Credit reports are often mixed when two relatives share similar names, social security numbers, and addresses, but they also occur between strangers with only one similarity.

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Often, a credit reporting agency will mix or merge two or more consumers reports who share similar identifying information, like their name, social security number or address. Credit reports are often mixed because of the broad matching algorithms used by the credit reporting agencies when their customers request information on a particular consumer.

For example, if a lender requested information on William A. Smith of Annandale, Virginia, the broad matching criteria used by the credit bureaus may also provide information on William E. Smith of Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Smith of Alexandria may have several unpaid debts on his credit report, which in turn may keep Mr. Smith of Annandale from getting the mortgage he applied for to buy his dream home.

We have seen that credit reports are often mixed when two relatives share similar names, social security numbers, and addresses; however, in certain instances, a mixed file may also occur between strangers with only one similarity. The attorneys in our Consumer Rights Litigation Group have litigated many cases involving mixed credit files. These cases involve litigation against credit reporting agencies based on their failure to use reasonable procedures to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of credit reports a requirement under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Often, even after notice from the consumer that someone else’s information appears on their credit report, the credit reporting agency will not remove the information from the consumer’s credit reports. Many consumers need to commence lawsuits to have these problems fixed. If your credit report contains information that you believe belongs to someone else, please contact us immediately so we can help you get this information off your credit report.