When someone else’s information or credit accounts appear on your credit report, you likely are dealing with a mixed credit file. Even simple errors—like a misspelled name or a mixed-up digit on a Social Security number—can cause the credit bureaus to merge your credit history with someone else’s. Read on to get answers for some of the most common mixed file FAQs, so you know how to handle this common yet damaging error.
Why do mixed credit files occur?
There are several reasons why your credit history can be mixed up with someone else’s. Some of the common causes of mixed credit files include:
- Data Entry Errors. The credit bureaus deal with mountains of information every day—due to the sheer volume of data, along with manual entry processes, mistakes are bound to happen. From simple typos to misspelled names or incorrect digits in a Social Security number, even tiny mistakes can cause confusion and lead the credit bureaus to merge your information with another person’s. In some cases, creditors may make other mistakes like failing to update records after a dispute, incorrectly assigning an authorized user ownership of an account, etc.
- Similar Names. The credit bureaus can confuse your information with someone else’s based on a similar name. This is especially true if you share the same name with a family member and you live at the same address.
- Name Changes. If you’ve legally changed your name for any reason, the credit bureaus may have trouble matching your new name to your existing information. This can cause a mixed file or even the creation of another credit file.
- Personal Errors. Remember to always stay consistent with how you input your name on credit applications. If you use a shortened version of your name or go by your middle name, it could create confusion for the credit bureaus that lead to a mixed credit report.
Is a mixed credit file a sign of identity theft?
In many cases, a mixed credit file and identity theft are similar situations. If you notice unfamiliar accounts on your credit report, it could be caused by two things. Either the credit reporting agencies have merged your credit history with someone else’s (mixed file), or someone else is opening accounts in your name (identity theft). Both situations are very serious, which is why you should contact Boss Law as soon as you spot these discrepancies on your credit report.
How can I fix a mixed credit file?
You can fix a mixed credit file on your own, although it isn’t recommended. The major credit reporting agencies deal with thousands of disputes and inquiries each day, so going through the process on your own can be time-consuming and stressful. It involves the following steps:
- Contacting the credit bureaus. Start the dispute process by identifying any information on your credit report that doesn’t belong to you. You’ll need to contact each credit bureau to verify your identity and provide proof of the error.
- Contacting the creditors. If the error isn’t due to a data entry mistake on behalf of the credit bureaus, you’ll need to contact the creditors who reported incorrect information. You’ll need to let them know they’ve made a mistake. By law, creditors and credit bureaus are obligated to conduct a free investigation and must correct mistakes when they find them, but going it alone is never easy. And the longer you wait for the credit bureaus and creditors to do their due diligence, the more harm could be done to your creditworthiness and your financial reputation.
Am I entitled to financial compensation for a mixed credit file?
The major credit reporting agencies have faced thousands of lawsuits related to the mixed file problem—it’s not a new phenomenon. You’re protected under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a law that holds the credit bureaus responsible for damages that a consumer suffers from credit reporting errors, including a mixed credit file. That’s why working with an expert credit dispute attorney is so important when fixing a mixed file.
At Boss Law, we’ll tirelessly pursue compensation for your financial and emotional damages that result from credit reporting errors, whenever applicable. The best part—there’s no cost to you unless we recover for you.
Errors on Your Credit Report? Contact Boss Law Today
Your credit report should contain only information that belongs to you. A mixed credit file can have a significant impact on your finances—in both the short- and long-term. The team of expert credit dispute attorneys at Boss Law is standing by to help. We’ll expedite the dispute process, fixing mixed file errors and pursuing compensation for your damages, whenever applicable. Call us today at (727) 877-3188 for your free, no-risk consultation.