CREDIT REPORT ERRORS? COMPLAIN TO THE BBB
HAVE YOU DISCOVERED A CREDIT REPORT ERROR? Make a complaint to the Better Business Bureau.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends consumers request their free credit report from the central source and avoid using some deceptive advertisements that offer “free” credit reports, credit scores or credit monitoring services. According to the BBB, “Pulling your credit report on a regular basis is a smart way for consumers to stay on top of their financial health.” Credit reports can also tell you if you are a victim of identity theft. “The reports also can help you figure out whether someone has stolen your identity or tried to commit financial fraud.”
So what’s the deal with all the TV commercials for free credit reports or credit monitoring? Many advertisements on television or online claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores” or “free credit monitoring.” The free reports, free credit scores and credit monitoring is generally only free if you sign up for another service that is not free. In some cases, the advertisers may be attempting to steal your identity or sign you up for something that results in a monthly fee charged to a credit card.
The only way to get your free annual credit report from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union is to send a request to the centralized source pursuant to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). Click HERE to download the free credit report request form and mail it to the Central Source. You should receive your free report from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union shortly after you mail off the form.
You should NOT request your free credit report online. Why? Because some credit bureaus may require you to agree to arbitration before they make your credit report available to you online! That means you give up your right to a jury trial! No way!
Here are some tips for consumers who want to check their reports:
- Do not access the Annual Credit Report request service through links from unfamiliar websites. If you get an email or see a pop-up ad claiming it’s from AnnualCreditReport.com or any of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message. To help ensure the privacy and protection of your personal information, order your credit report through the mail and do not request your report online.
- Consider pulling your reports every three or four months. While you can pull reports from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union at once, consider pulling your credit reports one at a time spread through the year. Pulling your reports separately allows you to better monitor your reports and keep track of any changes or new information that may appear on your credit report. If you pull all your reports at once, you won’t be eligible to pull a free report again for 12 months
- Pull your child’s credit report. Child identity theft remains a national problem, so it makes sense to see if your child has a report. The credit reporting agencies should not have a credit file on minor children, but you can contact the credit reporting agencies directly, and they can run the report. If there is one, your child could be a victim of identity theft.
- Avoid companies that claim they can improve your credit for free. The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to be wary of companies that make claims regarding credit repair. These companies, commonly called credit clinics, don’t do anything for consumers that consumers cannot do for themselves at little or no cost. Beware of any organization that offers to create a new identity and credit file for you.
- Dispute inaccuracies on your credit report. Inaccurate, derogatory information can lower your credit score and may indicate possible fraudulent activity. If you find information that you believe is inaccurate, you have the right to dispute it free of charge. Contact the reporting agency you pulled your report from to file a dispute. The best way to make a dispute is by mail. Don’t make a dispute by phone or online. Why? Phone disputes don’t create a paper trail. Online dispute limit the information you can send with your dispute and may bar you from filing a lawsuit if the credit reporting agency makes you agree to arbitration.
Have you requested your free credit report? Have you received your credit report and discovered a credit report error? Contact us 24/7 at 1-800-263-9091 for a free credit report review.