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Credit repair: Fixing mistakes on your credit report

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If you’ve been reading our new year, new credit series, then you have your credit report and learned how to read it. But what if you see mistakes? Maybe it’s an account that you didn’t open, an error in your name or address, or a bankruptcy that doesn’t really belong to you. Here are tips on fixing your credit, while avoiding scams.

If you see mistakes in your report, contact the credit bureau and the company that provided the information. Ask both to correct their records. Include as much detail as possible, plus copies of supporting documents, like payment records or court documents.

When contacting the credit bureau, the process depends on whether you’re an identity theft victim:

  • If the errors are not related to identity theft: Tell the credit bureau (by mail or online) what information you think is inaccurate. By mail, you can use our sample dispute letters. Online, use the dispute portals for each credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) that listed the inaccuracy. The credit bureau must investigate your claim and make any necessary updates to your information within 30 days. The bureau also must contact the company that provided the information. If the company finds the information was inaccurate, they must notify all three credit bureaus to correct your file.
  • If the errors are due to identity theft: You can block identity theft-related debts from appearing on your credit report. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to learn the steps and to get an Identity Theft Report to send to the credit bureaus. Remember that you can use Identity Theft Reports only for debts that are the result of identity theft. Filing an Identity Theft Report to block debts that you owe is against the law.

If you’re considering paying a credit repair organization to help fix your credit, keep in mind that anything they can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. Credit repair organizations can NOT legally remove accurate negative information from your credit report.

If you hire a credit repair organization, don’t do business with one that:

  • Insists you pay before it helps you (that’s illegal)
  • Tells you not to contact the credit bureaus directly
  • Disputes information in your credit report you believe is accurate

If you have a problem with a credit repair organization, report it to us. For more tips, read Fixing Your Credit, Credit Repair, and Credit Repair Scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Who do you go to when you have followed all the policy and procedures you have posted? Often the information remains.

If you've already tried reaching out to the credit reporting company and still have an issue, you can submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB will forward your complaint the company and work to get you a response, generally within 15 days.

when companies close out your credit card for not using them within a year, how does this affect your credit score?

This FTC article explains what affects your credit score.

Is it necessary to fix minor spelling errors in a name? Often computers (and people) will change my last name from "van Ammers" to "vanAmmers" or "VanAmmers" or "Vanammers", and so I see these various forms on my credit report. Is a missing space or an uppercase/lowercase error in one's name significant enough to warrant going through the correction process?

You have to decide if you want to go through the correction process. It's possible that a misspelled name could lead to accounts that are not yours being added to your report.

We just want to say thank you and really appreciate all the great information you pass on to us. Very helpful and informative. Looking forward to the next one. Halley

“ . The credit bureau must investigate your claim and make any necessary updates to your information within 30 days. The bureau also must contact the company that provided the information. If the company finds the information was inaccurate, they must notify all three credit bureaus to correct your file.”
Investigate? 30 days to Correct? They don’t investigate nor do they correct! They just continue to report what their masters the creditors tell them to. It’s been 2 years of repeated disputes and still reporting derogatorily on my credit.

If you've already tried reaching out to the credit reporting company and still have an issue, you can submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB will forward your complaint the company and work to get you a response, generally within 15 days.

I don't have enough fingers and toes -x- 1,000,000 to count the times I have contacted all CRAs, disputed inaccurate/incorrect data dumped into my file. I've lost a high level career with our Government due to said content within each Report which the DoD relies upon every five years in order to maintain your status. I have police reports, IRS notification of illegal use of my SSN, and countless documents inbetween. End result? I'm standing with one foot out the door with tent in tow and nowhere to go. Thank you Equifax, Experian and TransUnion...

If you've already tried reaching out to the credit reporting companies and still have an issue, you can submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB will forward your complaint the company and work to get you a response, generally within 15 days.

I have been making regular payments on a loan that was opened in January 2019, but my lender did not report my account to the credit bureaus until August 2019. When this account popped up on my credit report, it showed that I had only made two payments even though I had not missed a single payment. I filed a dispute with the credit bureaus and contacted my lender to fix the problem on my credit report. Two of the three bureaus fixed the error. Equifax still has an error in my report. After months of going back and forth with both my lender and Equifax, they did not fix the problem. Equifax says they're waiting for my lender to confirm that I made regular payments, and my lender says it has sent all the information needed to fix the problem to Equifax.
What should my next step be?

If you've already tried reaching out to the credit reporting company and still have an issue, you can submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB will forward your complaint the company and work to get you a response, generally within 15 days.

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