Mixed Files:Experian: Jensen v. Experian, E.D. Texas

Father-Son, Mother-Daughter, Junior-Senior-Trey [Generational Designators], Common Names, Variations on Social Security Numbers and Other Mixed File Issues
David A. Szwak

Mixed Files:Experian: Jensen v. Experian, E.D. Texas

Postby David A. Szwak » Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:37 pm

1


1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
2 SHERMAN DIVISION

3 JAMES E. JENSEN, *
*
4 Plaintiff, *
* CIVIL ACTION
5 VS. * NO. 00-CV-0040
*
6 EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC.*
*
7 Defendant. *

8

9 *********************************************************

10 ORAL AND VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITION OF CAROLYN HELM

11 AUGUST 16, 2000

12 VOLUME 1

13 *********************************************************

14

15

16 ANSWERS AND DEPOSITION OF CAROLYN HELM, produced as a

17 witness duly sworn by me at the instance of the Plaintiff,

18 taken in the above-styled and -numbered cause on the 16th

19 day of August, 2000, A.D., beginning at 9:54 a.m. to 2:29

20 p.m., before LISA C. HUNDT, a Certified Shorthand Reporter

21 in and for the State of Texas, reported by machine

22 shorthand, in the offices of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue,

23 located at 2727 North Harwood, Dallas, Texas, in accordance

24 with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the

25 agreements hereinafter set forth.

***********

25 Q. From your review of -- of the various records,





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1 when did Mr. Jensen first complain to Experian about

2 anything on his credit report?

3 A. I believe it was March of 1998.

4 Q. And then he filed suit in January of 2000?

5 A. Yes. I don't -- I don't remember the exact date,

6 but that's about right.

7 Q. Okay. So it appears that all of his complaints

8 that he has with Experian fall within that two-year window

9 from his first dispute until the time that suit was filed?

10 A. Yes, in '98, uh-huh.

11 Q. In reviewing some of the pleadings, there's an

12 allegation and assertion with regard to the procedures that

13 Experian uses to investigate fraud or identity theft

14 disputes. Can you first run me through those generally?

15 A. I'm -- I'm not aware that there was fraud issues

16 involved in this particular...

17 Q. Let me ask you: After you looked at this

18 particular case, did you find it to be a mixed file issue,

19 as you all define it at Experian, or did you find it to be

20 an application fraud/theft of identity issue?

21 A. It appeared to be a mixed file.

22 Q. Do you know who the other consumers were that were

23 mixed with Mr. Jensen?

24 A. I believe there were consumers with a similar

25 names.





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1 Q. Similar names?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Were they located in the same geographic area as

4 Mr. Jensen, or were they located at other locations?

5 A. Offhand, I don't remember the addresses. There

6 were other addresses on his report.

7 Q. If I remember, there was one in California,

8 perhaps one in North Carolina, one in Billings, Montana.

9 They seem to be -- have a great deal of demographic

10 disparity. Do you agree with that?

11 A. Again, I don't remember what the different

12 addresses were. Is there something that you can show me?

13 Q. Sure. I think it should be in -- within the admin

14 reports that are contained there, some difference in terms

15 of the addresses.

16 A. Okay. I see one that is in Libby, Montana, that

17 was deleted. Libby, Montana... On this particular one,

18 they all seem to be right around the Montana area.

19 Q. Do you find that there are actually multiple --

20 A. Oh, here's a California.

21 Q. -- multiple admin reports on different files with

22 different PIN numbers that are all contained as part of

23 that disclosure?

24 A. There are -- there is information under different

25 PIN numbers.





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1 Q. Okay. And the differing PIN numbers would

2 identify different files as Experian defines files within

3 the File One structure?

4 A. That's true. If there's different ID information

5 on each of the PINS, they'll delineate differently.

6 Q. When you reviewed these different admin reports --

7 and I believe, if I counted correctly, there were roughly

8 five different PIN numbers and five different admin

9 reports, all generated in connection with Mr. Jensen, the

10 plaintiff. Would that be correct?

11 A. I'm only aware of one admin report. There may be

12 different PINs within the admin report.

13 Q. There was a single admin report generated, but

14 they have different files that are contained within the one

15 admin?

16 A. They're all different PIN numbers, yes.

17 Q. If I understood you correctly, you don't -- you

18 don't perceive that there's a fraud or identity theft issue

19 here that would give rise to any need to discuss those

20 procedures?

21 A. It appears to be a mixed file.

22 Q. Tell me, if you can: What does Experian define as

23 a mixed file?

24 A. It's a file that has varying information regarding

25 a consumer. It can have a different social security





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1 number. It can have different name -- variances of the

2 names. It can have different addresses, although addresses

3 because the consumers are basically mobile across the

4 United States, that's not necessarily an indication in and

5 of itself.

6 Q. Okay. So the fact that someone might move from

7 state to state is really not an indication whether or not

8 it's that person, correct?

9 A. It's not an indication that it's not that person.

10 Q. Right. The other names that were associated with

11 the files that had been mixed with Mr. Jensen, were those

12 people with the same name or similar names?

13 A. Similar names.

14 Q. Do you know those names were?

15 A. I believe there was a James E. Jensen; however,

16 the E stood for something else, other than what

17 Mr. Jensen's middle name was.

18 Q. There also was a James Edwin Jensen?

19 A. I believe that's our consumer, Edwin.

20 Q. Okay. And then there was a Jim Jensen?

21 A. (Nods head.)

22 Q. Did you find that there were two other social

23 security numbers reflected in the reports involving the

24 plaintiff?

25 A. I believe there were other social security





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1 numbers, yes.

2 Q. There was not only his social security number, but

3 there were two others that were not within seven of nine

4 digits of each other; is that correct?

5 A. They were different -- they were different. I

6 don't know what you mean by seven or nine.

7 Q. Well, they were not almost a match in terms of the

8 sequence of numbers in the social?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. In essence, if -- if we were to take any social

11 security number, they were not within a seven of nine

12 numeric match of each other?

13 A. There were -- there were probably more digits

14 other than two that were different. I think that's what

15 you mean, yes.

16 Q. Yes, it is. I believe one of them -- just one

17 second. I apologize for being a little bit out of sequence

18 in what I was going to ask. Pardon me. I'm just going to

19 take one quick second.

20 Okay. I'm looking at what appears to be Experian

21 No. 38, and I'll show it to you. Do the social security

22 numbers, the three of them that appear on that page, do

23 those appear to be the three numbers that you found that

24 had been mixed with the plaintiff's information, one of

25 them being his accurate, true social security number and





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1 the other two corresponding to other consumers with similar

2 names?

3 A. Yes. I believe these are the two different social

4 security numbers.

5 Q. Okay. Thank you. And one of those appears to be

6 501-52-ABCD, and the other is 092-56-STUV? [changed from real SSNs]

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Were you able to determine whether there was other

9 identifying information which might have caused the records

10 or data of these other two consumers to be mixed with

11 Mr. Jensen, the plaintiff?

12 A. There was a variance of data. I didn't actually

13 work on this particular mixed file, but there was variance

14 of names, different social, different addresses.

15 Q. What corresponding information caused that

16 information to merge together or mix together?

17 A. I don't believe there was a determination of that.

18 Q. Was it -- were you able to even determine the

19 identifying information in connection with the other

20 consumer?

21 A. We were able to determine that certain social

22 security numbers were related to different addresses.

23 Those -- then those were related to different names.

24 Q. Okay. Well, if we have James Jensen on Ridgecrest

25 Drive in Boise, Idaho, with a particular social security





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1 number, and we know that his social security number did not

2 match, and they're not even close to the other two social

3 security numbers reported, do you know what other

4 identifying information existed on these other two

5 consumers which might have caused these -- these pieces of

6 data to blend together?

7 A. I don't have that information.

8 Q. By looking at the admin report, are you able to

9 discern what other information might have caused the data

10 to blend together?

11 A. I don't think there's any indication on this admin

12 that -- that would cause that.

13 Q. When you -- when you looked at the admin report,

14 did you find a name in association with the other social

15 security numbers under the name cross-reference system?

16 A. Okay. I didn't follow you there, David. I'm

17 sorry.

18 Q. Sure. Did you find the name that was associated

19 with the other social security numbers --

20 A. No.

21 Q. -- in the cross-reference section?

22 A. The admin that we pulled at 2/1 of 2000, as a

23 result of the lawsuit, didn't have the variances that may

24 have first occurred in 1998.

25 Q. Do you believe that these files began mixing





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1 together in 1998?

2 A. I don't know when it began. It's just there's no

3 indication in 2000 because the file had already been

4 updated in 1998 and '99. So in this particular admin,

5 there's no indication at all that the file was mixed here.

6 Q. Let me see if I understood what you said

7 correctly. When you reviewed this particular admin, you

8 didn't find any indication that the file had been mixed?

9 A. I didn't -- we didn't find any indication that the

10 file -- that the names that appeared before still appeared.

11 There is an indication that there is a preventative flag --

12 it's what we call a flag -- on the file to prevent the

13 combination of the files.

14 Q. Well, do you -- do you believe Mr. Jensen -- or do

15 you agree or disagree with his position that his file

16 continued to be mixed and contain inaccurate information

17 pertaining to the other two consumers, but being attributed

18 to him, after he contacted you in 1998?

