What is a Creditor?

Dear Experian,

I received a letter from Experian today stating that within the last 30 days, changes to my name, address, or Social Security number were reported to you by a creditor. I’m afraid this indicates someone might be committing fraud. None of the above has changed. Can you specify the purported changes made within the past 30 days? I did not see alternative information under Personal Information on my credit report.

– KGK

Dear KGK,

A creditor is any entity to whom money is owed. When it comes to items on your credit report, “creditor” most often refers to a company that has loaned you money under a legal contract that specifies repayment terms, such as a credit card company or mortgage lender. However, the word “creditor” could refer to anyone with whom you have a payment-based financial relationship, such a landlord, cell phone company, utility service or medical office. Collection agencies are also creditors.

Notice of Changes to Your Credit Report

The notice you received suggests you may have frozen your credit file. If you have a freeze on your credit report, you will receive a notice anytime a creditor reports a change to or a variation of your personal information, such as your name, address, or Social Security number. In some cases, what constitutes a “change” is really just a slight variation in the way your correct information is reported. For example:

  • Joe Q. Smith or Joe Smith
  • Joe Smith or. Joe Smith Jr.
  • 123 Main St or 123 Main Street
  • 123 Main St or 123 Main St Unit A

While a change to your personal information could be an indicator of attempted fraud, more often it is the result of simple error made by the creditor when keying in your information or a slight variation in the way your information is being reported.

After receiving the notice, you should request an updated copy of your credit report so that you can review the personal information section. In your case, since you have already reviewed the report and did not see anything unusual, it may simply be that one of your creditors has reported a slight variation of your identification information.

Variations of your name and address do not affect your credit report or your credit scores.

If you wish to speak with someone who can assist you further, call the number on your credit report. Notify the agent of the letter you received and they will be able to help you determine which recently reported information may have triggered the notice.

Thank you for asking,
The “Ask Experian” Team

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Better detection and protection for identity theft and credit fraud. More identity and account alerts, with credit lock to prevent unauthorized inquiries.

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