Do you have your eye on a new car? Have you found your dream home?   Are you ready to make a job change? Buying a car or home is a major purchase.  Likewise, changing jobs or finding a job is a big deal.  Creditors and employers think so, too.  That’s why creditors and employers pull your credit report before approving your credit application or making you a job offer.  If your credit report has errors, then you may not be able to get approved for credit or land your dream job. Credit report errors keep consumers from moving forward!

So what should you do?  First, you need to order your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.  This should be done well in advance of car or home shopping, and definitely before you turn in an application for employment.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives consumers the right to order their free credit report once every 12 months from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.  Consumers may order their report by phone, online or by mail.  We recommend using the Annual Credit Report Request Form to request free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. The credit bureaus must mail you your free report within 15 days of receipt of your request.

Second, once you receive the credit reports, you should carefully review each for ANY errors.  The most common errors we are contacted about include incorrect: public records; personal information; collection accounts; credit accounts; and inquiries.  For example, you may see a name that you have never used or an address that does not belong to you.  These errors could mean that you are a victim of identity theft or that the credit bureaus have mixed your file with another consumer. Next, make a list of ALL of the incorrect items so that you can dispute the errors to the credit bureaus.

Third, write a detailed credit report dispute letter to each of the credit reporting agencies reporting the incorrect information on your credit report.  The letter should be straight forward and identify you (name, address, date of birth and Social Security number), the incorrect information (name variation or address, public record item, account or inquiry), and why the information is incorrect (I have never used the name “Jane” or the judgment/account/inquiry does not belong to me).  The letter should be sent certified mail return receipt requested.  Keep a copy of the letter and postage receipts for proof of mailing. Click HERE for a sample credit report dispute letter.

If the credit bureaus “verify” the inaccurate information, then you should contact us for a free case evaluation.  The FCRA provides for actual damages for negligent violations.  Actual damages include credit or employment denials, lowered credit score, out-of-pocket expenses and emotional distress.  The FCRA also provides for attorney’s fees for successful plaintiffs. Call us for a free case review 24/7 at 1-800-263-9091.  Remember, it’s your credit report!