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Every day, many consumers’ rights are being violated by individuals and big corporations. Banks, lenders, employers, debt collectors, credit repair agencies, so on and so forth. Many consumers have to face these institutions and individuals by themselves, not realizing there are laws enacted to protect them and their livelihood.

It is important that you educate yourself on your rights when dealing with these people and corporations. Knowing the law can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, while also retaining your peace of mind and dignity.

It is crucial that you get a trusted consumer rights attorney on your side, if you feel that your rights have been violated. And it is of no cost to you as we offer free case reviews. We get paid, when you do. So contact us now, or fill out our online form to represent you in consumer matters.

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Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act, credit report errors can be disputed. Click here to learn more.

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How to Read Your Credit Report

How to Read Your Credit Report

 

It’s arguably one of the most important free documents you’ll want to understand.

Do you know what’s in your credit report?

Understanding your credit report is an important part of financial literacy. The report not only dictates whether you can get a credit card or an auto loan , it can also factor into landing a job or having a place to call home. Now that credit reporting agencies are providing them free each week because of the corona virus pandemic, there’s little reason not to review yours to understand where you are financially and if you’ve been a victim of fraud. 

Here’s a guide to what’s in your credit report and what to keep an eye out for. 

Personal information

This section is self-explanatory and also one of the most important parts of your credit report. This is where you’ll see your Social Security number, date of birth, name, employment data and addresses, both previous and current. It’s important to make sure these details are correct.

Credit account information

Here’s the credit part of the credit report. The accounts under your name, including credit cards, loans and other revolving lines of credit, are listed here. Each entry should include:

  • Account type.
  • Date opened.
  • Credit limit or loan amount.
  • Current balance.
  • Status of account.
  • Payment history.

When reviewing this section, you want to verify that each account listed is yours. If there’s an entry that’s not yours, then you’ll need to file a dispute with the agency that provided the report. 

Aside from confirming that the accounts are legit, you’ll also want to confirm that the info is accurate. Each account listing will show whether you made a late payment, and the more late payments there are, the more it’ll negatively affect your credit score

This section of the report will also show closed accounts. Most credit details will stay on a credit report for seven years. 

Inquiry information

If a bank, realty company or employer requests a copy of your credit report, often called a “hard pull,” the inquiry will be listed here. Having an excessive number of such requests can negatively affect your credit score. 

There are also promotional inquiries, or “soft pulls,” usually conducted by financial institutions that want to offer a pre approved line of credit, or by credit monitoring companies that’re reviewing your details as part of their services. These organizations request some info from the credit card company, but they don’t receive all the data from the credit report. These kinds of pulls don’t impact a credit score like the hard inquiries do.

Card issuers will also periodically review your credit info for various reasons, such as increasing or lowering your credit limit. Like the soft pulls, these account review inquiries don’t reduce a credit score. 

Bankruptcy and public records

If you’ve filed for bankruptcy, the details will be listed in this section, including type of bankruptcy, date filed, which court and how much you’re liable for. 

Other public records also show up here, such as any court judgments against you. Listed details may include the company that filed the suit, how much it was for, the court where the suit was filed and the judgement on the case. 

Collections accounts

A company may turn over an account to a collection agency after a period of time if no payments are made. This includes creditors, as well as doctors, hospitals, cable companies and mobile service providers. In some cases, the collection agency’s info will be listed here, and not that of the original company that’s owed the money. Just like the credit account info, it’s important to verify the details in this section.

To see what a full credit report looks like, click to the sample of an Experian report, below. 

https://www.scribd.com/document/460221690/Sample-Credit-Report#download&from_embed

3 Free Credit Reports Per Year: How to Get Free Copies

3 Free Credit Reports Per Year: How to Get Free Copies

3 Free Credit Reports Per Year: How to Get Free Copies

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The three free credit reports consumers may request per year provide important information and a means to help consumers protect against identity fraud. The information contained is invaluable.As a consumer, you may request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus every twelve months. Accessing and reviewing your credit reports from each of the three bureaus annually helps you ensure the accuracy of the information. It also allows you to monitor your account history to protect against identity theft.

Obtaining Your Credit Report

To find out how to get your annual credit report from each bureau, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. This site helps consumers obtain their free credit reports as required by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act). To request your free credit reports on-line at the site, you will need to provide specific information, including your name, social security number and address. You will then be asked to select which of the credit bureaus you want to obtain your report from:

• TransUnion

• Experian

• Equifax

You will also be required to answer a set of questions to verify your identity. The information contained in these questions comes directly from your credit reports.

