Automatic Addition of Wrong SSN to File:Liability:Lowry

Maximum Possible Accuracy
David A. Szwak

Automatic Addition of Wrong SSN to File:Liability:Lowry

Postby David A. Szwak » Mon Oct 31, 2005 8:19 pm

Lowry v. Credit Bureau, Inc.
[1978, N.D. Ga.]
444 F.Supp. 541

A reporting agency computer was programed to automatically add to a credit file any new information supplied by an operator who requested the file, a bank loan applicant's social security number appeared in otherwise accurate credit reports pertaining to a similarly named individual, the court held that the incorrect social security number was an actionable inaccuracy, under 1681e[b]. The bank maintained a computer terminal which provided direct access to credit files stored in the computer of the defendant consumer reporting agency. A computer operator seeking the credit file for a particular consumer would supply the computer with as much relevant data about the consumer as possible. The computer would then provide the names and numbers of "points of correspondence" for every file which had at least fifty of such "points" between it and the data entered by the operator. The computer would disclose the full contents of any file requested by the operator. The court said that the only inaccuracy in the reports was the presence of the applicant's social security number in the file of James Frank Lowry. Denying the reporting agency's motion for summary judgment, the court said that the automatic addition of this information to the file when it was requested by the computer operator may have constituted a violation of 1681e[b], because the preparation of a credit report may be viewed as a continuing process, and the obligation to insure the accuracy of the report arises with every addition to it.

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