How To Fix Errors On Your Credit Report
Your credit report is a judgment of how financially responsible you are, and by extension, how safe it would be to lend you money. But a bad credit report can cost you more than just access to a loan.
Credit reports can affect your ability to be approved for a home/apartment, to get a job or to obtain job-related security clearance.
With so much riding on your credit score, making sure your credit report is correct is extremely important. Unfortunately, credit reports can be riddled with errors and fraud, and fixing those errors is often much more difficult than it should be. The attorneys at Hays Cauley, P.C., can help you enforce your rights and remove mistakes from your credit report.
What Is The Fair Credit Reporting Act?
Your credit reports are maintained by four major credit rating agencies — TransUnion, Equifax, Experian and Innovis:
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
(888) EXPERIAN or (888) 397-3742
P.O. Box 530088
Atlanta, GA 30353
These agencies process hundreds of millions of transactions each day, and can provide you with copies of your credit report so you can monitor your credit history and be aware of any errors or mistakes. Unfortunately, the agencies themselves have little interest in helping the average person fix inaccurate information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was designed to give each of us legal tools to review our credit reports, dispute errors and force corrections through litigation.
Your Rights Under The FCRA
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can:
- Receive one free credit report per year from each credit bureau
- Dispute inaccurate or fraudulent information in your credit file with the credit reporting agencies
- Dispute inaccurate or fraudulent information with the source that originally provided the information
- Demand that inaccurate or outdated information be corrected or deleted — usually within 30 days
- Sue debt collectors, creditors and credit reporting agencies that have reported false/inaccurate information and failed to properly investigate your dispute
What Credit Reporting Errors Should You Look Out For?
Credit reporting errors can happen to anyone for a wide range of reasons. The three most common and most destructive issues include:
- You have been a victim of identity theft. When someone steals your identity and starts using your name and credit for their own purchases, or opens new, fraudulent credit using your information, the creditors will look to you for payment. When you have been the victim of identity theft your credit score and reputation can decrease significantly in a very short period of time. That is why it is important for you to reach out to Hays Cauley, P.C., as soon as you learn you may have been a victim of identity theft. Our attorneys can help guide you in the initial steps to taking back your identity and your good name.
- Your credit file has been mixed with someone else’s credit file. Mixed-files are actually very common and the Credit Reporting Agencies have been aware of this problem for decades. Yet, despite full knowledge of the devastating impact a mixed-file can have on a consumer, mixed files remain a very serious problem today. A mixed credit file occurs when two people have similar names, Social Security Numbers, or other similar personal identifying information. If you have a family member with a similar name or different generations of individuals with the same name, it is very likely your credit files have been mixed. If a variation of your Social Security Number is appearing on your credit report, or names that are similar but not yours, your credit file may have been mixed with a third party. Mixed credit files can have a serious impact on your credit score as well as impact your security clearance. If you believe you have a mixed file, don’t wait, call us today.
- You have incorrectly been reported as deceased. If you have been mistakenly reported as deceased to one or more of the credit reporting agencies, it is likely that your credit score will drop to zero and your creditors will begin closing your accounts. That is why it is urgent you get help immediately. If you have been reported as deceased, call us now.
While these are three main reasons credit reporting errors occur, there are a multitude of other ways someone’s credit report could be impacted as well:
- You have been a victim of credit card fraud.
- Outdated information (too old to report) has been left in your file.
- Your Social Security number or your name is similar to someone else with bad credit.
- Incorrect public records information has been reported in your name.
- Creditors and debt collectors have not properly reported your account information.
We Can Help
The lawyers at Hays Cauley, P.C., are dedicated to fighting for consumers. We can help you dispute errors on your credit report, and we can sue any and all parties that have violated your rights under the FCRA.
Located in Florence, South Carolina, our firm offers free initial consultations, and most of our services are offered on a contingency basis. To learn more, fill out our online contact form or call us at 843-773-2782.