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Murder! Financial terrors via credit reports

Even in the financial world, it's difficult to rise from the dead. Two of our readers tell their stories of a fiscal reaper.

I didn't know my husband was dead -- neither did he
My husband and I decided to refinance our home. When the bank pulled our record, they found a slight irregularity.

Come to find out, my husband was "deceased." I was a widow -- had been for almost two years. The man whose bed I had shared every night for fourteen years apparently had been dead for the last two of those years, but somehow, I never noticed.

Nobody had ever bothered to tell my husband he was dead, so he just kept as if he were still alive. He had two credit cards in his name, and he kept paying on them as agreed even though he was dead. Same with the mortgage. He kept going to work everyday, and his company kept paying him as if he were really alive and punching the ole' time clock.

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The bank was, oddly enough, still willing to refinance the mortgage, but it required that I be named primary mortgagor since -- unlike my husband -- I was still alive, and the credit bureaus knew that.

By the way, I threw a big wake for my husband once I discovered my loss. I decorated the house in black crepe paper and placed his tombstone on the walkway leading up to the house. We had a cake made in the shape of a coffin especially for the occasion. About 20 of our best friends and family were invited. They all brought dead flowers to place at the tombstone in the front yard. I gave the eulogy and my husband was given five minutes for rebuttal.

The next day, we contacted the credit company and informed them that they had made a "wee, small error" in my dear husband's credit report.

The bank killed my mother
My 69-year-old mother received a notice of a bounced check. She keeps an eagle eye on her account and knew that she had enough money in the account. After consulting with the bank's bookkeepers, we finally figured out what had happened.

The bank had sent her Social Security check back to the government because apparently someone with the same name as my mother's in a little town 20 miles away had died.

It took three months to straighten everything out.

-- Posted: Oct. 23, 2003
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