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Consumers wrongly tagged as Drug traffickers and Terrorists in Credit Reports

By Faye Mergel
Published: Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Consumers are being tagged as terrorists, arms dealers and drug traffickers without their knowledge by the credit report bureaus. And when they realise this has happened and want to get their name cleared, they are given no option!

Sergio Ramirez, a resident of Fremont, California intended to obtain a loan for the car he wanted to purchase. He was in for a shock when he heard that the loan application was rejected because one of the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, had branded him as a drug trafficker. Ramirez then contacted the credit bureau to let them know about their mistake and get it rectified. However, he was told that there was nothing that either the credit bureau or he could do to resolve the issue.

Although Ramirez was tagged as a drug trafficker in the credit report issued by TransUnion, this information was not found in their database. It appeared that the bureau was getting this information from another source. TransUnion informed him that he could not file a dispute to get this issue resolved because there was no OFAC alert in his credit file.
One of the consumer lawyers in San Francisco fighting Ramirez’s lawsuit against the credit bureau, Andrew Ogilvie, said that the situation was truly embarrassing. He said that when a person approach a financial lender for a loan, they would not like to be told that the loan application will not get approved because they are drug traffickers, money launderers or terrorists.

The number of people who have similar problems in their credit reports is still unknown at the moment. However, consumer advocates opine that there could be millions of consumers all over the country who may have such problems in their credit reports. Consumers are in a fix when they try to file a dispute because credit bureaus mislead by telling them about the legality of the OFAC alerts. A few credit report agencies do not consider the information from the OFAC alert to be a part of the consumer’s credit report. Therefore, when the customer tries to resolve this issue and remove this information, they reach a dead end since they are told that the OFAC alert is not present in their file.

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