How Do I Convince a Credit Bureau That I'm Not Dead?

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By Gerri Detweiler

Although most of us who check our credit reports are doing it to make sure credit bureaus are correctly reporting our debts and payment records, one Credit.com reader named Denise says she's having trouble convincing a credit bureau she's alive.

"Experian shows that I'm deceased because when I closed my Kohl's (KSS) charge card, the rep accidentally marked me 'deceased' instead of 'customer closed account.' After I got that straightened out, I sent a notarized letter with a copy of my birth certificate to Experian (EXPN) stating that I am alive and Kohl's made an error when I closed my account.This was months ago, and I am still marked deceased. What can or should I do?"

Staffers at Credit.com got in touch with Experian, and staffers there said they've been trying to reach Denise. In the meantime, Kristine Snyder, public relations manager for Experian Consumer Information Services, says one of the important questions to answer is whether Denise found out she had an error on her credit report from a lender or from pulling her own credit report.

If a lender tells you there is a problem on your credit reports, you need get an updated personal copy of your report because that has instructions for filing a dispute -- including the right address to submit your dispute. You can get a copy for free every year.

What If the Problem Persists?

Snyder said consumers should allow 30 days for the dispute process to be completed, although she said they are typically completed more quickly. "Without knowing what the consumer actually did, it's hard to say what happened, but we handle disputes like this one quickly and effectively, so I definitely want to be sure we are able to assist this consumer," she said.

In general, if fixing a mistake is taking longer than 30 days, it's smart to follow up with the credit bureau. Particularly if you are sending documents, as Denise did, it's a good idea to send it via certified mail (which requires a signature for delivery), with a return receipt. It's also helpful to log whom you spoke with and what was said, and to keep copies of all correspondence. Both you and the credit bureau have good reason to want to make sure the information in your file is correct; credit scores are only as good as the data behind them.

Denise could also ask Kohl's to submit corrected information. Again, it's important to keep good records and to use certified mail.

Another option, particularly if a mistake persists despite a consumer's best efforts to get it corrected, would be to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or consult a consumer law attorney for advice.


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36 Comments

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Edwin Donald Anderso

It just takes an instant to enter incorrect info but for ever to correct it. why?

Tuesday at 8:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pamela Duncan

If they thought that I were dead, I think that I would let them go right on believing it, hence, leave my sweet hiney alone for good! Bye bye surveillance, butting into every nook and cranny of my life, listening in on my phone calls, reading my emails (and physical mail), and flying black helicopters over my house because of every "subversive" utterance that I may or may not whisper into someone's ear....ugh. A crippled patriot is hardly a "threat", except to a problematic "Homeland".

October 06 2014 at 6:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elpasoworld

Never tell a Federal Agency / IRS/ that you are dead or have someone tell them that you are dead. They will immedially enter that into their computer to shut off any assistance, Disability or Social Security account. The government WANTS to keep what you paid into Social Security.
It is in the Governments vested financial interest that you die before the age of 62.

July 07 2014 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sam54ct

Stop paying taxes, the Feds will help them figure it out quickly, when they miss the money.

July 07 2014 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
abourge458

You COULD have fun with it.....
Get a small mirror, replace the mirror with plain glass. Then you go to the place, start a conversation about their claim, THEN,,,,, Pull out the "Mirror" and scream: "OH my God! Your right! I have no reflection!"

July 07 2014 at 7:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
JOHN

http://gethuman.com/phone-number/Experian/
These are phone numbers

July 07 2014 at 1:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Wiley

GO ROB A BANK - A FEDERAL BANK

July 07 2014 at 12:59 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Mohammad Ahmed

Call Experian Legal Department baby here's their numbe rjason engel west coast exprian lead counsel ashley marty 7148307060.. We developed an app that automatically separates scans and challenges (based on law) negative items on our credit reports. It sends them automatically too. The current settings are bullshit. The consumer should have the right to control his information as well before shopping for lending.

July 07 2014 at 12:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
steve

Its easy, Just tell the I.R.S. that your dead and don't pay your taxes. After all the credit review company's cant be wrong. LOLOLO.. Then I would tell the tax collectors to take it up with the credit company..

July 07 2014 at 12:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scal8585

It used to be that the best way to convince someone you are alive is by showing them your tax return. Nowadays, even the dead can't escape the IRS.

July 06 2014 at 9:46 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply