How Mixed / Split Credit Files Happen and What to Do to Fix
01-08-2013 06:52 PM
A mixed credit file means that another person's credit file has been merged with your credit file. This can cause all kinds of problems. You might be turned down for new credit, if this other person has bad credit. You might be delayed new credit until you can fix the problem and prove to the new lender that you are not responsible for all debt showing on your credit file.
Mixed files can result for a number of reasons.
1. You and your spouse apply for a mortgage loan, but when the loan officer pulled your credit reports he or she accidentally switched the social security numbers. They entered one spouse's number as actually belonging to the other spouse
2. You are a senior or junior living at the same address. If you do not use your full given name, the Credit Reporting Agency is not going to know the difference.
3. If someone tries to apply for new credit using your name or social security number mixed with their personal information.
4. Just having a common name, in this case it might be worth going to the court house and legally changing your name so that it is more unique.
How to fix:
1. You need to send in a written request for the Credit Reporting Agency to separate the mixed files.
a. Include full name
b. Include address
c. Include copy of drivers license
d. Include copy of social security number
e. Include copy of utility bill or phone bill
2. Find out from the Credit Reporting Agency how the file got mixed.
a. Contact the creditor responsible for the incorrect reporting and inform them of the correct information.
b. You may need to send identifying information to prove the accuracy of what you are telling them.
* Even if you fix a credit file once, it does not mean it won't happen again. I hear horror stories from consumers reporting of instances of having to repeatedly contact the Credit Reporting Agency to fix the problem over and over again.
It would be a non-issue if Credit Reporting Agencies used the social security number as the primary identification factor. But not everyone with a credit file has a social security number. So they are left with using zip codes, addresses, names, and then social security numbers. It is an imperfect system that can't be changed.
Split credit files are a different matter - that is when your credit file is missing data, it has been distributed over multiple numbers of reports.
Causes for split credit files:
1. You file is too large because you have generated a lot of credit activity.
2. You have been using a credit monitoring service and you have generated too many soft inquiries and as a result it split the credit file.
All you have to do is call the Credit Reporting Agency affected and point out your suspicion that the file may be split. They will remove the soft inquiries usually to make the file fit back together.
Knowing how these problems happen will save you a lot of headaches if you can catch them early and fix them before you find out too late after applying for new credit.
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