Have you checked your credit report lately? If not, it could be costing you lots of money. A study by the Federal Trade Commission showed that credit report errors were contained in 1 in 4 credit reports. To read more about this study please visit the FTC website at:
A credit report error could lower your credit score causing you to pay more for goods and services in the form of higher interest and other charges. For more information about credit scores and how they affect how much you pay for goods and services, please visit the FTC website at:
To save yourself money, you should periodically check your credit report. The law known as the Fair Credit Reporting lets you get one free copy of your credit report every year from each of the major credit reporting agencies. Your free copy can be obtained by visiting: www.annualcreditreport.com. At this website you can obtain your credit reports from Trans Union, Experian and Equifax. For more information about how to get a copy of your credit report, please visit the website of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at:
How To Read Your credit Report For Credit Report Errors
There are many different types of credit report errors. For example, sometimes the credit reporting agencies mix your credit information with that belonging to another person. An identity thief might open accounts in your name. A creditor or debt collector may report information about you that is not true.
You need to understand your credit report so you can identify mistakes resulting from these practices. In general, your credit report will have the following categories of information.
Name and identifying information
Usually, the first section of your credit report will contain your name, social security number, telephone numbers, addresses and employment information. This information is often gathered from credit applications you have completed. It is important to make sure that this information is correct. If this information seems to refer to someone else, this may indicate you have been a victim of identity theft or that your file is mixed with someone else’s.
Another section of the credit report will list a lot of different information about credit accounts you have opened including credit cards, retail store credit accounts, mortgage loans and car loans. The types of information about each account my include the name of the creditor, the type of account, the date the account was opened, the date the account was closed, the balance on the account, the monthly payment amount and the status of the account, meaning is it current or past due.
It is important to examine each of the listed credit accounts to make sure that they are ones that you opened. An account you do not recognize may be a sign of identity theft or a mixed file.
Collection or delinquent accounts
Your credit report will list accounts attributed to you that contain negative information including accounts being reported as past due or delinquent or that have been given to a debt collector to seek payment. Sometimes this delinquency or collection information will be put in a separate section of your credit report.
You should be very careful in reviewing this information to make sure it is accurate and belongs to you. Debt collectors often report collection accounts that are incomplete or clearly false as a means to collect the date.
You should know that delinquency or collection accounts may be reported by consumer reporting agencies for 7 1/2 years. The time period starts from when the credit account first becomes past due or delinquent.
Another section of your report lists the companies who were given access to information in your credit report. It is important to remember that a company must have a “permissible purpose” under the FCRA for gaining access to your credit report. For example, if you apply for a loan, the company offering the loan is allowed by law to ask the credit reporting agency for information about your credit history.
In order to maintain the privacy of your credit information, it is important for you to carefully review the “credit inquiry” section of your credit report to make sure that companies have not improperly accessed your credit information.
Information about bankruptcy filings, tax liens and civil judgments that evidence a debt will also be listed in your credit report. Credit reporting agencies gather this information from public records such as the bankruptcy court or state for federal court records. A credit report will also list information obtained from court records.
You should be aware of the amount of time these records will remain in the credit report. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain for 7 years. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain for 10 years from the date it was filed. An unpaid tax lien will remain for 10 years from the date it was filed. A paid tax lien will remain for 7 years from when it was paid. A civil judgment will remain for 7 years from its filing date.
How To Dispute Credit Report Errors
Under the law known as the FCRA, you have a right to “dispute” information in your credit report that is inaccurate, false or outdated. Once a credit reporting agency receives a dispute about information in a consumer report, it is required to conduct a “reasonable investigation” to determine whether is not accurate or is outdated. If a reasonable investigation is not conducted, you may have a claim under the FCRA.
If you have questions about how to dispute information to a credit reporting agency or if you have questions about your rights under the FCRA, please call Pietz Law Office at 412-288-4333 for a free consultation.
For more information on how to dispute information in a credit report, please visit the website of the CFPB at: