Credit Report errors are not uncommon. In fact, a report by CBS showed that 4 in 5 Credit Reports contained an error of some type. If those odds don’t make you rush out to check your report, I don’t know what will!
While you can’t stop credit report errors from being made, disputing and correcting errors on your credit report is easier than you might think. Here are some easy tips to get you started:
1. First you need to obtain copies of all three credit reports – one from each credit reporting agency (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax). AnnualCreditReport.com is the official distributor of free credit reports.
2. Carefully examine each report for errors. Some common mistakes to watch for are:
- wrong balances
- inaccurate collection accounts
- missing accounts (the good ones that will help you!)
- inaccurate personal information (such as account opened by someone with a similar name, similar social security number or misspellings of your name)
3. If you do find information that is wrong or a mistake, dispute it immediately with the credit reporting agency. You can sometimes handle the dispute process online, but you may be better off handling i it the old fashioned way – with a letter.It’s always a good idea to follow up directly with the creditor in question as well so there isn’t any miscommunication.
4. For help disputing a credit report error, check out this excellent resource on the Federal Trade Commission Website to guide you through the process.
5. Keep good records! If you are sending any information via US mail, be sure to obtain proof of receipt (such as sending it certified mail) for your own protection. The credit reporting agency and the creditor in dispute have 30 days under federal law to investigate the item being disputed, so it’s important to keep track of all documentation including letters sent, times and dates of any phone conversations and proof of mailing for anything you send regarding the dispute.
Errors on your credit report can have a serious impact on your credit score, so it’s important to keep a careful eye on those reports. Check your credit score at least once every year to make sure problems don’t crop up!