You can obtain a credit report from each of these agencies without charge one time per 12-month period. To create ongoing protection for yourself, consider obtaining one report every four months. This ensures you can consistently monitor your accounts.

How to Use Your 3 Credit Reports

Once you obtain a copy of your reports, you’ll be able to see what potential creditors and other permitted parties see about your credit history. This information will help potential creditors decide if they should lend to you. The reports contain the following types of information:

• Your name and address

• Your current open accounts, including balances, payment history and highest balance

• Your closed accounts, unless they are over seven years old

• Records of inquiries by all parties that obtained a credit report on you from that credit bureau

• Public records occurring in the last 10 years

You can also follow the instructions provided on the site to report any inaccuracies in your report. You will not receive a copy of your credit score with your free annual credit reports. To request your credit score, you need to visit the website of one of the three credit bureaus and generally pay a fee to do so.

Why Check Your Report?

By checking your credit reports regularly, you may verify their accuracy. If you find inaccuracies, you should report them to the appropriate credit bureau so that they will not impact your credit profile. Additionally, knowing what is on your credit reports may help you make proper credit decisions about your future. You can also get your FREE TransUnion Credit Report + Monitoring + Credit Lock from TrueCredit.

How to Dispute Errors in a Credit Report

How to Dispute Errors in a Credit Report

How to Dispute Errors in a Credit Report

This article provides a brief overview of how to request your credit report and take steps to correct errors in it. It was written by the St. Mary’s University School of Law Center for Legal and Social Justice, and contains references to other useful resources as well.

How do you check your credit report?
Three companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) gather and sell credit information to other companies. The credit report and your credit score determine what terms you may qualify for on a mortgage, credit card, auto loans, private student loans, and insurance. Employers can even use your credit report to decide whether to hire you.

Credit reporting companies must give you a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, when you ask. Order at AnnualCreditReport.com or call (877) 322-8228. Check your reports at least once a year for accuracy.

What do you do if you find an error in your credit report?
Errors in credit reports are common. They can make a big difference in your credit score and credit history. You have the right to submit a dispute and ask for an investigation when you find an error.

Send a dispute letter by certified mail.

Tell the credit reporting company—in writing—which information is wrong. Sample dispute letters can be found at these websites.

Identify each item that you dispute; explain why you dispute it; and ask that it be removed or corrected. Enclose a copy of the report with the disputed item circled so that it is clear what item you are disputing.

All the credit reporting companies let you submit disputes online. Online submissions are helpful for small-dollar disputes, but don’t always get the same attention as a letter sent by certified mail. A larger dispute (for example, the report wrongly says you filed for bankruptcy) should be submitted in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to emphasize the importance of the dispute.

Include supporting documentation with your dispute.

You can upload, mail, or fax any supporting documents that explain the errors in your credit report. Some examples include a paid bill, a letter from the organization acknowledging you paid a charge, a police report, examples of your signature (if forgery is an issue), or other documents showing the report is wrong.

Keep a copy of everything, whether you submit your dispute online or by mail.

Credit reporting companies receive thousands of disputes per month, and you don’t want your dispute slipping through the cracks. Keep a copy of everything you send. Check with the credit reporting company if you don’t hear from them within 30 days.

Does the credit reporting company have to investigate disputes?
Credit reporting companies must investigate the items you dispute, usually within 30 days. They must forward all relevant data you provide to the organization that reported the information. After the organization gets notice of a dispute from a credit reporting company, it must investigate; review the information; and report the results back to the credit reporting company.

When the investigation is done, the credit reporting company must give you the results of the dispute in writing, plus a free copy of your credit report (if your dispute results in a change). If you ask, the credit reporting company must send notices of corrections to anyone who received your credit report in the last six months.

What can I do if I dispute a charge, and the credit reporting company doesn’t fix it?
In many cases, the credit reporting company sends the dispute to the organization that reported it; the organization sends back a brief response verifying the debt; and the credit reporting company determines the report to be accurate. This quick process, without serious review, is often frustrating for consumers.

If you can’t get a credit report changed even after making a full dispute with the credit reporting company, one option is to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 855-411-CFPB (855-411-2372). The CFPB wants to know about problems with credit reporting companies—especially when they refuse to correct errors in credit reports. A second option is to hire a lawyer to help you make a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. section 1681.

