What if your credit reports show you are deceased?
New York, May 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Imagine for a moment a common scenario playing out across the United States. You are applying for a new mortgage, car loan or line of credit and you have high hopes of receiving the amount you expect. You actively monitor your credit and know you have a great score and are finally ready for that financial commitment.
You gather all your documents and submit your application, only to learn that you don’t qualify. So, being the good consumer that you are, you do a quick credit check again to see what happened to the denial. Only then do you learn that you have been declared dead in error by one or all three major credit reporting agencies. Now what?
If your credit reports show that you are deceased, the first thing to do is to call the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If they don’t resolve the issue, contact them again and insist that a dispute form be sent to you.
Credit reports are used as a resource for lenders when deciding whether to grant loans or lines of credit. This means that if someone says your name is dead in their system and they can’t verify your identity through another source (like your social security number), they will stop any plans to give you money. by any means necessary until this issue is resolved. .
Why does my credit report show that I am deceased?
If your credit report indicates that you are deceased, it may be because one of the three national credit reporting companies had this information reported by one of your current or past accounts.
Credit reporting companies don’t need official proof of a person’s death to mark them as dead on their credit reports. If a company credit card or other line of credit you had reports that you are dead, they do not need to produce a death certificate or other family member documents before performing this change on your account.
This means that a small car loan when you just graduated from high school can suddenly have a significant impact on your ability to secure financing in the future. All they have to do is accidentally mark your account as declared dead. If someone committed identity theft on your behalf and died before being arrested for it, for example, it would be up to that individual’s next of kin (assuming there was one) to challenge their accounts fraudulent with the credit bureaus.
Even if you manage to get your credit report marked as “deceased” removed from an agency’s records by submitting documentation proving you’re still alive, many lenders won’t check the records of all three agencies when determining s whether or not they should expand financing options such as loans or lines of credit. If TransUnion thinks you’re dead but Equifax doesn’t agree with its assessment, any potential creditor will likely take longer than usual to assess whether they want to approve your application, as it will take them more than time to review the reports from the three agencies.
Another cause for this is the death of your spouse or a family member with a similar last name who shares an account. The account could be confused and you will end up being mistakenly reported as deceased.
Why you need to fix this error
Credit reports can be a very important tool in determining your ability to get a loan or open a new credit card. If they are not updated correctly, you may not be able to get the money needed to buy a house or a car. Also, if you are deceased and still appear on these reports, it could cause problems with jobs that require background checks.
A minor error in your report could also impact your credit score. If the reporting agencies think you’re dead, it could lower your score and make it harder to get a loan or a credit card.
Without correcting this error, you cannot secure:
- Personal loans or lines of credit
- Car loans
- Mortgages for the purchase of a house
- An apartment due to the application’s credit investigation
- Some Jobs That Do Financial Background Checks
- Security deposits on certain public services such as Internet or mobile phone
The good news is that there are ways to prove you’re not dead on your credit report. Before you start trying to resolve this issue, be sure to keep documentation of any correspondence you make with the reporting agencies or the originating account that sent the death notifications from Equifax or any other agency.
What will it take to fix this error?
If you are listed as deceased on a credit report, it may be difficult to correct the error. Be prepared as this process may take some time. Even with phone calls and notification of the original account, it may still take time for each credit reporting agency to correct the error. In some cases we’ve seen, one TransUnion death notification can be resolved, while the other two can take significantly longer.
Every credit bureau will want to know who declared you dead and why they made that mistake. They will also want proof of life. It may seem strange to prove you are alive, but these are complex agencies that need documentation upon documentation. Usually, government-issued ID and a current utility bill with your most recent address should suffice.
How to Dispute a Credit Death Report
If you think your credit report is inaccurate, the first step to correcting it is to dispute the error with each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This can be done over the phone or through their websites. Each bureau will have a different process for disputing an error in your credit report, so be sure to read their instructions carefully before you begin.
You will also want to contact the original account that made the Equifax report death error in the first place. You need to alert them to the situation and that you are taking steps to fix what happened. They must correct the error on their end by submitting an updated report to the credit reporting agency.
You’ll also need to be extra careful when disputing an inaccuracy so you don’t miss any important deadlines or requirements. For example, many disputes require proof of identity and proof of a relationship between yourself and any business listed in your report (such as an employer). To make sure everything goes smoothly and without delays or confusion, consult with someone who has experience disputing errors on their own reports before filing anything official with one of these agencies.
This is where we can help you. To Consumer Lawyers, we provide a free consultation (call us now at 877-615-1725) to begin your journey down the road to credit repair, including correcting inaccurate credit reports of death notifications. Schedule a consultation and reclaim the power of your credit report.