Has Your Credit File Been Mixed With Someone Else?
If one of your credit reports contains names, addresses, a variation on your social security number, a mortgage, credit card accounts, installment loans, student loans or any other information that does not belong to you, you may believe that you are a victim of identity theft.
If this information is reported on all three of your credit reports, then that may be the case. However, if the information is only reporting on one of your credit reports, it is more likely that your credit report has been mixed with someone else and that you have what is referred to as a “mixed credit file.” Mixed credit files are actually very common and the Credit Reporting Agencies have been aware of this problem for decades. Unfortunately, once your credit file has been mixed, it is very difficult for you to fix it on your own.
A mixed file generally happens when two individuals with either a similar first name or last name live in the same state or have a social security number wherein 7 out of 9 numbers match. Once this occurs, it can be very difficult for you to even obtain a copy of your credit report.
The first step is to obtain a copy of your credit reports. To do that, it is best for you to order your reports by mail (you can download the form online). If your credit report is mixed, it is likely that at least one of the Credit Reporting Agencies will request that you send in proof of your identity and address. It is okay to provide this information but we recommend that you mail it either via priority mail or certified mail so that you can track delivery.
Examples Of Mixed Credit Files
If you have obtained a copy of your credit report you may be asking, “How can I tell if my credit report has been mixed?” Here are just some of the things you can look for:
- Alternative names that you do not recognize;
- Addresses where you have never lived;
- Multiple dates of birth;
- Similar social security numbers or a note on the report those shows a “variation” of your SSN;
- Credit cards accounts that do not belong to you OR two or more accounts with the same creditor when you only have one account;
- Two or more mortgages;
- Student loans that are not yours;
- Automobile loans or leases that are not yours; and
- Any collection accounts that you do not recognize.
Our Attorneys Are Standing By Ready To Help You Fix Your Credit Report And Obtain Damages On Your Behalf
Consumers can live with a mixed credit report for years before ever learning of the problem. As a result, you may have paid higher mortgage interest rates, higher credit card interest rates, increased insurance costs, received fewer credit offers, been denied a job or even lost your security clearance.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a Federal consumer law that gives consumers rights against the credit reporting agencies, as well as furnishers of information, for credit report errors like mixed credit files. If your credit report is mixed, the FCRA entitles you to recover actual damages for any higher interest rates, credit denials or lost job opportunities you may have suffered. The FCRA also allows you to recover actual damages for any physical sickness, worry, frustration and embarrassment you have suffered as a result of the mixed file.
Your Attorney’s Fees Are Paid By The Credit Reporting Agency
The FCRA gives victims of mixed credit files and other inaccuracies the right to attorney’s fees for correcting and restoring their credit and fighting the credit reporting agencies. If you have someone else’s credit on your report, you may be entitled to have your fees paid by the other side. The attorneys at Hays Cauley, P.C., have helped numerous clients who have suffered harm due to a mixed credit file and we are ready to help you today. We are so confident we can help, we do not charge a fee unless we recover money on your behalf.