A mixed credit file is created when a credit bureau’s database combines information that belongs to more than one person. This can lead to errors, including names, phone numbers, addresses, and credit account details. People who share common names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, or addresses may be more likely to have this happen to them.
If you believe that your credit report contains information belonging to someone else, you should submit a dispute to all of the credit bureaus with incorrect information.
In your dispute, be sure to identify which pieces of information do not belong to you. This may include items such as addresses, other identification info, and credit accounts.
To verify your identity, you will need to provide certain documentation. The required documents depend on the information being disputed. However, some of the potentially required information includes:
- Your complete name, including middle name and suffix (e.g. Jr., Sr., II, III)
- Your date of birth
- Your Social Security number
- The current address – with apartment number if applicable
If you have any idea who the false information might belong to, such as a family member, please inform the credit bureau since it could help them resolve your dispute more quickly.
A mixed file is common in the US
You might have a mixed credit file for several reasons, one of them possibly being that you share a last name with someone.
Did you know that there are more than 2.4 million people in the U.S. who share the last name, Smith? There are more than 3.3 million people in the US with the first name John and 1.8 million with the first name David.
Same family, similar names
You might find yourself with a mixed credit file if you share your name with someone else, which is common among family members. For example, John Smith Jr., who lives at the same address as his father does – could end up having access to financial and other information as well. Be mindful of your family members and their credit information and be sure to check information belonging to others to ensure credit histories and inaccurate data or errors don’t happen to land on mixed files between you.
Common date of birth
According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University, September 16 is the most common birthday in the US.
A recent study showed that 1 in 3 Americans have moved within the past 5 years.
Victim of identity theft
In 2018, 14.4 million people were victims of identity theft, which equates to about 1 person every 2 seconds. Identity theft can happen to anyone, and it can be particularly devastating if it results in a mixed credit file.
If your name is spelled differently on different accounts or documents, a credit bureau might create a mixed credit file for you. For example, if your legal name is Jeffrey but you sometimes use the nickname Jeff, you could end up with two separate files – one for Jeffrey and one for Jeff.
How do I fix a merged credit report?
The first step in fixing a merged credit report is to order all three of your credit reports. Next, review each report carefully to identify which pieces of information do not belong to you. Once you have gathered this information, you will need to submit a dispute to each of the credit bureaus that has incorrect information.
In your dispute, be sure to include which pieces of information are not yours. You will also need to include documentation to verify your identity.
What are the 3 types of credit reports?
There are three major types of credit bureaus:
Each credit report contains different information, and some lenders will look at all three when considering a loan or credit card application. However, mixed credit files can occur on any of these reports.
Some apps will show reports from Equifax and TransUnion, while others will display credit information from all three, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These credit agencies report on consumer credit per the Fair Credit Reporting Act and are the best way to find out inaccurate information on your accounts.
Why do I have 2 names on my credit report?
There are a few possible explanations for why you might have two names on your credit report. One possibility is that you have a common name, and the credit bureau has mistakenly merged your information with someone else’s. Another possibility is that you are a victim of identity theft, and the imposter has used your information to open new accounts in your name.
Can you merge credit scores?
No, you cannot merge credit scores. Each person has a credit score, which is based on their credit history. However, if you have a mixed credit file, your score may be lower than it should be. This is because the incorrect information on your report can negatively impact your score.
Is Credit Karma accurate?
Credit Karma is a website that provides free credit scores and reports. While Credit Karma is a useful tool, it is important to remember that it is not 100% accurate. This is because Credit Karma uses a different credit scoring model than many lenders. As a result, your Credit Karma score may be different than the score a lender uses when considering your application.
If you’re trying to fix a mixed credit file, it’s important to pull your reports from all three major credit bureaus. This will give you the most accurate picture of your credit history and help you identify any incorrect information.
Can I fix a combined credit report?
Fixing a combined credit report is similar to fixing any other type of credit report error. If a person’s credit is inaccurate from the reporting agency report, whether it is credit cards showing up that are not supposed to be on the consumer’s credit report, if someone else’s information is being reported, or if the error is from a similar social security number, consumers have the right to know their credit information and what could be mixed with someone else.
Effects of a mixed file
A mixed file can have several negative effects on your credit. First, it can make it difficult to get approved for new credit and possibly be denied. This is because lenders will see the incorrect information on your report and may believe that you are a higher-risk borrower.
Additionally, a mixed file can cause your credit score to drop, which can lead to higher interest rates and make it difficult to qualify for new credit. Having the correct data and identifying information is critical to your credit history.
Finally, a mixed file can stay on your credit report for up to seven years, which can impact your ability to get new credit during that time.
FTC and FCRA
The Federal Trade Commission and FCRA laws are in place to protect consumers and hold reporting agencies accountable. The information on your credit, mixed files, accounts with similar names, reports with someone else’s information, and consumers who happen to have inaccurate debt reporting on credit histories, are just a few errors to keep an eye on.
What to do next?
If you find that you have a mixed credit file, the best thing to do is to dispute the errors with the credit bureaus. You can do this by contacting each bureau directly and providing documentation that proves the information on your report is incorrect.
It’s important to remember that you have the right to accurate credit information, and credit bureaus are required to investigate any errors you identify. By taking action to fix a mixed credit file, you can help improve your credit score and get on the path to better credit health.
Contact an FCRA attorney
If you find that you have a mixed credit file, it’s important to know your rights and options. An experienced FCRA attorney can review your case and help you determine the best course of action. They can also assist with filing a dispute with the credit bureaus and taking legal action against anyone who has violated your rights.