What is a Merged Credit Report?

Often times, one will review their credit report and find information that is completely alien to them.  Accounts or addresses that have no relation to the consumer.  Often, the initial reaction is to assume identity theft – someone got a hold of your information and is ruining your credit.   You may instead be dealing with a merged credit file.

Contrary to what many believe, our credit reports are not sitting somewhere in a file, waiting to be reviewed.  Our credit information is a bunch of data being housed by three main credit reporting agencies, Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax.  These 3 companies house the credit data of hundreds of millions of consumers, both in the United States and abroad.   Creditors send these companies all the information they have on consumers – such as identifying information and account history – to be stored with the credit bureaus.  The credit bureaus receive this information and attempt to place the data in the correct consumer’s profile.   With the number of people being reported, the similarities of names, addresses, and birthdates, mistakes can be made.

When a potential creditor wishes to review a report of a potential customer, it will provide the bureaus with identifying information on that consumer.  The bureaus will go and seek out the profile that matches that request and place the data on a report.  When information goes into the wrong profile, a merged report can occur. That is, the two people who fit into the profile will have their credit information intermingled.  Sometimes one person’s report can disappear entirely into another’s.  Sometimes, its just limited information that mixes.

This sort of occurrence is most common where there are family members with the same name.  Fathers and sons using Jr. and Sr., or twins with similar names fall victim to this problem often.  It’s no reason to panic.  First, immediately notify the credit bureaus of the problem.  Tell them not only that your file appears merged, but also explain each item that is not yours.  The credit bureaus have 30 days to fix it.

Second, call SmithMarco, P.C. the credit bureaus are well aware of this problem and should not be mixing files in the first place.

Larry Smith
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