Fix Credit: How Do You Fix Credit Report Errors?
About four out of every five credit reports have errors on them. Most of these are minor inaccuracies, such as incorrect employers, which do not affect your credit score. However, sometimes credit reports will erroneously show debt that you have paid off as currently in default or even include accounts that are not yours. When you FIX CREDIT reports to remove these false marks, you can significantly improve your credit score.
First, Get Your Report
You can get your report for free once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com. Grab reports from all three reporting bureaus. Each bureau gathers information independently, so, you can wind up with different information in different reports.
Scan The Reports for Inconsistencies
Are there accounts showing as open and unpaid that you know you handled? Are there others that you don’t even recognize? Highlight everything that looks like it is incorrect. It can sometimes be difficult to tell which debt is what, as collection agencies will buy bad debts for pennies on the dollar.
However, many accounts that show up as a new debt to another agency could be incorrectly on your report. If, for instance, you had a debt discharged during a bankruptcy, it could have been sold anyway. Creditors often do not inform new agencies that a debt has been settled, and it can take time for the news to spread.
In other cases, you may find that certain debts show up twice. For instance, if your student loans are sold after you’ve removed them from default, make sure that the old accounts show up as being closed. If it still appears that those accounts are open, it can make your debt burden look twice as large as it actually is.
Request Removal of Bogus Accounts
Contact each of these creditors, in writing, to ask them to verify the account. By law, a creditor must verify that an account is valid within 30 days of the request. If they can’t prove that the debt is yours, the credit reporting agencies are required to remove it.
You can also dispute debts directly with the credit reporting agencies. Each has processes online for disputes. This will also give you the opportunity to follow up and make sure that errors are handled.
Keep Up the Maintenance
Request your report at least once a year to make sure that everything is accurate. It can help to tie your annual request to another important date such as your birthday or anniversary so you don’t forget. If you are in the middle of efforts to fix credit ratings so you can buy a house, you may want to look into a subscription account or a free service like CreditKarma so you can check more often.
Getting erroneous bad marks removed from your report can provide an almost instant boost to your credit scores. It’s worth the time and effort to make sure that your credit reports are correct.
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