James B. Fishman, a consumer attorney in New York, said the Fair Credit Reporting Act may give Livingston grounds for suing either the bank or the credit bureaus if he appropriately disputed his credit report with the credit bureaus.
"I always push people to try to get as much information as possible. It's not necessarily intuitive for the round-about process," he said.
Fishman said cases in which consumers are mistakenly declared deceased don't occur every day but are "not unheard of."
"It doesn't surprise me to hear a bank would do that," he said.
Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director of the Public Interest Research Group, said the credit reporting bureaus have mistakenly declared people as deceased by relying on the Social Security Administration data.
"This is the reason why we need Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Mierzwinski said of the new federal agency created from the Dodd-Frank Act. "Credit bureaus and banks get away with this stuff all the time."