What Is a Merged or Mixed Credit File?
A mixed credit file is just what it sounds like – it’s when your credit file at one of the credit reporting agencies becomes mixed with that of another person. This kind of error isn’t very common but when it does occur, it can have devastating effects on the victims and their families.
What does a mixed credit file look like when it happens to you?
If you receive a copy of your credit report and notice any information on it that does not correspond to you, it could mean that your file has been mixed or merged with someone else’s. For instance, you could see credit cards, loans, and even bankruptcy filings on your own credit file which are completely unrelated to your credit history.
The repercussions of these kinds of credit report errors can be completely overwhelming. Unfortunately, the credit agencies can themselves be overwhelmed with a staggering number of credit report error claims. This means that your dispute becomes just one more in a massive backlog, which makes it much more likely to be overlooked if not discarded without even the slightest review.
Why Do Credit Files Become Merged or Mixed?
The population of the United States today exceeds the 300 million mark. And while rating agencies are unlikely to have credit files for each one of those individuals, even if they hold information on half of them, 150 million records is a staggering amount of information. Even a small error rate, for instance, 1%, entails that 1.5 million credit reports could have errors.
In the case of mixed credit files, these errors generally occur due to similar information between individuals, even when the two individuals have never met. For example, the credit files for two “John Smiths” could become merged, even if one of them lives on the West Coast and the other on the East.
Similarly, if you’ve shared a residential address with another person, whether they be a family member or someone who simply has moved into the house which you previously rented, their file may become merged with yours. In this same manner, social security numbers that differ by a single digit can also end up becoming mixed.
With how vital the information on a credit report can be for the individual, you’d think that credit rating agencies would be much more careful in handling records.
And yet, credit files continue to be erroneously merged. How can this be?
The Credit Reporting Business
Well, one must understand that credit agencies are businesses that generate revenue by selling consumer information to financial institutions. These institutions (which are businesses themselves) then issue loans, lines of credit, and more based on this personal and very detailed information. It is beneficial for the credit agency to have as much information on a specific person as possible because it means they can charge more for a profile on an individual; indeed, it directly affects their bottom line. In the end, this can cause small discrepancies in the data, such as single digits in social security numbers or the specific spelling of names, to be overlooked or simply brushed off as an entry error.
These ‘administrative errors’ can turn into years of financial duress for those who are on the receiving end. This makes it absolutely crucial to seek help if you believe you have a mixed credit report.
“Do I Have a Mixed Credit File?”
Determining if your credit file is mixed sounds easy enough, right? You simply look at your credit report and, if there’s any information or accounts on there that don’t belong to you, then you know that your file has been mixed. After that, you can just contact the corresponding credit bureau and have them “un-merge” your credit information from that of the other person.
Regrettably, it is not that simple.
Merged Credit or Stolen Identity?
It’s likely that you’re already familiar with cases in which an individual’s identity is ‘stolen.’ A “stolen identity” speaks to instances where someone may use your personal information, including your name, address, and social security number to open accounts in your name. These accounts can range from utility bills to credit cards and even bank loans.
In the same way that a mixed credit file would show information that doesn’t correspond to you, a case of stolen identity can also produce this same result.
It can be quite difficult to ascertain which of these two possibilities has actually occurred if you find an error on your credit report; on the hand, what is absolutely clear is that, if you find yourself in this position, you need to act quickly to avoid such a financial catastrophe from taking over your life.
Fixing A Mixed Credit File With A Lawsuit
You work hard to maintain your credit as high as possible. Don’t let the mistakes of the credit rating agencies throw all your effort down the drain. Contact our law office today to learn about all of the powerful legal options at your disposal.
Our experienced lawyers will help you pursue a legal claim to have your credit report corrected, your credit score restored, and fight for the compensation that covers the damages you’ve suffered. Our consultations are 100% and without obligation, so you can get the critical legal information you need to make an informed decision for yourself and your dependents.
Whether they’re provided by a bank or by one of the numerous free reporting agencies, consumers in the state of New York and throughout the entire country have more access than ever to their credit scores. This makes it increasingly easier to keep a watchful eye over that three-digit-number that seems to have so much control over our lives.
However, if you’ve come across incorrect information on any of your three credit reports (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) you may have a mixed credit file. This kind of error can cause severe financial damage to your credit score and prevent you from being approved for a loan or even hired in a new job.
When it comes to your credit, acting quickly can prevent you from falling into deeper financial problems. If you’ve recently noticed some erroneous information on your credit file, reach out to our mixed credit file lawyers today for a free consultation.