I've been a lurker on these forums for quite some time. Decided to join and do my best to become as active as possible on this message board.
Nothing but nice, friendly people, great advice, and great discussion on here! I regret not joining sooner. I guess you can say that this is my introduction (first thread). Not sure where else to have introduced myself though so if you need to move this thread, that's fine.
Anyways, yeah, just quickly want to share my story. Please excuse the length.
So, I'm a working yuppie in Chicago. I've been working professionally for close to four years now and trying to finish graduate school at the same time. I've been staying at home with my parents to save money so I can get my own place and pay tuition on my own, so I commute back and forth from school/work. Fortunately I was able to graduate from my bachelor's degree debt-free!
As life would have it, I was named after my father. I have a middle name, he doesn't. In Dec 2015, he filed for bankruptcy. Unfortunately, that bankruptcy was tagged on my credit report, even though we both have different SSN's, reason being that we (essentially) have the same name, and the same address.
The past year has been nothing but headaches, working with TWO different lawyers to get the bankruptcy taken off my credit report with all three credit bureaus. I had just started building up my credit the year before after successfully getting approved for the Citibank Citi Forward Thank You Card (college student card no longer offered/discontinued by Citibank), and for the American Express Premier Gold Rewards Card. My credit scores were in the 750's before all of this happened.
Only reason why I found out about the bankruptcy was because I was trying to make a purchase with the Citi Forward card and the card got declined. I called the bank to try to figure out if it had been frozen, and that's when Citibank let me have it. Citibank wrongfully closed my account, and even though I had explained to them that I wasn't the one that had filed for bankruptcy, that it was my father, they would not open it back up again for me until AFTER the bankruptcy was removed from my credit reports and I had proof of that.
Dealing with the credit bureaus was a nightmare! The first lawyer got TransUnion to comply, but never got a word back from Equifax, and Experian said that they didn't believe my father and I were two different people. The second lawyer was able to get the job done, and he scorned my dad by telling him that by naming me after him and having to file for bankruptcy, he had basically signed my name in blood. In August 2016 was when everything appeared to be getting back to normal.
My counsel advised me to not pay the balance I had on the wrongfully closed card until the bankruptcy was completely eliminated from my history. As of yesterday (09/19/16), I was finally able to make that payment. Funny enough, that morning, Citibank updated their system to show on my account that the bankruptcy was reported in error, but they are not doing anything to restablish the credit line that I had with them. And they won't approve me for a new credit line. I feel extremely betrayed by Citibank because I've had a checking and savings account with them over the past decade now, and apparently it means diddly. The CSR told me that they couldn't open the account back-up because it had been closed longer than three months.
Fortunately, I was able to salvage the American Express Premier Gold Rewards card because I called AMEX immediately after finding out about the bankruptcy and they noted the potential mixup in my file. I was able to garden with this card (not by choice) for the past nine months or so, and paid it off in full every time I made a payment, sometimes making up to three payments a month, the same days my direct deposits would kick in.
It's September 2016, I'm starting rebuild my credit and I'm trying to pick-up where I left off. I'm not sure if I'm in a better or worse position coming out of this than going in. My credit scores are in the 660's after being in the 540's over the past year. As soon as I found out that the bankruptcies had been removed, I tried my luck and applied online for the AMEX Everyday Preferred Card and got approved for a $2300 credit limit. The same day, I applied to upgrade my AMEX Premier Rewards Gold to the AMEX Platinum, and got approved for that as well. Also in the same month, I applied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card after receiving the invitation to apply in the mail, and got approved for a $5000 credit limit. Lastly, I applied for the Capital One QuickSilverOne card and got approved for a $500 credit limit.
As far as Citibank is concerned, I still feel betrayed and I'm going to close my checking/savings account with them today and I'm going to open them up at Chase to keep everything more or less centralized. Maybe one day I might go back to them. Who knows? I'm still worried because I'm not sure how this is going to affect me moving forward, if at all. I have to be in good financial standing to apply for professional licensure in my state to advance my career. And I'm worried that if any record of this bankruptcy lingers somewhere, that it will impact my ability to get an apartment or buy my own place.
Thinking about gardening with the four credit cards that I have for the next year or so. I really want the new Chase Sapphire Reserved, so maybe in a year's time... Hoping to become a credit afficionado. Any other advice with respect to improving my credit history/scores and moving forward is greatly appreciated. The bankruptcy never made it to collections, by the way (if that's how you word it).
Thank you for reading this. Again, I apologize for the length of this post, I realized I wrote a novel. LOL.
So yeah, don't name your kids after yourself. Cause I got screwed over.
Can someone move this to the "Rebuilding Your Credit" board instead? That might be a better place for this.
What's the credit bureau's excuse? For all the children and parents named alike, this has to happen every day if it can happen this easily to you. What good are SSA numbers if they don't use them? They somehow have no problem telling you two apart until there is a BK then they go blind? Who paid the attorneys fees to sort this mess out? This is not you or your fathers fault. There needs to be more oversight when private entities wield too much power.
