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When the Credit Bureaus Report you as Deceased (1)

Errors on a credit report seem to be fairly common to the average consumer; inaccurately reported payment histories, accounts that don’t belong to you, inaccurate personal information, etc.  But what happens when the credit reporting agencies report you as deceased essentially eliminating your entire credit history, when you are still very much alive?  It is not entirely uncommon for a credit reporting agency to make this mistake and for a consumer to apply for credit and be turned down because they are “deceased”.  

When your credit report says you are deceased, do not fear, this can be fixed, much like any other credit reporting error.  When your report declares you as dead, there is a good chance you have either been a victim of identity theft or your report is merged with another consumer’s and you are going to need to dispute the erroneous report with the bureaus. 

First, pull copies of all three of your credit reports, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union to see how they are reporting.  Next, send a dispute letter to each of the three credit reporting agencies stating you are not deceased contrary to the report and try to include supporting documentation to show you are still alive and making payments, for example a copy of your last paycheck stub or recently cancelled checks from recently paid bills.  Third, send the dispute letters certified mail, or some other form of mailing where you can prove delivery, so you know when the credit reporting agencies received your dispute. 

Upon receipt of your dispute, the credit reporting agencies will investigate and respond to you within 30 days.  Based on their conclusion, you can either reapply for credit or continue with your dispute process should the agencies disagree and still report you as deceased.  In the event you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, contact your local police department and file a police report and contact the credit reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on your credit file.  A fraud alert will ensure that no accounts can be opened in your name using your information without contacting you directly first.  Your last option, if the credit reporting agencies still refuse to update your file to remove the deceased reporting is to file a lawsuit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) for failure to comply with the law by reporting false information after receiving notice of the inaccuracy.  

If you are having problems with your credit report and would like to speak with an attorney, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.  

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