More of this amazing investigation by the Columbus Dispatch. Mixed Credit Files, though not the most common problem can have a devastating effect on your life:

Judy Thomas crumpled in her seat as the banker behind the big wooden desk said she couldn’t refinance her home. The nurse from northern Ohio was rejected for the loan because, in the financial world, she was also Judith Kendall from Utah who had bad credit.

Barbara Sowers tossed a rejection letter for a government loan onto a pile with so many others. The disabled central Ohio woman — living in a 200-year-old house with holes in the ceiling and rotting walls — couldn’t get a loan to make repairs because credit reports confused her with her daughter, who has a similar name.

Brenda Campbell was certain she would be fired by the Missouri governor if he learned that a collection agency was going to garnish her wages. The personal financial records of the state’s director of senior and disability services were mixed with those of two other women named Brenda Campbell.

The smallest error on a credit report can cause hardship. But when a consumer’s file is mistakenly mixed with one from someone who has questionable credit, whether a stranger or even a family member, the consequences can be devastating.

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