My credit card provider reduced my credit limit by 98%. When I asked why, they advised me to check my credit reports. Turns out my TransUnion and Equifax contact information is full of records for someone with the same first name as mine, but the last name Henderson. My name is Anderson. We have different names, different dates of birth and different addresses. It seems that we once lived on the same street, but at different numbers and in different years. This stranger seems to have secured finance for a BMW, failed to keep up with his payments, and recently had a credit check by home loan companies and I’m afraid he may also consult my personal files. I am about to trade on a property and it may mean I lose it.
Full name masked, London
This is very troubling, and not an isolated case, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Your mysterious alter ego lives across the country and is 10 years younger. There appears to be nothing to connect you and, indeed, Henderson does not appear on your records with Experian, the only credit reference agency to which you are subscribed.
TransUnion made no attempt to explain the error and simply apologized for the “inconvenience.” He says: “We explained that the information has been separated and his credit file corrected.”
Equifax has criticized a lender for mistakenly submitting an address associated with you and Henderson. This raises more questions since, although you lived on the same street at different times, you never had an address in common.
What it shows is that the negligence of a third party, or even a typo, can destroy a credit score with serious repercussions on mortgage applications, insurance, cell phone contracts and even a job search.
It took two weeks for your data records to be separated and Equifax says the process can take up to 28 days as the company responsible for submitting the incorrect data must first rectify the error.
A ‘dissociation notice’ has now been applied to prevent the mismatch from happening again. This is, in my opinion, a serious data breach that could have exposed you or Henderson to fraud, but the ICO says it will only investigate if neither the lender who committed the initial error, nor the credit reference agencies, corrected it. .
Equifax has paid you £350 in compensation. TransUnion is still working through its complaints process, which it warned could take up to eight weeks.
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