Managing Credit Disputes

Sometimes when you review your credit report, there are errors that can lead to credit disputes. Mostly due to clerical errors, the presence of misinformation on your credit report can be greatly detrimental to your financial credibility. In order for you to maintain a “good” credit score, credit report errors should always be corrected as soon as possible. However, before you can correct these errors, you first need to review your credit report. With, you can easily check your credit report for errors, review instructions on how to properly read your report, and also find important information on error prevention.

In this section, the following credit report areas will be covered:

 Correct Credit Report Errors

This credit article outlines how errors can be made on your credit report, and how you can correct any misinformation. While the correction of credit report errors can be laborious and time consuming, this credit article explains why it is definitely worth the extra effort on your part.

 Credit Fraud

This credit article explains why diffalerent types of fraud are becoming more and more common, and what you can do to protect the legitimacy of your financial credibility. You can also find beneficial information on how you can reduce the risk of becoming a target for credit fraud.

 Credit Report Errors

Information in this credit article includes helpful examples of common credit report errors. You can also find a useful step-by-step breakdown of what you can do to correct harmful errors on your credit report. In addition to this, you can see how much your credit score can possibly increase after you correct these errors.

 Fraud Prevention

With the information in this credit article, you can see just how difficult it is to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of credit fraud. However, you can also find helpful examples of what you can do to reduce the odds in your favor. One of the examples includes information on what a victim report is, and how it can deter criminals from abusing your credit.

 Fraud Protection

This credit article includes information on what you should do if you discover evidence of credit fraud in your accounts. You can follow these important steps to prevent further credit losses, and also take immediate credit action to restore your financial credibility.

 Investigating Fraud

Information in this credit article shows how and when you can become the unsuspecting victim of damaging credit fraud. You can also find out what role the United States Secret Service plays in investigating credit fraud, and also when you should contact the Attorney Generals office.

Review Your Credit Report with

In order to protect yourself from the above pitfalls of credit fraud, you need to be familiar with the accuracy of your credit report. If you are unfamiliar with your credit history, then it becomes much easier for criminals to take advantage of your accounts. With, you can check your credit report for accuracy, and also follow valuable instructions on how you can correct credit errors. The most powerful defense against credit errors and credit fraud is to become educated on your credit report. With this essential knowledge, not only can you deter criminals from targeting your finances, but you can also discover helpful ways to improve your credit score. Because credit fraud is on the rise, it is now more important than ever to review and understand the information on your credit report. Dont let criminals determine what your credit report should look like. Take charge of your financial accountability by checking your credit report with


Auto Loan to Boost Credit?

Obtaining and remaining current on loans are both major aspects of establishing a strong credit history.

An auto loan may be appealing for college graduates soon entering the workforce, according to a recent release by Americans Well-informed on Auto Retailing Economics. There are several factors to consider when selecting an appropriate set of wheels.

It’s important to create a budget. This should take costs well beyond the initial car payment – like insurance, maintenance, gas and taxes – into consideration. Several of these factors will be influenced by a consumer’s credit report, according to the release, making this another significant factor in financing an automobile.

Those with a strong credit report may be able to obtain favorable interest rates on their auto loan. Because many insurers also view this as a sign of financial responsibility, premiums on auto insurance may be lower.

Some people in this situation may find it difficult to establish the credit history they need, with the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 now making it difficulto for individuals under age 21 to obtain a credit card. Consumers in this situation may seek a co-signer to take equal responsibility on their loan, meaning that late payments will also affect their credit.

It is also important to get acquainted with many of the finance terms associated with auto loans, like annual percentage rates, leasing and finance charges, according to the release. This will prepare consumers for the financial decisions they encounter further down the road.

“An understanding of the vehicle financing process is especially important for those just starting out on their own,” Eric Hoffman, spokesman for AWARE, said. “Responsible management of their monthly car payments will put them on the road towards building a positive credit history.”

Like with any other major purchase, it is also important to spend time shopping around. Talking to multiple dealers and printing quotes ahead of time can help consumers set their expectations before stepping into a dealership. It may also be helpful to meet with the appropriate financial institution to learn about loan options.

Consumers may also want to do their shopping during a short period of time in order to limit the number of inquiries on their credit report.

A recent report by showed that consumers spend an average of 10 hours researching an automobile purchase. This is comparable to time spent looking into major home improvements and is twice as loan as the average for researching a home loan.


What Would Cosigning Mean for You?

What would you do if a friend or family member asked you to cosign a loan? Before you answer, make sure you understand what your obligations are.

When you agree to cosign for someone else’s debt, you are essentially guaranteeing payment if that person defaults. You are being asked to take a risk that a professional lender will not take. Think about it: the lender would not need a cosigner if the borrower were a good risk.

Cosigning Means You’re Financially Responsible – Consider the Risks

The obligations associated with cosigning a loan can be more than people expect. So before you put your autograph on the dotted line agreeing to cosign a loan, the Federal Trade Commission requires the creditor to give you information explaining your commitment. It states:

“You are being asked to guarantee this debt. Think carefully before you do. If the borrower doesn’t pay the debt, you will have to. Be sure you can afford to pay if you have to, and that you want to accept this responsibility. You may have to pay up to the full amount of the debt if the borrower does not pay. You may also have to pay late fees or collection costs, which increase this amount. The creditor can collect this debt from you without first trying to collect from the borrower. The creditor can use the same collection methods against you that can be used against the borrower, such as suing you, garnishing your wages, etc. If this debt is ever in default, that fact may become part of your credit record. This notice is not the contract that makes you liable for the debt.”

If you are thinking about cosigning you should consider the following:

  • Be sure you can afford to pay the loan. If you’re asked to pay and you can’t, you could be sued or your credit rating could be damaged.
  • Even if you’re not asked to repay the debt, your liability for the loan may keep you from getting other credit because creditors will consider the cosigned loan as one of your obligations.
  • Before you pledge property to secure the loan, such as your home or car, be sure to understand all the consequences. If the borrower fails to pay, you could lose these items.
  • You may have to pay the full amount of the debt if the borrower does not pay. You may also have to pay late fees or collection costs in addition to the outstanding debt.
  • Ask the lender to calculate the money you might owe. You may also negotiate specific terms of your obligation.
  • Ask the lender to agree, in writing, to notify you if the borrower misses a payment. Doing this will give you time to deal with the problem or make back payments without having to repay the entire amount immediately.
  • Make sure you get copies of all the important contracts.
  • Check your state law for additional cosigner rights.

When Is It Worthwhile to Cosign?

When it’s important to you that the borrower get credit, and you have good reason to believe the borrower will repay the debt, it can be worthwhile to cosign for a loan or credit card.

Parents often cosign for their adult children who have ample income to qualify individually, but lack a solid credit or employment history. By cosigning, parents help their children receive a loan and establish credit in their own name.

Similarly, sometimes a spouse or family member will cosign for a small loan or credit line to help an individual establish or rebuild credit in their own name.

Although the statistics on cosigning support that it’s a relatively high risk, that’s not always the case. There have been many successful situations where cosigning served the interests of all parties. Statistically, though, the risk often outweighs the benefit. Some studies show that three out of four cosigners end up having to repay the loan for the original borrower, so it’s important to take steps to protect yourself if you do cosign.

If you are worried about some of the risks that cosigning carries, you may be able to negotiate specific terms of your obligation. For example, you might want to have your liability limited to paying the principal balance on the loan, but not late charges, court costs, or attorney’s fees. In this case, ask the lender to include a statement in the contract like: “The cosigner will be responsible only for the principal balance on this loan at the time of default.”

