Credit report errors
Studies show that a high percentage of consumer credit reports - up to 70 percent - contain errors, so you should be prepared to see some erroneous information on your credit report.
The faster you identify and rectify credit report errors, the better. Even small credit report errors can cost you big bucks - tens of thousands of dollars - in elevated interest rates over the long run. Correcting credit report errors typically results in credit scores going up 20 to 30 points, but corrections can lead to a score increase of up to 100 points or more if the error was a bankruptcy report.
If changes in your credit file are due to information that is inaccurate, disputing credit report information is an option and your right. By law, federal credit bureaus must investigate all credit report dispute information. The credit report laws also require the source of the inaccurate information (for example, a bank) to correct the error at any of the credit bureaus where they reported the false information.
Common credit report errors
- Incorrect report of a nonpayment on a loan or debt
- Misfiling by a department store regarding a credit card account
- Confusion regarding family members with the same name: For instance, Jon Smith Jr.'s irresponsible bill paying could be recorded on Jon Smith Sr.'s credit report
- Accounts opened without your approval by someone committing identity theft
What to do in response to errors in your credit report and score
- Get proof of the error: This usually comes in the form of a letter from the creditor admitting the mistake. It's best to have this letter or letters in hand when you request a re-score.
- Immediately tell the credit bureau agency in writing about any information you believe is erroneous.
- Also consider trying to correct credit report errors online. Some credit bureaus offer this service.
- Keep in mind that results aren't guaranteed - removing an error may or may not help your credit score.
If you suspect the errors on your credit report are due to identity theft or fraud, take the following steps
- Notify the fraud divisions of all three consumer credit bureaus that you have been a victim of identity theft and ask them to put a fraud alert on your file.
- Require that creditors get permission before opening an account in your name.
- File a police report with your local police department.
- Immediately close any accounts that have been fraudulently opened in your name and follow up with those lenders in writing.
- If you suspect an identity thief opened accounts in your name by stealing your mail, notify your local postal inspector.
- Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles if you think someone is using your name or social security number to obtain a driver's license.
- If you suspect someone tried to use your social security number to apply for a job, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to verify that your name is being used correctly.
- Contact all three major credit bureaus and request the most recent copies of your credit report. Or obtain a 3-in-one credit report from a reputable online credit check agency like CreditReport.com. Follow up every few months to make sure no additional fraudulent activity has taken place.
- In the future, place passwords on all accounts for added security.
For more information on disputing credit report information, how to check your credit report, or how to instantly get your 3 in 1 credit report, FREE credit score, and identity theft insurance, go to www.CreditReport.com now!