In 2004, a hospital staffer accidentally checked off “deceased” on a heart surgery patient’s discharge papers. That one little tick mark on one document resulted in years of headaches for that woman, as she has attempted time and again to prove to the three credit bureaus that she is not a zombie.
The woman, now 81 years old, tells the Newark Star-Ledger’s Bamboozled column that she first became aware of the problem in 2006 when she applied for a Target credit card.
“My credit was denied,” she recalls. “This was due to my being deceased.”
And so she and her husband set about trying to prove to Equifax, the particular bureau whose report had nixed the Target card, that she does not hunger for brains.
Then in 2007, she and her husband tried to refinance their mortgage, only to find that she was still dead, in spite of her pesky pulse.
Once again, she went through the annoying process of having to gather all the paperwork — and presumably EKG and EEG results — to demonstrate her notable lack of death.
All seemed fine until last spring, when she applied for a Best Buy credit card. One more time — she was denied because apparently dead people are not good credit risks.
Now an octogenarian and fed-up with having to disprove her own demise, she just had her husband apply for the Best Buy card.
But then earlier this year she was facing a hefty dental bill and attempted once more for credit with her tooth-puller of choice. If you guessed she was denied for being dead, you can give yourself a gold star for the day.
After getting Bamboozled involved, the three bureaus were suddenly more responsive, though both Experian and TransUnion say her record was corrected back in 2007. Equifax says the report is now correct.
Muddying the waters even more is the fact that the hospital says it has no copies of any documents listing the woman as deceased, and none of the bureaus will reveal the source(s) of the incorrect information.
We’re going to go out on a wild, completely fictional limb here and guess that this New Jersey woman actually is dead and has taken to haunting these renters in Toms River.