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PORTLAND, Ore. – A federal jury has ordered one of the nation’s three largest credit reporting agencies to pay a woman $5.3 million for confusing her credit history with that of another woman. An eight-member U.S. District Court jury in Portland found Trans Union willfully violated the law, enacted in 1970 to ensure that credit companies provide accurate information, when it repeatedly misreported Judy C. Thomas’ credit history, the Associated Press reported. The award included $5 million in punitive damages. Since 1996, Trans Union had listed the bad debts of Judith L. Upton of Washington state on Judy Thomas’ credit reports. The two women share the same birth year, similar first names and their social security numbers differ by only one digit. The verdict is the largest ever awarded under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, according to consumer attorneys.

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