Risking sounding like a braggart, I have excellent credit (the credit report said so!) with nearly 15 years of picture perfect activity. No overdue accounts, no collections, high credit indicating good financial experience, and my student loans are paid in full. Our fairly new mortgage leaves a rather high balance, and I still have some time left to pay off the Jeep, but those loans be taken care of in due time. Credit-wise there were no real surprises on the report except a credit card for the Limited evidently not cancelled and inactive since January 2002. It was my personal information that included something surprising, a section titled “also known as.”
Apparently I have an alias unknown to me until today. Not the 9 instances of my misspelled name, but a name totally different than my own. Somehow the credit companies think I also carry around the moniker Michelle “my husband’s last name.” For those who don’t know me, or haven’t caught up with my blog postings to go wayyyyyy back to 2005, my husband opted to keep his maiden name and so did I. This is one issue I am incredibly opinionated on; I even contribute to the Lucy Stone League, an organization campaigning to change the widespread practices of wives taking husbands' surnames at marriage and of children being given fathers' surnames. Yet for some reason, nearly 7 years after saying I do, people still require a reminder that my husband and I carry different surnames.
Names are an important key to what a society values. Anthropologists recognize naming as 'one of the chief methods for imposing order on perception.
- David S. Slawson
Apparently I needed to inform the credit agencies of this decision as well, because all the major agencies had me with an alias of Michelle “My husband’s last name.” There has never been a single official document with my last name as anything other then the one I was born with, yet on my credit report there was this completely different name. The 9 different spellings, although annoying, are to be expected with a last name of multiple syllables, but a totally different last name? I felt like I was stealing someone else’s identity as I read the report and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how this mistaken identity happened. My husband and I are both on our mortgage with our own names, and share a credit card account set up with each of our names. These are the only documents I could see triggering this presumptuous change to my list of names. Presumptuous not only that I took on his name, but that we were even married.
As annoying and time consuming as this was, it was probably far less work then any hassle people who change their names experience. It took about a half-dozen phone calls, but I got this other woman’s name expunged from my credit history (and cancelled the Limited credit card). I reprinted the reports and now feel like I’m back to my old self.