by the social security number.
Listed below is how the repositories assign importance to
this information (from most important to least important).
Notice the SSN is not the most important (Information
provided by California Association of Mortgage Brokers, Orange
County Chapter, “Shedding Light on Credit Scoring” by the NAMB
Credit Scoring Committee Chair, March 12, 2002):
With this in mind,
understand that it is quite easy for the creditors to mix consumer
files. Even if you
catch this and fix it completely, it can happen again.
You must take precautions to just use one deviation of spelling your
name, especially if you have a father and son with similar names
living at the same address.
Finally, be sure to obtain a copy of your credit report at least
once a year or 60 days prior to applying for credit so you can catch
and fix mistakes in time.