‘I am not dead:’ Orange County man mistakenly reported deceased to credit bureau

Man discovered issue when he went to buy a truck

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A longtime businessman and retired law enforcement officer said he was recently denied a vehicle loan after a credit card company mistakenly reported him as deceased to a nationwide credit agency.

“They said I was dead,” Basil Gordon said. “Thank God, I’m still here.”

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A letter from the credit card company arrived at Gordon’s home in June, addressed to his estate.

“Please accept our condolences for the loss of Basil E. Gordon,” the letter stated. “We’re here to help you during this difficult time.”

Gordon said he did not immediately respond to the letter but later called the credit card company, Capital One Services, to pay his monthly bill.

“They told me I couldn’t pay my bills because I’m deceased,” Gordon said. “I spoke to another gentleman who apologized to me [and said] they don’t know how this happened.”

After convincing the credit card company he had not died, Gordon assumed the matter was cleared up.

But when Gordon later attempted to purchase a dump truck for one of his business ventures, he said the financing company declined to give him a loan.

“[The truck dealer] said, ‘Well, I ran your credit’ and it’s in the credit bureau [report] that I am deceased,” Gordon said.

One of Gordon’s credit reports generated in September indicates “consumer is deceased” on four of Gordon’s accounts with Capital One.

“We are sorry for the inconveniences Mr. Gordon experienced,” a Capital One spokesperson said. “We always encourage customers to reach out to us directly so that we can investigate any unusual account activity.”

Capital One and other financial experts encourage customers to regularly monitor their credit.

If a consumer is mistakenly reported as deceased, the nation’s three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — have procedures to correct erroneous information.

“By law, credit bureaus and the lenders and creditors that report information to them are both responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information on a consumers’ credit report,” Angeles Quinones, an Equifax spokesperson said. “Lenders and creditors reporting inaccurate or incomplete information are responsible for updating it with each bureau they report to. If the information on the credit report is found to be inaccurate or incomplete, the credit report will be updated, generally within about 30 days.”

Gordon, who celebrated his 80th birthday this summer, said he is working with an attorney to correct his credit report.

“I am not dead,” Gordon said. “My plan is to live to be 104.”

About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades. Mike joined News 6 just as Florida officials began counting hanging chads in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election. Since then, he has covered some of the biggest news events in Central Florida.