An accurate credit report may be one of the most important tools consumers have when it comes to obtaining favorable interest rates and employment opportunities.
And they are on their own to make sure that all of the information on it reflects reality, according to a recent report by WTOL.com. The first step consumers should take is to carefully look over their report, keeping an eye out for fraudulent or erroneous charges. These are not necessarily indicative of identity theft. Rather, some may be as innocent as a mix-up by the credit reporting bureaus.
"Always check it to make sure it's correct," Marcia O'Connor, a consumer credit counselor advises. "You see a lot of problems with junior and seniors; they often get them mixed up."
Those who notice problems with their credit report should pursue actions to correct it. This includes notifying their lender that suspicious charges have been made. When contacting the three credit reporting bureaus, a simple phone call may not be enough, according to the report.
Such attempts may lead to frustration, particularly when the bureaus require further documentation to adjust one's report. Therefore, it is often best to mail a copy of one's credit report to the bureau, with erroneous details highlighted. Consumers should also include a copy of their drivers license or state identification card, Social Security card, paperwork to support their side of the case, the number of the account in question and the full name of the creditor or collection agency, according to the report.
Sizable errors may prompt an investigation into whether identity theft played a role in the charges, particularly if the mistakes were made by all three credit reporting bureaus.
Processing these corrections may take time, but the effects of removing incorrect information will likely last longer. Credit history can determine the amount of time it takes for a homeowner to pay off their mortgage and the size of payments they are required to make. They can also play a factor in one's employment possibilities, as a significant number of companies - particularly within finance - view job seekers' credit as a reflection of their responsibility.
Consumers should note that they will not be able to remove correct negative information from their report. Still, this information becomes less important as it gets older as long as consumers begin to exhibit solid money management practices.