A shared name could hurt your good name. That's what one Tulsa woman discovered recently. Cindy Lewis has three bad debts on her credit report that belong to another Cindy Lewis.
It's not identity theft. Instead it appears to be "mistaken" identity, but the damage can be the same.
It's not the first impression Cindy Lewis wanted to make.
"I was applying for a job in another state, and they did a background check on me and sent me a letter saying I had three civil cases against me, which weren't mine," Lewis said. "I was completely just blown away."
Lewis said TransUnion, one of three major credit reporting agencies, told her they had gotten the information about her supposed debts from Tulsa County Courts. But Lewis says Tulsa County told her the info had not come from them.
"So I'm a little confused how the credit agency got the information in the first place," Lewis said.
She called the law firm that represented one of the companies that was owed money, and said they told her there does appear to be another Cynthia Lewis out there.
"He said our addresses were different, our social security numbers were different. There was no reason we should have been mixed up," Lewis said.
What's more, she got the impression the lawyers were familiar with these kinds of identity mix-ups, which makes her wonder how often it happens.
"My questions are, how did it get on my credit report, how do I get it off, and who's held liable for putting wrong information, false information on my credit report," Lewis said. "That a possible, potential employer could have gotten ahold of and cost me a job."
Luckily, she still got the job. But she doesn't know how long it will take to correct her credit report.
She recommends that people check theirs, to make sure you don't have more in common with someone than just your name.