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Man sues over credit report errors

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Monday, August 19, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

An Idaho man is suing Experian for not deleting an allegedly erroneous public record on his credit report.

Jose Luis Calderon was turned down for a car loan and a mortgage due to a public record stemming from a debt recovery lawsuit and an outstanding collection that Calderon claims are not his. Calderon says he sent multiple dispute letters to Experian, saying the negative items belong to a Jose L. Martinez Caldero.

However, the credit reporting bureau said it verified the negative items and the information stayed on Calderon's credit report. The case is slated to be heard in a Boise district court in December.

The lawsuit comes after an Oregon woman sued Equifax for a credit report error and was awarded $18.6 million by a federal district court in July. Julie Miller had spent two years trying to remove 38 collections accounts that belonged to another, less financially responsible Julie Miller.

Both cases involve mixed credit files, where one person's credit report contains information belonging to another person, who usually has a similar name or Social Security number. These cases are more common among family members who share the same name, such as a father and son who are junior and senior.

The credit bureaus match credit information using identifying features, such as name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. If enough of the information matches, then it's applied to a person's credit report. That's how a mix-up can happen.

About 1 in 20 credit reports contain a material error, according to a study this year from the Federal Trade Commission.

You can try to avoid a mixed-file scenario by always supplying full information on a credit application, such as adding middle initials, apartment numbers or Jr. or Sr. Always pull your free credit report from each bureau once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com to make sure your credit file is accurate.

If you find an error, file a dispute online with the credit bureaus. They are required by law to investigate and verify the information. If they can't, the item must be removed. If the dispute process doesn't work, seek out an attorney that specializes in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Who knows, you may end up with $18 million.

Have you found a credit report error? How did you resolve it?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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