Congratulations, you have obtained a copy of your credit report. Before you do anything else, you should verify that the information in the credit report is accurate.
Misspellings, Unknown Accounts & Other Common Errors
The most common errors within credit reports are:
- Names that aren’t yours – (not misspellings of your own name) Spousal names that aren’t your spouse
- Social Security Numbers that aren’t yours
- State ID Number(s)
- Incorrect Birth Date
- Addresses where you have never lived
- Employer(s) that you’ve never worked for or No longer work for
When reviewing your report, if you find any of these errors, this is a good indication that someone else’s information may be in your report.
Once you have reviewed your identifying information, carefully review the credit accounts that are listed on your report. Here are several things to watch for:
- Accounts that don’t belong to you
- Any debts that your spouse incurred before you were together such as late payments and charge offs that aren’t yours
- Any incorrect notations on accounts, for ex. An account that was showing a balance after it was put through bankruptcy
- Anything that is more than 7 years old – late payments, charge-offs, negative entries, etc
- Credit inquiries that are older than 2 years.
Once you have determined which information is correct and which information is old or erroneous you can begin the process of repairing your credit by disputing the mistakes. By law credit reporting bureaus have to investigate any mistakes that you bring to their attention and report the information back to you within 30 days.
Put Everything in Writing
Here are several items that you need to keep in mind when attempting to repair your credit.
Everything must be in writing. While it may seem like a good idea to make a phone call and just jot down names and dates, repairing your credit is a lengthy process and requires that you send keep a paper trail.
It may seem unfair, but oftentimes an item that you have worked months to get off your credit report can be put right back on when a creditor re-reports incorrect information. Having your ducks in a row, so to speak, will make your job much easier.
Be Aware that you have RIGHTS under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
- You have the right to have erroneous information corrected
- You have the right to have your dispute investigated
- You have the right to a written response
- You have the right to write a statement regarding an unresolved dispute and have it placed in your file
· You have the right to sue if your rights have been violated, which is precisely why you MUST keep a written record of all communication.