One of the most common credit reporting mistakes is a merged credit report. A merged credit report is a report that has someone else’s information reported on your credit file. It is not the result of fraud but a mistake by the credit reporting agency or your creditors causing your information to merge with that of another.
There are a variety of reasons that a credit report can be merged. Having the same or similar name to a family member is a reason for a merged credit report, like a Jr. or Sr. Consumers with common names may find their report can be merged with someone with the same name, especially if those people lived in the same town. Consumers with similar social security numbers may find their reports merged because of clerical errors, such as inputting a wrong number when submitting an application for credit. Co-signers may find their credit reports merged with the individual with whom they co-signed.
Finding out that your credit report is merged with another individual may take a little bit of work on your end. It is not always obvious that your report is merged. Most often it is not noticed unless the consumer sees a number of accounts that they are quite positive they had nothing to do with. Sometimes people get scared and think it is identity theft. So if you see inaccurate information on your report, it is always good to dispute and inquire with the credit reporting agencies directly to find out if the information belongs to you or to someone else.
Ultimately, correcting a merged report is not a lot different from just correcting a report with inaccuracies. A consumer must send a dispute to the credit bureaus identifying each item on the report that is incorrect. This includes aliases for names, addresses that are incorrect, or any trade-line/account that is not recognized. If you are aware that this information of a family member with the same or similar name is on your report, you should notify the credit bureau in your dispute that you beleive your file is merged with this person. The bureaus should know how to separate the two.
In an effort to avoid a merged credit report, try to keep consistency in your personal information when opening accounts or submitting applications for credit. If you believe your rights have been violated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and you would like the advice or assistance of counsel, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.