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Does your credit report mistakenly label you as a criminal?

Credit Reports Falsely Tag Consumers as Terrorists, Drug Traffickers


Short version - the credit bureaus are indescriminately flagging credit reports as criminals if the name matches the name of someone with a criminal record, regardless of whether the social security number or other info match or not.  When people order their credit reports, the credit bureaus do not release that info to them.  When people eventually find out when they try to buy a car or house, and the car dealer calls the FBI when the report prints out, the credit bureau refuses to remove it from the report because it's info coming from somewhere else (the database with a criminal of the same name).

So the real question - WHY do we allow these reports to have so much influence over every aspect of our lives?

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 9:37 AM on Dec. 19, 2012 in Politics & Current Events

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • Gosh, I hope mine wouldn't flag me as a criminal. Although, from what the article said I don't think I would ever know unless I was turned down for a loan. I haven't applied for one lately, so it's very possible.

    I don't know how to answer the question about why we allow credit reports so much influence over our lives.  I think in some ways it can be a useful tool to determine personal risk, however I fully acknowledge that in difficult times conditions beyond our control have have a negative effect on our credit reports and ratings and I don't think it's a fully legitimate way to determine risk.  At least not alone.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:18 AM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • At my old job, one of the things I had to do was file credit report updates on the debtors. Part of that meant any time anyone contested something on their credit report, and the credit report company removed it, I got a form spit out form our computer to re-enter it exactly as it was when it was deleted.

    The entry system has no mechanism for checking on typos or accuracy, either, it 's either someone entering it all by hand, or bulk downloads from company computers (downloads of info that at some point was entered by hand somewhere along the way). That's just one company, now compound that by every company that sends them info. I don't know why it's given any credence for anything.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 10:22 AM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • Without it though, how would any creditor be able to determine one's risk factor for lending and interest? If someone makes a good salary and doesn't bother paying bills, how else would a potential creditor know that person is a high risk factor? Are there other ways for them to check that aren't too time consuming?


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:27 AM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • Are there other ways for them to check that aren't too time consuming?

    Court records are easiest - look up their county's circuit court website and enter their name, either they've been sued for debt or not. What they REALLY need to do (and most don't bother) is check the references, and require a creditor as a reference. Instead of calling to check, they save those names as people to contact if you skip out and they want to shame you into calling in - they call the references to leave messages with other people. I used to laugh at how mad the collectors would get when they'd call a reference trying to track down a skip, and the reference would flat out say, "if you'd bothered to call me before you gave em the loan I would've told you not to." But it's true.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 10:30 AM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • I see a need for credit reporting, but our system is too easily manipulated.

    Not too long after I had my youngest child I started getting collection calls about a hospital bill for a person with my same name..for a hospital bill in Philadelphia. I did not give birth in Philly...and my birth was covered by Tricare. They completely ignored the paperwork I sent to them....and finally put it on MY credit report. They had no SS # for the other woman and how they got mine is still a mystery to me. I was able to get Tricare and my OB was not possible for me to give birth twice within a couple of months! It was a mess.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 12:50 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • Oops...submitted too soon. I think that ANY info they have about you should be required to be on the report.

    I hope to goodness I haven't been labeled a terrorist yet....I am married to a military conservative and am pro I would say it might be possible................

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 12:51 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • We don't allow them to have the influence those offerring credit do.
    Way back when we were buying our first home we ha a big snaffu (not as terrorist)
    We have comon names we sort of
    His name WEC mine MAC(M) We were 29
    The reports with non matching SS#s that caused us touble were
    WJC and MHC (J) age 52 and 49
    I mean really. We did not even live in the same part of the country...EVER.

    Answer by Dardenella at 2:12 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

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