If you have got a copy of your credit report recently or you are planning to get one, you must read it carefully. This is due to the existence of errors on it. They could be as simple as a miss spelling of your name or a sign of things much worse. You are entitled to one free credit report each year and it is wise to get a copy. There is a method of disputing errors and it could help you clean up your report.
The first after getting a copy of your report is to get a piece of paper to make a list of all possible errors. This will help as a quick reference for yourself to follow up on and also if you intend to dispute anything. Also, when you get your credit report a form will be attached to dispute error. It is important to hold on to this and make a copy after filling out and before you send it in.
There are five sections to be reviewed:
- Your identity – Included in this section is your name, birth date, addresses where you have lived, and your birth date. This is a quick section for review but must be done carefully. Often errors are misspellings, but there should never be anyone's information but yours. An address you have never heard of could be a sign identity theft. Take you time and add any errors to your list.
- Credit accounts – This section could take some time to review since most Americans have an average account number above ten. Look for any negative entries that do not make since to you. Your accounts are not perfect and if they do not even look close to being right add them to the list of disputes. Here you should also look for any accounts that are not yours this is also a sign of a much worse problem.
- Inquiries – Here you will find different types of inquiries hard and soft. You should be interested mostly in hard inquiries which are done when you are applying for a loan. Anything that is over two years should be removed and be added to your list
- Collections – You should look to see if there is any account that has sent to collections without you knowing. Then look to see there is any you have paid off and there are still listed as delinquent, dispute these as well.
- Public records – If you have any then see if any are older than seven years so they can be removed from your credit report.
Now that you have you list and filled out the form to be sent in you have to wait. By law the credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate and respond. During the credit bureau's investigation of the disputes, they will contact the creditor. If the credit does not respond or say it is inaccurate the error will be removed. If the seller says the error is correct it will stay on your credit report. The credit bureaus do nothing more than ask the creditor if it is accurate. After the credit bureau responds back with their finds saying the seller vouched for the error it is now up to you to contact the seller and discuss the matter further. The burden of proof is now yours.
Looking for errors should be done on a yearly basis. You should then file your credit report including the errors dispute to be revisited the next time you request a copy of your credit report. Correcting errors is sometimes a hassle, but could be a quick way to improving your credit score.