19 A. I believe there were still inaccurate trade lines

20 being reported. We know that now as a result of the

21 investigation.

22 Q. Which investigation?

23 A. As a result of all of the different

24 investigations.

25 Q. How many different investigations did you





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1 determine occurred at Experian?

2 A. I believe Mr. Jensen contacted us in March --

3 actually twice in March with a duplicate dispute. I think

4 once in late March, and I guess it went into -- even though

5 the letter was dated March, we received it, actually, in

6 April. And then, also, another one the following year, in

7 1999.

8 And then I believe that we did an investigation as a

9 result of the lawsuit as well.

10 Q. Do you believe that the only name pertaining to

11 these other two social security numbers is the last name

12 Jensen with a first name Jim or James?

13 A. I believe that there's a middle -- there is a

14 middle name or initial in there as well.

15 Q. Do you have any information as to whether either

16 of these other two consumers ever lived in the same

17 geographic area as the plaintiff?

18 A. I don't know.

19 Q. Assuming that these other two gentlemen -- these

20 other two James Jensens -- have not lived in Boise, Idaho,

21 or in any other city where the plaintiff has lived in the

22 past -- or particularly, not at the same address -- can

23 Experian offer any information as to why these files would

24 mix?

25 A. Well, here again, I'm not a system expert. But





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1 there -- just depending on the variance of information,

2 either the creditors input when accessing the file or when

3 the consumer is actually requesting his file, can make a

4 difference.

5 Q. Do you have any information that Mr. Jensen, the

6 plaintiff, in any way contributed to the mixing of this

7 file information?

8 A. No, I don't.

9 Q. Do you have any information that the creditors

10 that were involved with these other two gentlemen -- the

11 other two James Jensens -- do you have any information that

12 either -- any of those creditors contributed to the mixing

13 of this information?

14 A. I don't have any information as to how they access

15 the credit report. I just was stating how it could happen.

16 Q. Do you have any information that would suggest

17 that either of these other Mr. Jensens ever used the social

18 security number of the plaintiff --

19 A. No.

20 Q. -- Jensen?

21 A. I don't.

22 Q. From your review, you could not find any inquiries

23 made from these other addresses associated with the other

24 Jensens that bore the same social security number as the

25 plaintiff Jensen?





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1 A. No.

David A. Szwak

Postby David A. Szwak » Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:59 pm

21 Q. Do you think that the problem would be cured, in

22 your opinion from what you know, if Experian required their

23 subscribers to input complete information? Do you think it

24 would eliminate this type of merged file problem?

25 A. I think there's a lot of variables that enter into





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1 the mixed file arena, so I don't know if that would be in

2 and of itself the total solution.

3 Q. What type of variables do you feel like exist that

4 create this problem?

5 A. Well, there again, I'm -- I'm not a systems

6 person.

7 Q. But you've reviewed a large number of these mixed

8 file problems that -- that come into existence, haven't

9 you?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Tell me what your personal opinion is. What is it

12 that you see in handling these files?

13 A. I think if everyone was consistent in the

14 information they give both the creditor and the consumer,

15 it would help.

16 Q. Okay. Did you find inconsistencies in what the

17 plaintiff provided his creditors?

18 A. I don't -- I don't know what the plaintiff

19 provided his creditors. I don't have --

20 Q. He consistently afforded them the same social

21 security number being his true social, right?

22 A. I don't know.

23 Q. Did you find any variation on his part?

24 A. In asking for his credit report, we found none.

25 But I don't know what he provides his credit grantors.





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1 Q. I understand. I'm just asking you from what you

2 saw in the file at Experian: Did you ever find an instance

3 where the plaintiff in this case used a different social

4 security number or even had a typographical error by a

5 creditor on his true social?

6 A. Not in -- in our credit report, no.

7 Q. So are we safe to assume that, from what your

8 records indicate, the plaintiff always used his appropriate

9 social security number?

10 A. No. I don't know, David. I know that when he

11 requested his credit report, he did. I can't say what he's

12 done when he applies for credit.

13 Q. Do you believe that Mr. Jensen always listed his

14 address correctly as shown in your records?

15 A. I think if -- his current address, he always

16 listed that one when he pulled a -- or requested a copy of

17 his credit report.

18 Q. Did you find that he consistently used his

19 truthful name? In essence, he didn't use a nickname in

20 applying for credit?

21 A. We -- there again, I don't know what he did in

22 applying for credit. I just know that when he requested a

23 copy of his credit report from us he was consistent.

24 Q. Okay. You didn't find him to -- to use variations

25 which might impact the matching process?





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1 A. Not when he requested his credit report.


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