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My credit report thinks I'm dead!

Yes, it can happen. Here's what to do if you find that you have to prove you're alive to get credit.

By Feb 11, 2014 1:40PM

This post comes from Jeanne Kelly at partner site

It’s always distressing to be rejected for a credit line, but perhaps the worst is when you find that you’ve been reported as dead. However outrageous it may sound, this does occasionally happen, and I’ve helped several of my own clients through the process of correcting this error.

Grim Reaper © Anton Ovcharenko/Vetta/Getty ImagesBeing reported as dead can happen to those who share an account with someone who has died, namely a spouse or a family member -- if you share the same last name, human error can take its toll.

What happens when a creditor reports you as deceased and you aren't? It’s important you move quickly, and know that you’ll have to check all three credit reporting agencies  -- Experian, Equifax and TransUnion -- to see if any creditors have put a death notice on your report. Most of the time, these notices serve the important purpose of preventing thieves from making use of the decedent's credit, but in this case, it’s important that you correct the error as soon as possible before more institutions you rely on assume you are no longer in need of their services.

Credit resuscitation

To fix such an egregious error on your report, you’ll need to do some legwork:

  1. Obtain a report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Read through them to find the source of the erroneous information. Is it one account, or several accounts?
  2. If it seems that some but not all of your accounts show you as deceased, notify each bureau of the mistake and provide documentation of your living status. It seems overly ironic that we must provide proof that we are alive, but it is indeed a real requirement. You should also contact the creditors to alert them to the error, too.
  3. If your entire credit report is showing that you are deceased, it is likely the fault of the Social Security Administration. Go to your local SSA office as soon as possible to clear up the mistake. In all likelihood, accounts will need a letter from the SSA to reinstate your credit if the government believes you to have passed on.

It helps if you check your credit regularly so you notice any changes that indicate a potential problem.  For example, if you have a “deceased” listing on your credit report, you likely won’t be considered scoreable. So if you monitor your credit scores (and there are free tools out there to help you do that; offers one), and you’re suddenly unable to get your scores, it’s a sign to check your credit reports for any problems.

This is a distressing process, but do know that it can be corrected. The most important point to remember is to address the problem as soon as possible.

More from

Feb 11, 2014 4:55PM
If they report me dead, I stop paying the bills.
Feb 11, 2014 5:14PM
See if you can then collect on that Life Insurance.
Feb 11, 2014 5:07PM
who cares credit reports are BS anyway
Feb 11, 2014 7:28PM
wow...then no one could bug me anymore.
Feb 11, 2014 6:42PM
The ex was a pro at playing dead.....
Feb 11, 2014 6:19PM
"decendent's"? Who wrote this? An intern?

And how do you prove you are not dead? It doesn't actually tell you.
Think of the millions of people who try to challenge the information in the credit agencies and the trouble they have.
Feb 11, 2014 6:03PM
Yes mistakes do happen, but they seem to happen more than they should thanks to "productivity" which is just another way of saying having one person do the work of two people while paying them half the salary of one. Mistakes are happening because people in every occupation and strata of society are over worked and being treated like assembly line factory workers, so nothing gets done properly and customer service generally sucks.
Feb 11, 2014 6:09PM
having had to prove i'm alive twice, i know how much more of a hassle living is , than dying
Feb 11, 2014 6:54PM

Wait til I tell my mom.  My dad died about a year ago.  A few months later she applied for a retail credit card and received a letter in the mail saying she was declined because she was dead.  Now everytime we go shopping and they ask her if she wants to apply for a store credit card, she says "No thanks.  I am dead."   Looks like she needs to do a little more to clear this up.


Feb 11, 2014 6:21PM
The only thing about being dead is now someone will for sure steal your identity..... hope it works out for you and you can come back from the dead. 
Feb 11, 2014 7:32PM
F' the 3 reporting agencies and start over fresh. They have way to much power over your life.
Feb 26, 2014 11:29PM
Jeanne Kelly at partner site

Thank you for your in interest in helping me! I suppose you know my situation and it is a mess. I need money to purchase a home & have a substantial amount for a down payment. I am 57 yrs old & disabled & I am paying $540.00   per month  on a land contract & want to get a loan in my name! Any help would be much appreciated!

Feb 11, 2014 6:58PM
Now are they talking 6 ft under dead or living dead or brain dead or wishing you were dead because you forgot your wife ,girlfriend or boyfriend 
Feb 12, 2014 9:51AM
The mobile mortal individuate human scientoloy ratio and graph to net of the decease claims network obstructing the consumer credit selection is a nonacquiescence and ex delicto form of Politic Business Affairs. There is a direct incompatible errors form amid the eschew sort of the said venue that is drastic on person`s of adversary of yet no liability as spending solvency in which raises the debt ceiling. It is important for the economy to contrarically conclude all applicable and non applicable format`s of Credit Report Fraud. Yet fam`m`i`n`g the non applicable is also a errors and omissions\falsity insurance issue.

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