What if your credit report says you're dead?

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2019

What is your credit report says your dead?


It’s always distressing to be rejected for a credit line, but perhaps the worst is when you find that you’ve been declined because your credit report has you as deceased!  However outrageous it may sound, this does occasionally happen, and I’ve helped many of my own clients through the process of correcting this error.


Being reported as deceased can happen to those who share an account with someone who has died, namely a spouse or a family member — if you share the same last name, human error can take its toll.


If you found out your credit report has you a deceased,  it’s important you move quickly and know that you’ll have to check your credit report with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Then you can see if any creditors tagged your account as deaceased. Most of the time, these notices serve the important purpose of preventing thieves from making use of the decedent’s credit, but in this case, it’s important that you correct the error as soon as possible before more institutions you rely on assume you are no longer in need of their services.



To fix such an error on your report, you’ll need to do some legwork:


1. Obtain a report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Read through them to find the source of the erroneous information. Is it one account, or several accounts?


2. If it seems that some but not all of your accounts show you as deceased, notify each bureau of the mistake and provide documentation of your living status. It seems ironic that we must provide proof that we are alive, but it is necessary to do.


3: You need to contact any creditor(s) who had reported you as deceased. Ask them what documentation they will need to make sure they fix the issue in their system and that they also take that alert off the account status.


4. If your entire credit report is showing that you are deceased, it is likely the fault of the Social Security Administration. Go to your local SSA office as soon as possible to clear up the mistake. In all likelihood, accounts will need a letter from the SSA to reinstate your credit if the government believes you to have passed on.


It helps if you check your credit regularly so you notice any changes that indicate potential problems.  For example, if you have a “deceased” listing on your credit report, you likely won’t be considered for any credit. So if you monitor your credit and you’re suddenly unable to get your scores, it’s a sign to check your credit reports for any problems.


This is a distressing process, but do know that it can be corrected. The most important point to remember is to address the problem as soon as possible.

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