Navigating Credit Report Errors: A Comprehensive Guide


Your credit report is a critical document that plays a significant role in your financial life. It affects your ability to secure loans, obtain favorable interest rates, and even impacts your potential for certain job opportunities. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your credit report accurately reflects your financial history. Unfortunately, errors are not uncommon on credit reports, and they can have serious consequences. In this post, we’ll explore what credit report errors are, how to identify them, and the steps you can take to correct them.

What Are Credit Report Errors?

Credit report errors are inaccuracies or discrepancies on your credit report that misrepresent your credit history. Errors on credit reports can be patently inaccurate (such as reporting you as deceased) or misleading (such as not reporting an account as discharged in bankruptcy and with a balance owed). Although not exhaustive, here’s our top 10 list (in no particular order) of most common credit report errors that we see:

  • 1. Incorrect Personal Information: Errors in your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, employment history, phone numbers can lead to mix-ups in your credit report. For example, if your name is “Jean” and the credit reporting agencies report your name as “Gene,” then you could be at risk for being mixed with “Gene’s” credit file or “Gene’s” information could appear on your credit file.  
  • 2. Account Errors: This includes inaccuracies related to your credit accounts, such as missing accounts, incorrect account balances, or outdated information.
  • 3. Late Payments: If your report incorrectly shows late payments that you’ve made on time, this can harm your credit score.
  • 4. Accounts You Didn’t Open: Sometimes, erroneous accounts might appear on your credit report that you never opened. This could be a sign of identity theft. This could also be a sign that your credit file is mixed with a different consumer. 
  • 5. Duplicate Entries: Duplicate accounts or entries for the same debt can inflate your debt load and negatively affect your creditworthiness.
  • 6. Incorrect Payment History: Errors in the record of your payment history, such as showing missed payments when you made them on time, can be damaging.
  • 7. Outdated Information: Your credit report should only include the last seven to ten years of your credit history. Errors related to outdated derogatory information can affect your credit score.
  • 8. Inquiries You Didn’t Authorize:  Inquiries for new accounts appearing on your credit report made without your authorization or consent could be a sign of identity theft. Inaccurate inquiries could also indicate that your credit file is mixed with another consumer’s file. Hard inquiries lower your credit score and can be a reason for denial of credit. 
  • 9. Reported as Deceased: A deceased notation on your credit file will prevent creditors from getting your credit score. That means it will be almost impossible to get credit when you are reported as deceased because creditors cannot evaluate the risk without a credit score. 
  • 10.  Public Record Errors: Currently, the public record information reported by the nationwide consumer reporting agencies is limited to bankruptcy records. Bankruptcies may be inaccurately attributed to you when someone else with a similar name filed for bankruptcy. Or the bankruptcy record may not accurately reflect that it was discharged through the bankruptcy court and appear to still be open. 

How to Identify Credit Report Errors

Regularly reviewing your credit report is the first step in identifying credit report errors. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) every 12 months. Here’s how to obtain and review your free credit report:

1. Request Your Credit Report: Visit, the only official website authorized by federal law to provide free credit reports. You can request a free credit report from each bureau or stagger them throughout the year.

2. Review Each Credit Report Closely: Scrutinize every section of your credit reports, paying special attention to personal information, account details, and payment history.

3. Note All Credit Report Errors: If you identify any errors or inaccuracies, document them carefully. Make note of the account name, account number, and the nature of the error.

Steps to Correct Credit Report Errors

Once you’ve identified a credit report error, it’s crucial to take prompt action to rectify it. Here’s a step-by-step guide to correcting credit report errors:

1. Contact the Credit Bureau: Write a dispute letter to the credit bureau(s) reporting the error (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion). Include your name, address, a detailed description of the error, and any supporting documentation.

2. Contact the Data Furnisher: If the error is related to a specific account, contact the lender or creditor responsible for reporting the incorrect information. Provide them with the same detailed dispute information.

3. Follow Up: Credit bureaus are required to investigate your credit report dispute within 30 days of receiving it. After the investigation, the credit reporting agency must provide you with the dispute results. Review the dispute results and your updated credit report to ensure the error has been corrected.

4. Document Everything: Keep copies of all correspondence, including dispute letters, responses from credit bureaus, and any supporting documentation.

5. Monitor Your Credit: Continue to regularly monitor your credit reports to ensure that the error has been corrected and does not reappear.

Download a Free Sample Credit Report Dispute Letter


Your credit report is a powerful financial tool, and errors on it can have significant consequences. By regularly reviewing your credit report and taking action to correct any inaccuracies, you can ensure that your credit history is a true reflection of your financial responsibility. Don’t underestimate the importance of this simple yet critical task in managing your financial well-being.

Got credit report errors? 

Do you have errors on your credit report?  Have you disputed the inaccurate information on your credit report and the credit bureaus verified the information is accurate?  If you answered yes, then you should consider hiring an experienced credit report lawyer to help you clear your name. 

The Adkins Firm represents consumers who have errors on credit reports. We help our clients clear their good name with credit reporting agencies and background reporting companies.  Do you need an attorney to help you dispute credit report errors?

Contact us for a free case review.