Credit Bureaus Report I Am Dead

My credit report says I am dead. How do I correct this wrong information?

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?

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Bill's Answer
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Bills.com Team
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  • Review how to correct false information on credit report.
  • Take quick action to address errors on credit reports.

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.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

18 Comments

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  • 35x35
    Aug, 2012
    Christian
    I found out a few years ago that I was listed as dead on my credit report, until coming across this site today, I had no clue how to resolve the issue. I have now opened disputes with the credit reporting agencies to resolve this matter, but like everyone else stated, we should get some sort of compensation for all the crap we've had to endure because somebody somewhere screwed something up.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2012
    Nicole
    WOW! I just found out today that I am dead too! I have been trying to get student loans for school that starts in a Month and I need a new car like yesterday. I'm 28 years old and dead apparently and now in big trouble. I can't wait two years to get this fixed. Google said that this is uncommon but does happen, well so does the lottery but I sure didn't win that! Omg this sucks bad!
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    sue
    I received a 1099-c addressed to my estate so I checked with Experian and I had no crdit score and two credit cards had deceased on them. What do I do about 1099-c and mt taxes while I am trying to fix this
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Contact the issuer of the 1099-C and tell them you are still alive. In the meantime, review and follow the steps we shared in the original answer above.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Margaret
    Me too. This could cost me a lot of money. I'm being forced to retire and need to refi before I'm no longer technically employed. I'll be able to pay easily if I get the refi. Otherwise likely forced to sell. Traruh Synred
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2011
    John
    My wife went to apply for a car loan and they told her she is deceased. Unfortunately, we have to a get a car in less than a week due to ours being turned in, any advise on how to expedite it? Thanks for any help
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Bill
      Unfortunately, there is no way I know of to expedite the correction of a false death report on a credit report. Review the original answer I wrote above. Is one consumer credit reporting agency reporting your spouse's death, or are all three? If it is one, you can focus your efforts on that one only. If it is all three, then you need to work in parallel on all three at once.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Tracy
      This also happened to my husband. Can we sue the credit card company who is responsible for this ...
      2 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Bill
      Maybe. Consult with an attorney in your state who has experience in consumer law or civil litigation to learn:
      1. What cause of action your state statutes and case law gives consumers who are harmed when a creditor reports erroneous information to a consumer credit reporting agency, and
      2. What facts are required to establish such, and
      3. If your facts meet the requirements to file a successful cause of action

      Please return here to let us know what you learned.

