What You Can Do Right Now To Fix Credit Reporting Errors

You spotted an inaccuracy on one of your credit reports. It's kind of like noticing a new mole on your body: it isn’t something that should be ignored. A single error on your credit report can negatively affect your ability to get a loan, rent an apartment, buy insurance or apply for a job. A discrepancy could also indicate that you’ve fallen victim to identity theft.

So, what do you do when you detect erroneous information on a credit report? Here are three steps you can take right now.

Step 1: Assess the extent of the error by reviewing each of your credit reports.

You have three different credit reports, one from each of the major credit reporting agencies- TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Each of these credit reporting agencies are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act to provide you with a free annual credit report through the website www.annualcreditreport.com. Jump online and pull a current copy of each of your credit reports.

Now that you have the credit reports, carefully review them. Keep an eye out for errors of any kind. Watch for mistakes like:

  • Misspellings of your name;

  • Unfamiliar aliases;

  • An incorrect address, date of birth or Social Security Number;

  • Creditors you don’t recognize;

  • Incorrect balance amounts;

  • Late payments you don’t recognize; and

  • Same debts listed twice.

Circle or highlight discrepancies on each report and make copies of the pages on which they appear.

Step 2: File disputes with the credit reporting agencies.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to inform the credit reporting agencies that you disagree with the information on your credit reports. There are several ways for you to initiate a dispute: You can call. You can also either submit your dispute online or via U.S. mail. We recommend sending disputes by certified U.S. mail. When sending your dispute, make sure you:

  • Provide your contact information including complete name, address, and number;

  • Include your report confirmation number, if available;

  • Identify each mistake, such as an account number for any account you may be disputing;

  • Explain your basis for disputing the information;