If You Need a Cosigner

If you’re in need of someone to cosign a loan for you, talk with family or friends and explain to them that they’ll be helping you to reestablish your credit. Understand that cosigning is a big step for the person agreeing to sign for you, so make sure you make them feel as comfortable as possible about cosigning for you. Show them you’ll be able to repay the loan. Remember that if you fail to repay the debt and the cosigner has to step in to repay it but can’t afford it, then you both will have damaged credit histories. Therefore, the credit you obtain will carry a double weight of responsibility – your obligation to the lender to repay what you borrow and your obligation to your cosigner to live up to the investment they’re making in you.

Whatever your involvement in a cosigned credit transaction, remember that cosigning means extra obligations for everyone involved and consider your decision carefully.


What Is The CARD Act?

By changing the information available on their monthly bills, the new credit card law may also inspire customers to seek credit counseling before their debt gets out of control, according to a release by Accelerated Debt Consolidation, Inc.
The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 currently requires that lenders include a toll-free phone number for credit counseling and debt management services on monthly bills. They must also include a timetable showing how long it would take a consumer to pay off their debt if they only made minimum payments.
“This creates several advantages for the consumer,” Young said. “If credit consumers begin contacting credit counseling and debt management agencies when they are only up to 30 percent of their credit limits for example, their options for reducing their debt will be greatly improved.”
Cardholders with high rates on their balances would be able to transfer the debt to accounts with smaller balances in the debt management program. Or they can transfer money to accounts with better rates, allowing them to reduce debt faster. Carrying low credit card balances and paying on time can positively contribute to a consumer’s credit history.
Other provisions within the Credit CARD Act prohibit lenders from raising interest rates, fees or terms unless they give customers 45 days’ advance notice.


What Consumers With Great Credit Do Right

Many consumers may know what makes up a credit score, but they may not have the know-how to improve their score in actual practice.

The good news for consumers is that, if they know what makes up a credit score, then they’re already more knowledgeable than most about what steps to take to set themselves on the path to a score in the 800s. According to a report from CBS Moneywatch, taking a score from “good” to “great” is all about knowing how the system works.

About 13 percent of all consumers have credit scores of 800 or higher, the report said, and that’s because those people know the credit score system inside and out. They know, for example, that the combination of payment history and the amount of credit they owe versus what they have available accounts for about two-thirds of their credit score.

Payment history makes up 35 percent of a score, and something as simple as making on-time payments can provide a gigantic boost to any credit score. The report said the amount of money a consumer owes versus what they have available in credit makes up 30 percent of a score. The other 35 percent is made up of a combination of the amount of time a consumer has had credit, how much new credit they have (the less the better), and the different types of credit a consumer uses.

That 13 percent of consumers whose credit is superb all have roughly the same characteristics, the report said. When it comes to on-time payments, those people haven’t been late on one in the last seven years, and their debt levels are no higher than 35 percent of their overall limit per credit account.

As for the other third, the report said consumers with scores above 800 own four to six credit cards, and have one installment loan – like a car payment or mortgage – with an impeccable payment history. They’ve had no bankruptcies, foreclosures, charge-offs or collections at any point, and a very low number of credit inquiries in the last six months, usually fewer than three. Finally, they’ve had their credit accounts for an average of 10 years, with a small number of accounts showing 20 years of good history.

A recent Bankrate report said that “good debt” stays on a credit report longer than bad, typically an extra three years.


Talk to Teens About Identity Theft

Monitoring your children’s activities is easier when they’re young; you walk them to the park, watch them play and drop them off at the bus stop each morning. But when your son or daughter becomes a teenager, it’s much harder to protect them from external dangers, like identity theft. The good news is there are plenty of opportunities to speak with your teen about this crime and ways they can protect themselves.

When Your Teen Signs Up For Facebook or Twitter

Social networking websites are a popular portal identity thieves use to befriend unsuspecting members and monitor their information. Talk to your children about limiting the amount of personal details listed on their profile pages. Restricting information such as date of birth, address and place of employment will make it more difficult for criminals to piece together enough tidbits of data to commit identity theft.

