Mixed Credit Files Explained

a person pulling paper out of a filing cabinet

It’s essential to regularly check your background information because there are many ways these important reports can go wrong. Even before the computerization of records, mixed files have been among the most well-documented issues for consumer reporting. This article address what mixed files are, how they occur, and what you can do about it.

What is a mixed credit report?

A mixed file occurs when a background reporting agency includes someone else’s criminal background in your report. This is a specific violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which requires that one report is generated per individual.

The possibility of such highly privileged information slipping into someone else’s report might seem unlikely, but it happens more often than you think. The following are the most common causes of mixed files:

Consumers with Similar Names

A credit bureau may make a mistake if individuals with a common name and major demographic characteristics share the same information. A nearby pair of John Smiths, for example.

Data Entry Errors

Due to the amount of information handled by creditor and credit reporting agencies, mistakes are inevitable. Some of the most common mistakes are typos in a person’s name, incorrect social security numbers, or first names swapped with last names.

Family Members with the Same Name

John Smith Senior and John Smith Junior may find their information mixed because of their names and relationship to one another.

How do I fix a mixed credit report?

An employer must disclose if you were denied employment due to the information on your background check and where it came from. After reviewing the background check, the employer referenced, start by disputing the information with the credit agency that issued the inaccurate report.

Job seekers are protected by a few fundamental rights regarding background checks. First, a potential employer must disclose if the reason you were denied employment was due to your background check. Second, they must provide a copy to would-be employees. You have the right to dispute the information directly with the employer and the company that generated the report. The agency that provided the incorrect information is required to investigate your claims within 30 days.  If your data is not updated correctly, an experienced consumer protection attorney can help you sue for any losses you’ve incurred.

Next Steps

Have you been denied opportunities due to mixed files? Use the contact form on our site to find out what you can earn in a lawsuit. Please provide the details of your case, and someone will respond to your claim promptly.