What to Do if There is Inaccurate Information on Your Credit Report

Checking your credit report from each of the three bureaus regularly is a good starting point for ensuring the information included is correct. If you find discrepancies included in any report, you have the right to dispute the information and correct them.

Below is the step-by-step process for ensuring your credit report is accurate and up to date:

Step 1: Understand what to look for in your credit report
The information on your credit report comes directly from the companies that provide credit to consumers.  Companies are not required to report information to all three nationwide credit bureaus. So, occasionally, a credit report can vary from bureau to bureau. 

For example, one credit bureau may have an incorrect address listed, while the others might not, because a lender could have reported information to only one bureau. Since information can vary from bureau to bureau, it is a good practice to take a detailed look at all three reports.

Carefully review each section of your report. Some information to look for carefully in your credit report includes outdated personal information, fraudulent credit lines and inaccurate account information.

Step 2: Organize documents to support your claim
If you find inaccuracies, it’s best to be sure you have information on hand that can support your claim.  Be sure to keep a log of all the steps you take throughout the process and obtain copies of all paperwork. Then, keep all the originals in a safe and organized place. 

Be sure all the originals are in a safe and organized place in order to reference these resources quickly and keep the confidential information included in these reports safe.

Step 3: Contact each of the three credit bureaus 
Because information is not necessarily reported to all three credit bureaus, it’s wise to verify information is correct across each of them. Contact the bureaus that have incorrect information listed to start the dispute process. If you have your information readily available, it’s good to submit the documentation to assist with the dispute process.

After starting the dispute process, the bureau will be in communication with the company or lender that provided the disputed information. Once the bureau receives a response, the consumer will be informed of the results of the investigation within a few days. If the bureau can’t confirm the validity of the information, the disputed item will be removed.

To help ensure your information is as accurate as possible, it is a good idea to check your credit report at least once a year, if not more often. This can help you become familiar with the contents of your credit report and might also help you detect possible fraud more easily.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions. 

Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc.  © 2013 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc.  All rights reserved.