What if My Credit Report Shows an Incorrect Social Security Number?

Quick Answer

An incorrect Social Security number in your credit report might be the result of a typo or fraud. In either case, you may want to contact the creditor that’s reporting the incorrect information. You may also want or need to dispute the error directly with the credit bureaus.

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Experian, TransUnion and Equifax now offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com.

When you apply for a new credit account, the creditor generally sends the information from your application to the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Similarly, if you update your personal information on an existing account, such as your name or address, those updates get passed along to the bureaus. That's generally how your Social Security number (SSN), or an incorrect SSN, becomes part of your credit reports.

Why Is an Incorrect Social Security Number on My Credit Report?

Incorrect SSNs in credit reports may be the result of an error that occurred when you were filling out a credit application or when the data was furnished to the credit bureaus. For example, this could happen when:

  • You accidentally type the wrong number when applying for a new credit account.
  • You apply for credit over the phone, and the company representative mishears you or accidentally types the wrong number.
  • You apply for credit by paper, and the company representative misreads or accidentally types the wrong number.

These types of errors won't affect your credit score—personal information never does. Credit bureaus can also use different types of information to match people to their credit accounts, including their name, date of birth and address. So, credit accounts that are reported with an incorrect SSN could still be matched to the rest of your credit profile.

However, incorrect SSNs could also be an indication of identity theft and credit fraud. For example, someone might have tried to use your personal information to apply for a credit account, but they guessed part of your SSN or intentionally changed a few digits.

Why Doesn't Your Credit Report Show the Correct SSN?

If you check your credit report and don't see your correct SSN, that's not necessarily an error. Experian doesn't list the correct SSN in your credit report to help protect your identity. You'll only see incorrect SSNs that have been reported alongside your other personal information. Other credit bureaus might have different practices, such as only listing part of your correct SSN.

What to Do if Your Credit Report Shows an Incorrect SSN

If you see an incorrect SSN, you can take several steps to make sure it's not the result of fraud, correct your credit report and protect yourself from credit fraud in the future.

  1. Review your credit report for unfamiliar accounts. If someone used your information to fraudulently open a credit card or get a loan, that account could be listed in your credit report. You can report the fraud to the creditor, which will close the account and update the credit bureaus to have the account removed from your credit reports.
  2. Review and update your credit accounts. If you don't see any unfamiliar accounts, then the incorrect SSN might be the result of an error. Review your account with each of your creditors to see if one of them has an incorrect SSN in their system. You can then correct your information directly with the creditor, which may report the update to the credit bureaus. If you're not sure which creditors furnished the incorrect SSN, you can contact the appropriate credit bureau for help.
  3. Dispute erroneous information. You have the right to dispute items in your credit report, including accounts that you didn't open and incorrect personal information. You'll have to file disputes with each credit bureau separately, but this can help you remove fraudulent accounts and incorrect SSNs that are still listed in your credit reports.
  4. Add a security freeze. You also have the right to add a security freeze to your credit reports. Freezing your credit limits access to your reports, which can help keep someone from opening credit accounts with your personal information.

Why You Should Make Sure Your Credit Report Is Correct

Your credit reports are the basis for your credit scores, which can affect your eligibility and terms on new loans and credit cards. They also might affect your ability to rent a home or get a job, and how much you pay for insurance.

Although most people's credit reports are accurate, regularly monitoring your credit reports for errors and fraudulent accounts is still important. You can review your Experian credit report for free, and get free copies of your credit reports from all three bureaus weekly from AnnualCreditReport.com.

Similar to correcting an incorrect SSN, if you spot other errors, you might want to contact the company reporting the information or file disputes with the credit bureaus. You can send disputes to Experian online, by mail or over the phone.

Protect Your Social Security Number and Card

You can take several steps to keep your SSN safe, such as shredding unneeded documents that have your SSN and avoiding carrying your Social Security card. However, your personal information, including your name and Social Security number, may have already been leaked online. You can do a free one-time dark web scan to see if your SSN, email or phone number appear in databases on the dark web. Experian's free credit report monitoring will also alert you if someone applies for or opens a credit account using your information.