Think you have it bad with your last name? Just ask someone with the last name of Smith, Johnson, Davis, Garcia or Wilson what it’s like to have a common last name. According to census data, almost 2.4 million Americans had the last name of Smith, 1.8 million were Johnsons, 1 million Davises, 850,00 Garcias and 700,000 Wilsons.So why does this matter? Because having a common last name is one of the major reasons why you could have errors on your credit reports. It’s common for files to get mixed up, especially when it comes to names.
Conflicting first names can also cause misinformation on a credit report. Cindy Brickley from Pennsylvania, for instance, found her credit report was missing several pieces of information. As it turned out, she had applied for credit cards in the past under the name of Lucinda, instead of Cindy, and the information never made it to her credit report until TransUnion found the issue.
Even with a different last name, errors can happen. Take the case of Judy Thomas. For several years, a credit reporting agency added bad debts to her credit report; the problem was the debts weren’t hers. Instead, the debts belonged to a woman named Judith Upton, who happened to have the same birth year and a social security number that was just one digit different from Ms. Thomas’. The problem was finally resolved after a lot of hard work, research, the dispute process with the credit reporting agency, and even litigation.
Name mix-ups, data entry errors, and mistaken identities: great reasons to review your credit report and resolve any problems right away.