If you share a name with a parent or relative (for instance, if you’re a Jr. or Sr.), you may be at risk of a mixed credit report. If you share an address with the person whose name you also share, that risk increases. Luckily, there are steps you can take to fix the issue, and a few ways to help better protect against it.
How does this happen?
Sometimes, lenders and creditors report information to the three nationwide credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — with limited identifying information.
How can I help prevent this from happening?
Here are a few steps you can take to help prevent this from occurring:
— When applying for credit, always include your full middle name, and if applicable, your generation (Jr., Sr., III).
— If you share an address with a family member having the same or a similar name, include any previous addresses you’ve had when applying for credit.
— Contact any of your existing creditors that may not have all of your identifying information and request that they include your middle name, generation if applicable, Social Security number and date of birth.
The nationwide credit bureaus are also working together to help prevent these situations. With the implementation of the National Consumer Assistance Plan in 2015 , credit bureaus are improving, among other things, reporting of collection accounts and authorized users. Credit reports are also becoming more accurate, transparent and easier to understand.
What do I do if I have a mixed credit report?
If you see someone else’s information on your Equifax credit report, there are a few steps you can take to get it resolved.
Step 1: File a dispute through the Equifax website, by mail or by phone.
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
Step 2: Identify any information that doesn’t belong to you, including name, address, Social Security number, and credit accounts.
Step 3: Provide your correct identification information: full name, including middle and generation or suffix; date of birth; Social Security number; and complete address, including apartment number if applicable.
Step 4: If you think you know who the information belongs to – maybe a father or grandfather – let us know, as this may help us resolve your dispute faster. It may also be helpful to list your credit accounts.
Step 5: Check your credit reports from TransUnion and Experian to see if the information is also on them. If so, you’ll need to file a dispute with each credit bureau separately.
How can I watch for a mixed credit report?
Monitoring your credit regularly may help you identify information that doesn’t belong to you, which may indicate you have a mixed credit report or a case of fraud. You are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, which you can get by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.