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Credit Report Disputes

If there is information on your credit report that is not accurate you may file a credit report dispute. This article has information on steps to take when disputing your credit report and identity fraud.  Also information on Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Because your credit report is so important when it comes to your financial health and the decisions that affect your interest, insurance and other aspects of your personal finances, it is vital that it contains accurate information. Indeed, in many cases a credit report error can actually lower your credit score, and prevent you from getting the best possible deal on some loans. You should regularly check your credit report, and when you find an error, you should dispute.

Disputing your credit report

You have the right to dispute information on your credit report that is inaccurate. If there is an error, the credit bureaus are required to correct the problem or remove the information from your report. If the dispute is not settled to your satisfaction, you have the right to add a personal statement to your credit report, explaining your side of the dispute. There are some steps you should follow in order to have inaccurate information removed:

  1. Notify the credit bureau. The first thing you should do is notify the credit bureau with the error in writing. You should include the following items in your letter to the credit bureau (or credit bureaus, if the error appears in more than one place): Name, address, the specifics of the dispute, why you are disputing the information and request for the error to be fixed. You should also have a copy of your credit report with the letter, highlighting or circling the items in. If there are documents supporting your claim, include copies (never originals). Send this packet certified mail with a return receipt so that you get proof that the credit bureau received your request.
  2. Notify the creditor. The information in your credit file might have been provided by a creditor. In such cases, you should notify your creditor of the dispute, in writing. Make sure that your letter follows the same form as that in step 1, to the credit bureau.
  3. Check your credit report. You should verify that your credit report has been corrected. Normally this takes 30 to 60 days. If the creditor proves that the information is correct, it can stay on the report. However, if you are unhappy with the result, you can add a personal statement to your report.

You should understand that you won't have accurate negative items removed from your credit report. If you have a late payment showing, and it really was late, no amount of disputing is going to change that. Credit bureaus only have to change your report if an error is found. And it is worth checking to make sure your credit report doesn't have errors, since they are more common than you might think.

In order to find out specifically what you may need to properly dispute your credit report, you can contact the credit bureaus, or visit their Web sites. Here is the information that can help you contact your credit bureaus:

You are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the credit bureaus, and you should make full use of that to check for errors. Most experts also recommend that you check your credit report at least once or twice a year in addition to your free report. This will allow you to catch mistakes faster.

Identity fraud

If you have been a victim of identity fraud, and fraudulent accounts are showing up on your credit report, you follow a pattern similar to that of credit report disputes. However, you should first call the credit bureaus on the phone and request a fraud alert for your account. Then you should call local law enforcement and file a police report. Copies (not originals) of the police report should be use to help back up your claims of identity fraud with the credit bureaus.

When you have been a victim of identity fraud, you are entitled to two free credit reports a year from the credit bureaus. And you should use them to keep track of your accounts, since once you have been a victim, there is a reasonably good chance that you will be targeted again.

If something is not right on your credit report, you should do what is necessary to have the mistake corrected. It can mean the difference between approval and credit denial, as well as cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest charges.

Related Article: How to Freeze Credit >>

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