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Consumer credit mix-ups can be costly

Aug 14, 2013 Walt Wojciechowski

Poor consumer credit reports can be frustrating - keeping individuals from securing various loans or qualifying for bank and credit accounts. It's even more of a disappointment when the low score being attached to an individual's name doesn't belong to them but someone else entirely.

Julie Miller, a nurse from Portland, Ore., was recently the victim of such a mix-up, as her model score was mixed up with the less than credit-worthy number of a woman who shares the same moniker, The New York Times reported. As a result, Miller was denied a line of credit from Key Bank, found 38 collection reports on her account and was affixed with a Social Security number and birth date that weren't her own.

Such mistakes are often caused by a computer formula that allows for credit information to be inserted into a specific file even if the identifying information isn't an exact message, the newspaper explained. However, incidence of this remains relatively low - a 2004 study from the Federal Trade Commission found that partial matches only occur 1 to 2 percent of the time.

To make sure such a mix-up doesn't occur or is caught in a timely manner, consumers will want to take advantage of the free credit scores they are afforded annually.