Each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – collects and stores information about you in databases, resulting in three separate credit reports which each contain raw data in what are called “credit files.” A “mixed credit report” occurs when one of these agencies inaccurately merges entire credit files, or credit information in general, belonging to two separate consumers.
There is a range of causes for merged credit files, and it’s believed that most or all result from the algorithms used by the credit agencies; an improper algorithm is just as likely to cause merged credit files as the actual inaccurate reporting of a consumer’s information. The sheer number of credit files, including per consumer, also amplifies the effects of bad algorithms by complicating the processes of sorting and matching files and increasing the likelihood of incomplete reports.
If you have reason to believe that your credit report contains information which belongs to someone else, you have a right to dispute this information by contacting the particular credit agency which provided it. This can be done either online or via mail, and if you have been a victim of a violation of credit reporting laws, contact an experienced attorney for assistance.