December 22, 2017
December 22, 2017
Do you regularly check your credit report? You should, and there’s no excuse not to because you can get free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) at AnnualCreditReport.com.
One of the first things you should do when you get your credit report is check for errors. Mistakes on your credit report can be an indication that someone has, or at least has tried to, steal your identity. Credit report mistakes can also lower your credit score and affect your ability to take out a loan, like a mortgage. Therefore, it’s important to make your sure your credit report is as accurate as possible.
Here are some common errors that you should look for:
– A late payment that was made more than 7 years ago.
– A credit card or loan account that isn’t yours.
– An account that was closed by you but is listed as closed by the issuer/institution.
– Paid accounts that are listed as unpaid.
– Incorrect personal information, such as errors in your name, current or previous addresses, and your employment history.
If you find an error, you can report it directly to each credit bureau or to the data provider. For credit bureaus, you can report the error online or by mail using the following contact information:
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Documents supporting your claim of error can be submitted online or via mail, but it is generally easier to submit a claim online since your information is more readily accessible. Expect to submit information such as your full name, Social Security number, date of birth, current address, addresses where you lived during the previous two years, and email address. Naturally, you will also be asked for information regarding the error you are disputing.
If the error you are disputing is related to a specific account, you can dispute the information with the entity that furnished the data to the credit bureau. For example, if your credit report incorrectly states that a credit card issuer closed the account when you did, you could contact the issuer directly. This may speed up the correction process since you are cutting out the middleman, i.e., the credit bureau. You may be able to contact the data provider online or by mail, depending on the entity in question.
For a sample letter about disputing errors on your credit report, visit the FTC at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0384-sample-letter-disputing-errors-your-credit-report.
Allow 30 to 45 days for your dispute to be investigated, although simple errors can be corrected in as little as two weeks. Be sure to keep good records, including copies of all of your communications and supporting documents.
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