As unfair as it may seem, you have to be on guard constantly to protect your good credit. Mistakes and false information can appear on your credit report without warning and, unless you are diligent about checking your reports and disciplined about disputing errors, you could suffer the consequences. Higher interest rates, lower credit limits, and denied loan applications could be the result of a poor credit score caused by inaccurate information on your credit reports. So, how do you go about protecting your credit report? I’ll tell you!
Tips for Getting False Information Off Your Credit Report
I say “false information” because sometimes the harmful entries are mistakes on the part of the credit reporting agency or information furnisher—saying a credit account is still open after you closed it, for example—and sometimes they are the result of identity theft—an unpaid line of credit that you didn’t open, for example. Either way, this harmful information has to be removed, and the credit reporting agency is required by federal law to take your request to remove it seriously. Here are some tips for keeping your credit report accurate and your credit score as high as possible:
- Get copies of each of your three credit reports at least once a year. Staggering your requests—i.e., requesting a different report every three months—can provide extra protection.
- Go over each report with a fine-toothed comb, highlighting anything that doesn’t look right. Confirm that what you think are mistakes actually are.
- Even if there is an option to file a dispute online, don’t do it. Write an actual letter explaining the mistake.
- Write a separate letter for each error and keep the letter direct and simple. You will also have to include evidence that backs up your claim that the information is false.
- Mail your dispute to each credit reporting agency that has the false information on your report AND to the bank, creditor, or other data furnisher that supplied the false information. Send the letters by certified mail and request a return receipt.
- Keep copies of everything you send and make a note on your calendar. Credit reporting agencies have 30 days to respond to your dispute, but it will be up to you to track that.
- Don’t let the CRA ignore you and don’t take no for an answer. You may need to take additional action if you do not get a response within 30 days.
Is this starting to sound like a part-time job? The reality is it’s not easy to get mistakes off a credit report. It can be a burdensome process. So what can you do?
Call the Cardoza Law Corporation for Help!
If you have the time to stay on top of a credit dispute—more power to you! If you are like most of my clients, however, your life is already too hectic to even think about adding another thing to your to-do list. If you have identified errors on one or more of your credit reports, you can leave it to us to draft dispute letters, send them to everyone who needs to get one, and follow up as required until the problem is solved. Fill out our contact form and tell us what’s going on. We will get back to you ASAP.