When Your Teen Leaves for College

Living in a college dormitory can be a great student experience, but they also need to be cognizant of the people around them. Make sure there is a bank near the school where your teen might store personal information, such as their Social Security card and birth certificate, in a safety deposit box. It may sound like a lecture, but remind them to lock their door when they are not in the room and password-protect their computers in case anyone tries to look at their account information.

When Your Teen Begins Using a Credit Card

You may be considering whether to allow your teens to obtain a credit card in their name or utilize an existing credit account, so that they may begin building a credit history. Use this as an opportunity to speak with your children about protecting their personal financial details and the implications identity theft can have on a person’s credit report and score. Teach your teen to review his or her credit card statements for suspicious information. Advise your teen against lending the credit card to a friend or leaving it out in the open.

Having a dialogue with teens about identity theft will make them more aware of their surroundings and prompt them to better protect their information. You may fear coming off as a nagging parent, but knowing your teen is educated on the crime will give you more piece of mind.


Ways to Possibly Improve Your Credit Score

The world has, in the past few years, become focused on credit scores. But the problem for many consumers is that, while they may know what a good or bad score is, they may not be aware of just what actually makes up that score and what affects it the most. And that can cause big problems.

For consumers with bad credit, there are a number of ways to improve their damaged score, according to a recent article in the magazine Entrepreneur. For example, it’s important that consumers examine their credit report to find any inaccuracies which could be dragging their score down. The article recommends that consumers check at least once a year to keep errors off their report.

The article also says consumers should lower their balances so that banks know they are dealing with a consumer that won’t just let debt accumulate. Another important factor in determining a consumer’s viability is how old their accounts are. Older accounts show lenders that they are dealing with a trustworthy, reliable consumer.

It is important, the article said, that consumers have a variety of credit types on their account. If they can carry not only credit card debt, but also installment loans like car and boat loans, as well as larger loans like mortgages, it proves that, no matter the situation of a loan, a consumer can pay it off.

The article also recommends that the consumer not try to get any new credit lines, as repeated inquiries by potential lenders can further damage a credit score.

It’s also important to know just what makes up a credit score. The biggest determining factor in any credit score is actually how the consumer does at paying their bills on time, every time, said an article in the Poughkeepsie Journal. This one factor actually comprises about 35 percent of a consumer’s credit score.

Another 30 percent of their credit score is based on outstanding debt, the article said. Lenders expect consumers to carry a certain amount of debt on their credit cards, but it’s important for them to not carry more than they can afford to pay off every month.

Another 15 percent of a credit score is made up of past credit history, since it makes sense that lenders are more likely to extend a loan to people with a proven history of paying it back.


Ways to Detect Identity Theft

Most employers run background checks on applicants to determine if they have any criminal information in their past that may disqualify them from a job, but consumers may benefit from doing the same – on themselves.

Background checks are becoming more popular not just among employers, but also among parents hiring new babysitters and even women and men going on a blind date. The checks are a seemingly good way to find out if someone a consumer is trusting has a criminal background or serious financial problems. Because the information listed in a background check is extremely thorough and comprehensive, consumers may want to consider running one on themselves to find out if another has committed any financial or criminal crimes under their name, according to

Most checks include information that is a matter of public record. This may include criminal and driving records, medical information, education background, property ownership, drug tests, worker compensation, past employers and even professional references. While all of this data may not be included, background checks can provide consumers with valuable insight into what is listed on their file.

Most notably, tax liens, accounts in collection and other negative financial information may be listed on a file (for a seven year period), which can help individuals who think they may be a victim of identity theft confirm or resolve their suspicions.

Identity theft can be a financially – and sometimes medically – debilitating crime, but consumers can take measures to reduce their risk of falling victim to this crime. In addition to safeguarding personal information online and being vigilant about examining credit card and bank statements, consumers can invest in a credit monitoring service that may help them detect fraudulent activity.

