Information About Credit Reporting without a SSN

What if a hospital does not have your Social Security number, can they still report the bills to the credit bureaus?

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Bill's Answer: Bills.com Resident Expert

Creditors, including hospitals and third-party collection agencies, can report a consumer’s account to the major credit bureaus without knowing the consumer’s Social Security number. Various other pieces of identifying information, such as a consumer’s name, birth date, and address, can be used by lenders to request a credit report and to report information to the bureaus. Once it has obtained a copy of your credit report using this information, the creditor will likely have your Social Security number, as consumer credit reports often list the consumer’s Social Security number. So, even if you did not give a creditor your Social Security number, it is possible the creditor can obtain your Social Security number using your name, address, birth date, etc. You should keep in mind that several types of credit information, such as judgments and other public records, can appear on your credit report without using your Social Security number to identify you (judgments do not list your Social Security number because they are public records).

The fact that creditors can report credit information to the credit bureaus without using your Social Security number is one of the reasons that credit reports often contain inaccurate account information. This problem is especially prevalent with relatives who share similar names, such as fathers and sons; often, I have seen a father’s credit information appear on his son’s credit report due to the fact that the two men share a similar name, have shared a mailing address, etc. I always encourage consumers to review their credit reports to make sure that all of the information reported is accurate. If you find any inaccurate items on your credit report, dispute the listings with the credit bureaus. See the Federal Trade Commission document FTC Facts for Consumers: How to Dispute Credit Report Errors for more information.

To learn more about credit, credit reports, and credit scoring, I encourage you to visit the Bills.com credit page. I wish you the best of luck and hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

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Comments (6)


A bit C.
Raritan Borough, NJ  |  March 23, 2012
I am very interested in a point embedded in this post, so I would like to ask for clarification even though it seems to be stated fairly clearly: can a credit report be obtained if an individual has not provided their SSN? I have read many contradictory stances on this and in interpretations of the FCRA. It used to be my understanding that without a valid SSN and permission from the individual, obtaining a credit report was simply not possible. You are adding the twist above that there are backhanded ways to obtain an SSN which I was not aware of. Please clarify with any details you can as I would really like to get clear on this once and for all. Thanks in advance.
Bills.com
March 23, 2012
You ask a question different from the one raised by the original reader. The original reader asked if it was possible for a creditor who does not know a consumer's Social Security number to report information about the consumer to the credit reporting agencies. The answer to that question is yes — most definitely yes.

I think you are asking if it is possible for someone to obtain a consumer's credit report without the consumer's permission. Using a reasonable interpretation of the FCRA, the answer to this question for an ethical person is "no." However, a private investigator I trust said in practice, the answer to this question is not so black and white. Read FCRA § 604. "Permissible purposes of consumer reports" [15 U.S.C. § 1681b] to find the loopholes available for an ambitious person willing to bend the rules to claim their need to pull a consumer's credit report fits the statute. Keep in mind there is no auditor monitoring the credit reporting agencies to determine if all, many, or even some accesses of consumers' credit reports complies with the FCRA.

A fair answer to your question is, "For the right price, one can obtain another's credit report without that person's permission."
Rajesh S.
Atlanta, GA  |  September 17, 2011
Hi, I hope so this comment gets noticed. I have a doubt similar to the first comment. A year back I had broken a contract due to 'mis-communication' & had not paid all the fine that I was supposed to pay for breaking the contract. I did not have an SSN then. I am sure the owner must have reported that issue to the credit agency then. Now I do have an SSN. So will that default affect my credit history now? I am a bit worried about that.
Bills.com
September 19, 2011
Impossible to say. It is not absolutely necessary for a creditor to possess complete and accurate identification information about a consumer to report a derogatory to the consumer creditor reporting agencies. We see the credit bureaus add the wrong information to innocent consumers at a frightening rate. You should assume that the consumer credit reporting agency will report the derogatory information on your profile. Consider yourself lucky if the information you mentioned never appears.
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Bills.com
December 04, 2009
I know of no way to add history to a credit report in the manner you suggest. This is a long-shot, but if you made the loan with a local vehicle dealer that provided on-site financing, you may wish to contact that dealership and ask if they would be willing to do a favor for a good customer and add the payment history to your credit report. If you are not successful with that idea, you can add a consumer statement to your credit report.
Suhyun .
December 03, 2009
I am a permanent resident who only had a SSN for 2 years. But I was a foreign student and have been living in states for 6 years. I had a car loan paid off 3 years ago when I did not have a SSN. Is it possible to add this payment history to my credit history?
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