Reason for Dispute: My Name Is Not Angel Polentino
by Jia Tolentino
Yesterday I checked all three of my credit scores, which I’ve done before but always immediately forgotten the number because it’s so boring — “It’s green,” I remarked to myself, “and I believe that means you’re done for the day.”
But yesterday the three numbers were different — the highest and lowest were 167 points apart — and two of them were not green at all. One was on the anemic lime portion of the miniature credit spectrum. Another was straight-up yellow, and the word above it said “WEAK.”
My first reaction was to take personal offense. I signed up for the TransUnion and Experian websites to better understand the reason for this cyber-bullying and answered a series of Big Brother-esque questions that further embarrassed me about my life (In 2005, you bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee: was it a 1987 model, a 1988 model, or 1989 model? “Goddammit,” I said to myself, and clicked the button next to 1987). Then I went through my credit reports in full. One of them didn’t show the Bank of America credit card I’ve had open for six years, so I called Bank of America and within two minutes a woman had filed an account report for me to TransUnion — easy.
The other report showed a $90 Comcast bill from 2012. “SERIOUSLY PAST DUE,” said the report. “I have never even owned a TV so can you back the f**k off,” I said in return. At the end of the report, under Personal Information, I saw a list of all the names I have ever used financially — my full name is Jia Angeli Carla Tolentino and I have used various combinations on various things — and then, at the bottom of the list, I saw the name “ANGEL POLENTINO.”
Experian wouldn’t let me dispute an identity issue online, so I called their 800 number. “Reason for dispute?” the kind, articulate Experian lady asked me.
“My name is not Angel Polentino,” I said. “Who is Angel Polentino?”
This morning I got emails saying that both of my erroneous credit reports had been corrected. Everyone check your credit scores! And then don’t forget to unsubscribe from the little gotcha services where you can view it free for 7 days but after that it’s a million dollars per month on autopay!
This has been a public service announcement from Jia Tolentino.