Credit monitoring is a service that detects any changes made to an individual’s credit file and notifies them of updates. This means that if a criminal tries to open a credit card account under the name of another person, that individual will be notified of the addition to their report, giving them the opportunity to resolve the issue.

Consumers should also make sure to regularly examine their credit reports for any mistakes or inaccuracies. False information listed in an individual’s credit file can be just as harmful to their financial condition as a case of identity theft, especially if the mistake is blatant enough to result in a denial of credit.


Use Credit Report to Gauge Debt Management

If you worry about how youre going to pay down large sums of debt, youre not alone. Millions of Americans are unsure how their debt impacts their overall finances, their credit report, and their future. Dont let it get to you. The key to overcoming debt is to drill down and put a debt management plan in place.

A big part of putting your worries to rest is taking action. Order a copy of your credit report, so you can analyze your complete debt load. Take a look at your current debts: credit cards, mortgages, student loans, auto loans and any others. While all debts must be repaid, debts secured by an asset, such as your home or car, are considered more favorably than credit card debt, for instance. Keep this in mind when focusing on your repayment plan.

Once you know exactly how much you owe, create a monthly budget that factors in your debt repayments. Start thinking about how you will prioritize your debt repayment. Perhaps you want to first pay off credit cards with the highest interest rate.

Next, find areas you can afford to cut down on, such as unnecessary cable or cell phone packages, and work to optimize the amount you put toward paying down your balances. Making more than the minimum payment on credit card bills is essential. You will have to decide if you want to spread the wealth or focus strictly on getting rid of one debt as quickly as possible. As your debt balances decline, lenders will view your credit report more favorably and your credit score will likely improve.

At some point along the way it may feel like youre going at a slow pace. Keep in mind that paying down debt takes a long time, but your efforts are important. If you are seeking to track your progress, try credit monitoring. Youll receive updates to your email or mobile device upon changes to your credit score.

Identity Theft: How to Report Fraud

The first move you should make is contacting your local or state police. Following this phone call, you can contact your postal inspector, the FBI, your credit card company, your bank, and any other agency you feel appropriate depending on the type of identity theft.

(Not sure who else to call? See the list below.)

Some identity theft cases result in the return of your funds – or at least some kind of insurance that has you covered as a victim. Some cases do not have such positive results. However, because ID thieves can hit many victims in a short period of time, justice is vital. This means that victims should always exhaust all measures when it comes to the persecution of identity thieves.

Additionally, the more vocal you are about your case, the more likely it is that credit card companies and government agencies will react and put forth the energy and resources needed to devote to your case. The more agencies you notify, the more likely your chances of receiving some kind of financial restitution once the matter comes to a close.

Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Fraud Hotline provides an avenue for reporting fraud, waste, and abuse within SSA’s programs and operations. The SSA OIG Fraud Hotline receives allegations by telephone, regular mail, and facsimile. An electronic form is available on their website as well.
You can visit them at

Internet Crime Compliant Center

Reporting cyber crimes has become much easier, thanks to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, otherwise known as IC3. IC3’s mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. The IC3 gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.
You can visit them at

Federal Trade Commission

The FTC is a comprehensive government resource, dedicated to the protection of companies and consumers to provide fair commerce practice. The Division of Enforcement protects consumers: It ensures compliance with administrative and federal court orders entered in consumer protection cases; conducts investigations and prosecutes civil actions to stop fraudulent, unfair, or deceptive marketing and advertising practices; and enforces consumer protection laws, rules and guidelines.
You can visit them at

United State Postal Service

The US Postal Service has an informative website that explains various fraud schemes, as well as provides a detailed complaint form for fraud complaints and investigations.
You can visit them at

To ensure ID fraud protection in the future, hire a credit protection service that provides credit monitoring online and receive instant email alerts regarding any suspicious activity on your account. To instantly get your credit monitoring service activated and obtain a copy of your credit report, go to now.