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Who's at risk for credit report errors?

A new report on the accidental blending of credit reports by reporting agencies identifies the most likely victims.

By MSN Money Partner May 8, 2012 12:58PM

This post comes from Kali Geldis at partner


It's not Freaky Friday, but many consumers are finding their financial lives swapped by accident -- and it's having big consequences.


Image: Worried couple (© Digital Vision/Getty Images)A four-part series from the Columbus Dispatch called "Credit Scars" kicked off this week, examining the damage done when credit reporting agencies blend two credit reports together. The yearlong investigation by the paper uncovered thousands of examples of credit reports being blended together.


A few examples include a woman whose credit report was mixed with her daughter's and another woman with a common name who actually had her credit report blended with multiple women of the same name.


So, who is likely to fall victim to credit report errors and how do multiple consumers' credit reports get blended together? (Post continues below.)

The Dispatch examined the records of almost 1,300 individuals who complained to the FTC over the course of two and a half years that their credit report had errors because it had been blended with another report. The findings showed that family members are far and away the most likely to have their credit files mixed. Second to direct family members are strangers, followed closely by strangers with the same name and then strangers with a similar name.


Interestingly, consumers also reported having their credit files mixed with their patients, roommates and neighbors, although the number of incidents for these complaints is very small.

The easiest way to make sure your credit report hasn't been blended with another consumer's file is to check your credit report regularly. Credit experts recommend checking your report once every six to 12 months.


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