Yep being named after your father will cause a disaster. What happens is when the BK was reported there is an allowance for mismatches. Simple things like diffrences in SS number and a middle name existing is considered a clerical error by the computer and then applies the new info across multiple files to avoid fraudulent reporting. The second lawyer was 100% right when he said your father signed your name in blood when he did the naming and filed the BK. Since you lived where your father lived the computer thinks you two are the same person. Even my file has multiple versions of my name based on the application with first name+last name, first name+middle initial+last name, first name+middle name+last name. To avoid this you need to move out so that more info will be uneque or the BK might pop up in your credit report again.
Thanks for elaborating on that zerofire. That's basically what I was told too.
Easier said than done in regards to moving out I'm afraid. I haven't saved up enough.
Just out of curiosity, how can the BK pop-up in my credit report again? I'm curious.
Turbobuick - when I first received initial response from the credit bureaus, All I got from them were cookie-cutter letter templates citing the Fair Credit Reporting Act and my rights under FCRA. LIke I said, TransUnion corrected the error in their system right away, Experian did not believe my father and I were two different people, wanted me to submit more proof, and I did not hear a peep from Equifax.
The second time around with the second lawyer, I once again received those cookie-cutter letters but with a response this time. Experian confirmed that the bankruptcy was removed, but they didn't admit to reporting the bankruptcy in error. Equifax said that there isn't a bankruptcy under my SSN, even though I know there was because older versions of my Equifax credit report show one count public record, so they never really admitted to their mistake. And Transunion said there isn't a record of the bankruptcy under my SSN (which is true on their end because since they corrected the mistake in their system the first time. None of the bureaus though admitted to filing the bankruptcy in error, and I think the reason why I was able to get a response faster the second time around than the first was because I believe my counsel threatened to sue.
I know the BK is off all three reports as of August cause I paid to see the CR and I saved a difital copy of it. No public records across the board!
I have a separate mailbox address with a real street address and that works fine with the CB's.
Reminded me of an account on my credit report, which was my brothers.
We have same last names of course, but dufferent first names, but both names start with the letter "D"
The kicker is both our SS numbers are identical EXCEPT the last 4 digits were different for us...
One time a credit report showed his account on my report.....
Eventually I complained and the credit report took it off
Happened one time only
I also am named after my father, and live in the same house, though my father has been dead now for 13 years. I moved back in here 14 years ago after getting a divorce and filing chapter 7. Only difference in our names is I have a middle name and he does not.
I have definitely been conflated with my father off and on for years, I used to emphasize my middle initial, but the mix-ups have been positive for me.
My car insurance for a while was listed as mine but I was listed as being my father. I got an insurance card with my name on it as a JR. I got a little worried about this, so I made sure they had me correctly listed in their files in the event I would need to use the insurance the mix up might have caused problems. It was good when it stared as I got a lower rate and it was like I had that company for decades.
Somehow, I am listed as a joint credit card holder on two of my mothers very old credit cards. I don't know how that happened, I don't remember ever giving them my SS, but I have confirmed Discover and Chase do indeed have me listed as joint with my SS.
I had filed Chapter 7 in 2002, I got my first Visa in 2005, I did sort of wonder why it was so easy and why I got > 8,000 limit. It was only 18 months ago that I discovered I was actually a joint holder of both of those credit cards, no idea how that happened. I know that back in 2003 my mother had made me what I thought was an AU on her two cards, but it wasn't until 2015 I knew I was actually a joint holder.
SO despite filing Chp 7 14 years ago where I discharged all my creditors, I have open and current credit cards with a 29 and 16 year history.
My Experian credit report is the most odd, with closed accounts back as far as 2008 that I never had, and my AAoA is 11 years, while AAoA with TU/EQ is 5.7 years. The closed accounts appear to be ones my mother likely had, but I don't know for sure. My fathers SS is "associated" with me on a EQ report, I don't know what "associated" means??
To add to the mistakes, there is one address on a credit report that no one I know has ever lived at.
I may dispute some of the weird spellings of my name and the address I don't recognize, otherwise I leave well enough alone. It might be difficult to dispute date that is anywhere from 4-8 years old, and if I win that fight I might lose credit points. But probably it won't matter.
I just noticed, my mother's JCP account that was closed in 2012 for in-activity, but it's listed in my Experian report as my individual account. Now that explains why it was hard to get a new card for her when we went to JCP and she discovered it was closed. They asked her security questions and she couldn't answer correctly, likely because the questions really applied to me maybe my father, who knows? Now how weird is that?
I am going to send for my mothers 3 credit reports just to see what they report. I recently tried to get a free online credit report, but couldn't verify her info, maybe it is also a little mixed up?
My credit reports are very accurate for the last 4 years, I don't see any reason to try and correct old past errors outside off what I said above.
BTW, does anyone know what it means to have a SS "associated" with you on your credit report?
That might work if the mailbox address is on the other side of the city/vilage where you live. Haha.
Can you imagine getting a mailbox with an adress right next door?