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Topics addressed on February 20, 2008:
Social Security number variations on your credit report
What is a Social Security number variation? When looking up my personal information on Experian, a number came up under "Social Security number variation." The number that came up was nothing close to my Social Security number.
A Social Security number variation is a number reported to Experian that varies from the one we show as being correct.
Experian lists all of the Social Security number variations that are reported as belonging to you. It is not a mistake. Rather, listing the numbers provides you with a complete record of what is reported to Experian. Variations can be an indicator of fraud, so it is very important that we provide them to you.
Usually, a Social Security number variation does not indicate fraud. In most cases it is simply a typographical error made when the lender input your application or account information, which was then reported to Experian. For example, your Social Security number may be 123-45-6789. If the lender inadvertently input 132-45-6789, Experian would list it as a variation.
You could then trace it back to the lender and have them correct it in your account records. You wouldn’t need to be alarmed because it is clearly a simple typing mistake.
Totally different numbers may be indicators of fraud, particularly if there also is a name variation or, more importantly, a new or unrecognized account appearing in your report.
But, that doesn’t mean they indicate fraud in all cases. It could be that the number belongs to a joint account holder, particularly a family member or friend you may have cosigned for or shared an account with.
If a Social Security number variation is being reported to Experian by one of your creditors, you should contact the creditor and ask them to correct their records. If the variation is not associated with one of your accounts, Experian can delete it upon your request.
So, don’t panic. If the number is completely different, first check to be certain there is no fraudulent account activity. If there is none, you probably have little to worry about. But if there is any other indication of fraud, you can begin taking steps to protect yourself.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team