      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Gay
      This is happening to me. I disputed it to all three and all three agencies came back and said no I am still deceased. My mother died and we have the same name. I now have an attorney writing a letter and providing them my mothers death certificate and social security number. I hope it works, meanwhile the credit cards I did have, have one by one sent me letters cancelling my account for information they received from one of the credit reporting agencies. I cant even get a car loan with my father as a co-signer, because my credit score is 0. They will not let him even co-sign. I would like to sue them now. This has been so aggravating.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    nora
    I have also been dealing with this the last two years, it has been tasking and annoying and i wish i could blame someone in specific for putting me through this. I have realized it was why i was denied loans in college and why i have never been able to get a credit card or loan. I have quite a story of what i have had to do to prove my innocence and the story isn't over yet. I feel bad for anyone who has to go through this situation.
    1 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      joel
      yup I just applied for a car loan to find out that i too have died! What a crock! i wonder if my mortgage holder has any idea! Or better yet who's been paying the bills!
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      I hope that the finance person at the car dealer did not get too freaked out by having a dead person apply for a loan!
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      KJ
      We have this exact same problem but now we can not get a new car until the credit report is showing living and I think it is STUPID for it to take 30 days to prove someone is alive when a credit card company was able to screw it up over night!! Good thing my car is running or I would be in big trouble thanks to Capital One!!
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    Nora
    I am soooo glad that I found this article. It is the first time i have heard that this happened to someone else. I am relieved yet also really sad that someone else has to go through everything i have gone through and continue to have issues with. I found out about being "dead" about 2 years ago. I am 26 years old and up until this point i thought i was never able to get a credit card because i didn't have much credit in the first place. I also was not able to go to a university because i was denied financial aid and so i paid my way through community college. I wish i knew then what i knew now so that my life may have taken a different path. I should have investigated why i kept being denied financial aid, but i didn't. I didn't realize i was dead until i applied for an american express card and the response said "subject is deceased." I applied for another one down the line and got the same response, and then my car loan was denied due to lack of credit. I actually got asked by the loan company when they were doing the check if i ever owned property in another state( I later found out it was the deceased's property and I would have been 9 when this was owned).I finally requested my credit reports and there it was on only one of them. It had the deceased's name and what county he died in and what year. I then called the credit agency (which is impossible to get an actual person and is very frustrating). I was told that I needed to prove that I was who i say i was and told me a dispute would be opened. The person also said to file a complaint with the FDIC which i did and still have an open case. I didn't get much help after that, so i decided to ask a friend in law school and she told me to obtain the deceased death certificate and write a letter and send all evidence to the FDIC and the credit agency. I contacted the bureau of vital statistics in the state the person died and they said i needed to be related in order to obtain the certificate since he died only 15 years ago. I told him it was for geneology, but he was not very helpful. I decided to take another route. I researched the funeral homes in the city the person died. There were 3 of them, i called all 3 to find out who was the right one, after explaining my dilemma, for a standard fee for, he agreed to send me the certificate, i was overjoyed to finally have somebody understanding of my situation. I received the death certificate and realized the person's ssn was only 1 number off for mine and it is a easily confused number. I wrote a strongly worded letter and sent all evidence of my ssn and his death certificate (his ssn) and all information i need to prove i am not this person. I was sent a letter confirming the the deceased person was only suppressed from my report...meaning the person is still on there, but no one but the credit agencies can see him. I asked to have the person completely removed but i was told i can't since there needs to be documentation of this error. I couldn't believe what i was hearing, i just spent lots of time and spent money proving something. I had to prove my innocence and i am technically still not cleared. I am really upset that my life has been affected severely by someone not double checking numbers when typing in insurance claims. It has affected my living situation, credit, going to school, getting jobs and all because of one little number. I have never paid to take legal action on anyone because i really don't know who to blame, but i wish i could just to show them that you can't be careless with things because it affects their life. I hope what i have done will help someone else. I still till this day don't have a credit card and all my car-loans have been cos-signed by my parents. I have also had to live with my parents and they are very understanding of the fact that i have not been able to get a loan. I also still have my open case of my situation and I am going to try for a credit card again this month, wish me luck....
    2 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2010
    Elsie
    Why does the NOT deceased person have such a hard time proving he/she is alive when the credit bureau takes the word of whomever did this without a certified death certificate. Even my heirs cannot collect on life ins. without death cert. If I lose my retirement income among other things I will lose a $250,000 life ins policy because I cannot pay for it. The ins co. would love this as they would really profit.
    2 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2010
      Bill
      Credit reports are riddled with errors. The credit reporting agencies receive incomplete or inaccurate information from creditors, which appears without question in credit reports. The problem is especially acute in people with common family names, and when junior and senior live in the same household and junior is an adult. If a creditor reports derogatory information with incomplete identification, such as a Social Security number, the harried clerks at the credit reporting agencies will throw up their hands and guess rather than ask for more information or do other error checking.

      Why is the system this way? Because Congress wrote the FCRA, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, with the table tilted in favor of the credit reporting agencies. What can be done about it? Consumers need to lobby Congress to put some teeth in the FCRA so that courts can impose larger fees and damage claims upon the credit reporting agencies when they report incorrect information.
      2 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2010
    H.
    in the same boat here, the info is much appreciated!
    2 Votes