Scenarios involving mixed credit files are all too common today. A mixed credit file, or mis-merged file, can happen when your credit information is commingled with someone else’s on your credit report. For years, the credit bureaus have been told their methods of matching consumer data is fundamentally flawed, but the often-devastating errors keep happening.
TRUE STORY from Flitter Milz
A Flitter Milz client was denied an auto loan for a car, despite having perfect credit. When he asked the dealership for his credit report, he was shocked to find a negative collection account belonging to his father, who had a similar name, but different date of birth and SSN. A lawsuit was filed for our client against the collection agency and credit bureaus under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for mixing our client’s file with his dad’s. A federal court awarded our client $360,000 plus attorneys fees for continuing to report inaccurate information on his credit reports.
Common mixed file scenarios
1) A parent’s account appearing on their child’s credit file.
2) A child’s debt negatively effecting the parent’s good credit.
3) A total stranger’s delinquent auto loan appears on an innocent consumer’s credit report simply because they share a similar name or social security number.
4) John Q. Public’s criminal conviction in Ohio is listed on John T. Public’s employment screening report in New Jersey, preventing John T. Public from getting a job.
The impact of mixed credit files
Mixed credit files can have a serious affect on your life.
Credit Denials: Credit files that have been mixed between one consumer and another can lead to credit denials for an auto loan, mortgage, education or other personal loan.
Employment Denials: Errors like these can also cause you not to get a job, promotional or security clearance.
Housing Denial: You can also be denied housing, if a landlord relied on an inaccurate credit report.
Steps to address Mixed Credit Files
If you have experienced a credit denial due to a mixed or mis-merged credit file take the following steps.
Step 1: Obtain current credit reports
Write to the main credit bureaus — Transunion, Experian, and Equifax — to request a current copy of your reports, or visit annualcreditreport.com. You may need to provide proof of identity, such as a current driver’s license, utility bill or pay stub to have the reports sent to you.
Step 2: Review your credit reports for accuracy
Review listings on each report as information may vary from one report to another. If you do not recognize accounts or if the information is incorrect, you will need to take steps to get the errors corrected. Common signs of mixed files include:
– Name spelled incorrectly
– Wrong SSN, addresses, or phone numbers
– Wrong employers listed
– Accounts you do not recognize
– Inquiries you don’t recognize
– Public records or judgments from courts in cities you never lived in
– Criminal records that don’t belong to you
Step 3: Gather denial letters and supporting documents
Collect copies of all denial letters received from creditors, employers, or landlords, and all other documents related to the error.
Step 4: Contact qualified Consumer Law Attorneys
Attorneys Cary Flitter, Andy Milz and Jody López-Jacobs are nationally recognized consumer protection lawyers with experience to evaluate your credit reporting problem. There is no cost for the legal review. Contact Us Today. Pictured: Attorneys Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right).