I was turned down for a loan because a credit reporting agency says I'm dead. I requested my annual credit reports. Should I freeze credit inquiries and how do I do that?
It was likely unsettling to read incorrect information on your credit report, especially something as shocking as seeing yourself listed as dead. This reminds me of the story of Mark Twain seeing his obituary printed in the paper. He remarked, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Your task to have the mistake removed from your credit report will, unfortunately, take more effort that voicing a witty quip.
Before I propose some concrete steps for you to take, I have a few questions for you. Are you able to use any of your active accounts, such as credit cards or your bank account? If you are able to use your current accounts, it means that they have not been notified that you are “dead.” Do all three credit bureaus show you as deceased? Obviously, the problem is less complicated if only one of the bureaus shows you as deceased.
Here is a suggested course of actions for you to take. If you have not done so already, start by checking the information with all three credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Contact AnnualCreditReport.com to get a no-cost copies of your credit reports. Each credit reporting agency interprets your credit information differently, so you might want to get a report from all three. You are entitled to one free report from each of the three credit reporting agencies every 12 months.
View the reports to see which credit reporting agencies are listing you as deceased. If only one bureau is, then you only need to focus on correcting that one error.
As mentioned, three major credit bureaus report consumer information to lenders. If there is something you want added or removed, contact them directly:
Complete the form and attach a short letter that explains that you would like to have the incorrect notice of your death removed. Make sure to follow the guidelines of the dispute form and enclose any documents the form requests.
The credit reporting agencies also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided them with the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the credit reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.
You will need to wait for 30 days, after you file your dispute, to allow the bureau(s) time to investigate your case. If you do not receive a response within that time period, write the bureau(s) again. This time, state that you did not receive a timely response, which is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
You may need to repeat this step by sending more letters to the offending bureau(s), if you do not see that they have removed the false information on your report. If you still get nowhere, you may need to threaten legal action against the bureau(s), unless your situation is resolved.
Make sure to keep all of your records in order, including copies of any documents or correspondence that you send them. This allows you to maintain a consistent account of what has transpired and to authoritatively site chapter and verse of the history of your case.
Once the credit dispute is resolved, the credit reporting agency is required to give you the results in writing along with a free copy of your credit report. This report does not count as the free report you are entitled to receive each year. Also, if you want, the credit bureau must contact anyone who has received your credit report in the last six months to notify them of the changes.
Also, if you cannot determine from where the bureau(s) received the bogus information, it may be worthwhile to check with the Social Security Administration to see if they show you as alive. If either Social Security or the IRS show you as deceased, it can be an even more difficult and time consuming effort for you to prove to them the fact that is clear to all who know you, that you are indeed alive.
You asked if you should freeze inquiries to your reports. I don't think that is necessary.
For general information about credit, please review the information you will find at the Bills.com credit resources page.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.