Does Your Credit Report Say You’re A Terrorist?

terrorist credit report

We help a lot of people here to fix credit issues appearing on their credit reports, and suffice it to say, we thought we saw it all.  That is until we saw this whopper over at Yahoo.

We all know the bureaus maintain credit files on hundreds of millions of Americans, culling their information from roughly 10,000 sources.  These sources provide almost 1.5 billion data points to the bureaus each and every month, and as you can expect there are a lot of errors and bogus information that don’t belong on your report.  Things like late payments, collection accounts, bankruptcies, the normal stuff that we work with day in and day out to have removed.

But one thing we haven’t been asked to do yet, is to repair credit for someone who is mistakenly reported as a terrorist. But that time may be coming soon.

Pursuant to new banking and lending laws and the Patriot Act, when a credit report is pulled for an individual looking to obtain credit, the bureaus now not only go to their normal database containing the payment history and other related financial records, they now also check the individual against the governments blacklist of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) also referred to as the OFAC list for the agency that maintains the list, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

“It’s horribly embarrassing,” says Andrew Ogilvie, a consumer lawyer based in San Francisco, who is representing Ramirez in a class-action lawsuit against TransUnion. “Nobody wants to be sitting in somebody’s finance office, [having someone tell you] ‘I’m sorry, I can’t sell you a car because you appear to be a terrorist or a money launderer or a drug trafficker.”

Worse yet, the bureaus claim that because they do not control this list, and because it is not reported on your actual report that there is nothing they can do to remove the information.  Basically, they are saying that they are simply a vehicle for passing through this information from the government to the lender and thus there is nothing to dispute.

The credit bureaus are taking the position that it is the lenders job to look through the list and they are simply providing the information as a pass through and convenience, and that it is up to the lender to make the final determination as to whether the individual is the same one on the list or not.

This may not be entirely accurate, and there are a number of lawyers around the country who are organizing a class action against the bureaus to remedy this problem.

However, if you are mistakenly put on the list, or have a name similar or the same as someone on this list you may find it very difficult to get any sort of credit until this mess is sorted out.

While the legal status of this issue remains in limbo, we will be sure to aggressively stay on top of the situation so that we can continue to enforce the rights of our clients to have a credit report accurately and fairly reflect their true character.

Have you been denied credit because of appearing on the OFAC list? We want to hear about it, leave your comment below.

Image By: monaxle

About Anthony Candella

Anthony is the founder and Directing Attorney of YourCreditAttorney.com and has been helping consumers just like you understand and improve your credit and financial situation since 2003.