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.