What do I do when two names and Social Security numbers are on one credit report?
Experian lists all variations of names and Social Security numbers reported as belonging to you. In most instances the variations aren’t cause for great concern and can be rectified easily. But they could also indicate you are a victim of identity theft, enabling you to take action to protect yourself.
The first thing to do is look closely at the variations. Are they simply transpositions in digits or name misspellings? Or, have you used the names or numbers listed to apply for credit?
Usually, those issues are easy to recognize and will not affect your ability to obtain credit.
Occasionally, variations indicate that information from another person’s credit history has inadvertently been combined with your credit report. The most common cause of a mixed file is when a father and son share the same name but don’t provide a generational title, such as junior or senior, when they apply for credit. In many cases, the father and son share the same address as well. This can also happen with siblings whose names or dates of birth are similar.
If you believe your credit report may be mixed with another individual’s, it is important to contact Experian so that we can research the information and make any corrections necessary. Experian will place an indicator on your report to help prevent the confusion from happening in the future.
You can dispute name or Social Security number variations online, by telephone, or by mail.
Unrecognized names and Social Security numbers also can be a sign that you are a victim of identity theft. If your report shows addresses or accounts that you believe are due to fraud, you should dispute the information as fraudulent. You can do so at Experian’s Fraud Center. Experian will be able to add a fraud alert and work with you to protect your credit history and begin to recover from the crime.
The most important thing that anyone can do to prevent variations in identifying information is to be consistent and thorough when completing credit applications, whether online or on paper.
We recommend always using your full, given name as it appears on your birth certificate or Social Security card, but if you chose to use a nickname, always use it. Every name you use to apply for credit will be listed accurately in your credit report.
If you have a generational title such as Junior, Senior, II or III, you should always use it. Consistently provide all the information asked for when applying for credit, such as apartment numbers, previous addresses, date of birth, and the correct Social Security number.
The more information you provide, the easier it is to differentiate you from another individual who has the same name or similar identification information and to prevent variations from appearing in your credit report.
Thanks for asking.
The “Ask Experian” team