Subhan Tariq, Esq
How To Find Errors On Your Credit Report
Having accounts on your credit report that aren’t yours or an inaccurate account payment history could have a big impact on your financial life. A clean and error-free credit report is ideal when you’re looking to secure your next loan.
Make it a regular habit to check your credit report MONTHLY, since certain states have legal time limits on when a consumer can dispute inaccuracies/ open investigations with the furnisher. It is just good practice to review open accounts, closed accounts, hard inquiries, and your personal information regularly to catch any changes or errors as soon as possible. Federal law allows you to receive a free credit report from all three bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) once per year. This can be done at AnnualCreditReport.com. You need to set an annual calendar reminder to do your free check. It’s an easy way to stay on top of your credit report and ensure there are no errors.
As you’re scanning your report, ask yourself the following:
● Is my personal information, correct?
THIS IS IMPORTANT AS MANY FRAUDULENT ACCOUNT OPENINGS AND MIXED FILES ARE PRECEDED BY THE SUDDEN ADDITION OF AN UNKNOWN ADDRESS OR PHONE NUMBER.
● Are there open accounts I thought I closed?
● Does my payment history look accurate?
This examination could save you a lot of time and money. If you find an error through your TransUnion report, it’s important to also check your Equifax and Experian credit reports for accuracy.
Dispute Errors On Your Credit Report
If you find errors on your credit report, dispute them IMMEDIATELY and get them corrected. The dispute process can happen easily online and is completely free.
When submitting your dispute to the three major credit bureaus, the more information you can provide to back up your dispute claim, the easier your resolution will be. Depending on what information you’re disputing, you may need to include documents such as past billing statements, copies of personal identification, or proof that an account was opened fraudulently.
After you submit your claim, the bureaus offer you the ability to check your status. In addition, the dispute process can take up to 30 days.
If your dispute claim was approved, the credit bureau will modify your credit report accordingly. It may be smart to contact the lender directly and ensure your affairs are in order. Afterward, you should remember to contact anyone else who needs to know about your newly updated credit report (potential lenders, employers, etc.). It’s possible your dispute claim can get denied. If the credit bureau and lender agree that the current information in your credit report is accurate, things will remain the same. You’ll have the opportunity to resubmit your claim if you’d like. Including more supporting documentation may help with the dispute process the second time around. If the online process isn’t for you, you can also submit (or resubmit) your dispute through the mail (Preferably via certified return receipt mail and retain a copy of the letter and delivery tracking for your records) or on the phone with all three credit bureaus. Depending on your ideal communication style, this may be preferable for you.
Let’s face it. Dealing with credit report errors isn’t fun. It’s something pretty much everyone would like to avoid if possible.
In this digital age of data breaches and stolen information, it’s important for all of us to play defense when it comes to our financial lives. Staying on top of our important personal data and disputing errors right when we see them will help us save money and reduce our overall financial stress.
Everyone’s situation is different. Be sure to speak with a reliable attorney about how to fix credit report errors and regain your best financial footing.
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