Where can I find more information about credit report errors?
These online resources contain more information about credit reporting errors, including sample letters for reporting a dispute:

Federal Trade Commission, Disputing Errors on Credit Reports
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Credit Report Review Checkist
National Consumer Law Center, Disputing Errors in a Credit Report

Related Articles: Credit Reporting Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit CardsYour Equal Credit Opportunity RightsDisputing Errors on Credit ReportsPaying Back Credit Card DebtDisputing Errors on Your Credit ReportDebt and choosing a credit counselor

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How to Dispute Errors in a Credit Report

Printer-friendly version
How do you check your credit report?
What do you do if you find an error in your credit report?
Send a dispute letter by certified mail.
Include supporting documentation with your dispute.
Keep a copy of everything, whether you submit your dispute online or by mail.
Does the credit reporting company have to investigate disputes?
What can I do if I dispute a charge, and the credit reporting company doesn’t fix it?
Where can I find more information about credit report errors?

St. Mary’s University School of Law Center for Legal and Social JusticeThis article provides a brief overview of how to request your credit report and take steps to correct errors in it. It was written by the St. Mary’s University School of Law Center for Legal and Social Justice, and contains references to other useful resources as well.

How do you check your credit report?
Three companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) gather and sell credit information to other companies. The credit report and your credit score determine what terms you may qualify for on a mortgage, credit card, auto loans, private student loans, and insurance. Employers can even use your credit report to decide whether to hire you.

Credit reporting companies must give you a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, when you ask. Order at AnnualCreditReport.com or call (877) 322-8228. Check your reports at least once a year for accuracy.

What do you do if you find an error in your credit report?
Errors in credit reports are common. They can make a big difference in your credit score and credit history. You have the right to submit a dispute and ask for an investigation when you find an error.

Send a dispute letter by certified mail.

Tell the credit reporting company—in writing—which information is wrong. Sample dispute letters can be found at these websites.

Identify each item that you dispute; explain why you dispute it; and ask that it be removed or corrected. Enclose a copy of the report with the disputed item circled so that it is clear what item you are disputing.

All the credit reporting companies let you submit disputes online. Online submissions are helpful for small-dollar disputes, but don’t always get the same attention as a letter sent by certified mail. A larger dispute (for example, the report wrongly says you filed for bankruptcy) should be submitted in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to emphasize the importance of the dispute.

Include supporting documentation with your dispute.

You can upload, mail, or fax any supporting documents that explain the errors in your credit report. Some examples include a paid bill, a letter from the organization acknowledging you paid a charge, a police report, examples of your signature (if forgery is an issue), or other documents showing the report is wrong.

Keep a copy of everything, whether you submit your dispute online or by mail.

Credit reporting companies receive thousands of disputes per month, and you don’t want your dispute slipping through the cracks. Keep a copy of everything you send. Check with the credit reporting company if you don’t hear from them within 30 days.

Does the credit reporting company have to investigate disputes?
Credit reporting companies must investigate the items you dispute, usually within 30 days. They must forward all relevant data you provide to the organization that reported the information. After the organization gets notice of a dispute from a credit reporting company, it must investigate; review the information; and report the results back to the credit reporting company.

When the investigation is done, the credit reporting company must give you the results of the dispute in writing, plus a free copy of your credit report (if your dispute results in a change). If you ask, the credit reporting company must send notices of corrections to anyone who received your credit report in the last six months.

What can I do if I dispute a charge, and the credit reporting company doesn’t fix it?
In many cases, the credit reporting company sends the dispute to the organization that reported it; the organization sends back a brief response verifying the debt; and the credit reporting company determines the report to be accurate. This quick process, without serious review, is often frustrating for consumers.

If you can’t get a credit report changed even after making a full dispute with the credit reporting company, one option is to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 855-411-CFPB (855-411-2372). The CFPB wants to know about problems with credit reporting companies—especially when they refuse to correct errors in credit reports. A second option is to hire a lawyer to help you make a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. section 1681.

Where can I find more information about credit report errors?
These online resources contain more information about credit reporting errors, including sample letters for reporting a dispute:

Federal Trade Commission, Disputing Errors on Credit Reports
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Credit Report Review Checkist
National Consumer Law Center, Disputing Errors in a Credit Report

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Consumer’s rights are violated every day by big corporations and employers, and it is imperative that you get a trusted Consumer Rights Attorney on your side to help you fight for damages you are entitled to. We provide free case reviews, and we do not take a single dime from you! When you win, we win! Get in touch with us today!

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