A Colorado grandma was detained at a car dealership after her credit report mistakenly flagged her as a suspected Colombian narcoterrorist, reports Lyneka Little with ABC News.Sandra Cortez’s name was mixed up with Sandra Cortez Quintera, a woman listed on the nation’s Specially Designated Nationals list, which includes terrorists, traffickers, and other people involved in highly illegal activities.
According to the Treasury department, every credit report is run through special software to see if the person is on this list.
Cortez’s lawyer, James Francis, told ABC the government isn’t doing enough to prevent people like Cortez with common names from being flagged incorrectly,
“The credit reporting agencies are making horrible matching mistakes because they’re not using identifying criteria to make sure it’s the right person,” Francis said.
The only advice the Treasury department offers to those mistakenly flagged is to contact the credit agency the same way you would for any other error. Getting a response is easier said than done.
The Dispatch investigated 30,000 complaints filed with several credit reporting agencies and found that more than half were unable to get the agency to correct the mistake. In her case, Cortez was forced to sue TransUnion after several failed attempts to get the alert removed. It took her seven years to reach a settlement.
Stories like hers are the reason the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has decided to start policing credit reporting agencies.