Yes, there are millions of Americans, perhaps six million or more, whose credit files are mixed and merged. It is a massive problem, one in which personal information and account data from your credit file may be mixed with those same types of information that in fact belong to one or more other consumers. It happens all the time, and it can happen to you. If it does, Sherman & Ticchio can help!
Blame for mixed files lies squarely with consumer reporting agencies like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. More specifically, deficient policies and procedures of those credit bureaus (which, by law under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, are supposed to ensure "maximum possible accuracy" of the information on consumer reports about you) are the reasons why there are millions of mixed files.
**If you do not fully understand what we mean by mixed files or merged files, click here.
**If you do not fully understand the FCRA requirement that credit bureaus must follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of information they report about you, click here.
Due primarily to flawed algorithms and poor "matching criteria," the databases of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are where the negligent and sometimes willful errors occur that result in mixed or merged credit files.
So why does it matter if your credit file is mixed or merged with one or more other consumers? Well, there are a number of important reasons, including the following:
Your confidential private data may be exposed to consumers with whom your file is mixed and to the creditors of those individuals. In other words, mixed files jeopardize your privacy and could lead to identity theft.
Your credit information may be mixed with someone who has bad credit. In other words, mixed files jeopardize your ability to obtain credit.
Even if your credit file is mixed with someone who has good credit, your credit report will not present an accurate picture of your creditworthiness. You may wind up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt (or more) that does not belong to you.
If the other consumer has a perfect payment history (and you never know if/when that perfect payment history will turn bad -- particularly in these difficult economic times), having that additional debt on your credit report (or consumer reports that Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union issue about you) jeopardizes your ability to obtain credit.
How can you determine whether you may have a mixed file or merged file problem? It can be difficult without the help of individuals with substantial experience to decipher your credit reports.
**For information about how to read your credit report, and how hard that can be, click here.
Sherman & Tichhio has experience reviewing all types of credit reports (we do it every single day) and we are happy to review your credit files from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion (and other consumer reporting agencies), at no cost or obligation. You should be able to obtain your files from the big three credit bureaus by visiting annualcreditreport.com.
If you have difficulty obtaining your credit files (credit reports), give us a call at (212) 324-3874 and we will be glad to help you.