A survey by Public Interest Research Group found that 79 percent of credit reports contained an error, with 25 percent having a serious error that would disqualify the consumer from buying a house, opening an account, or getting a job (Source: Associated Press)
Most people are surprised the first time they see their credit report with the sheer amount of information it contains. With the above statistics it would seem wise to be aware of how the credit bureaus are gathering information on you.
Some of the most common errors are others with similar names and locations showing up on your report as well as family members being mixed in with your data.
The first step is access your credit report. Be VERY cautious about having a third party check it for you. Laws went into effect several years allowing you access to your credit report every 12 months for free.
To access your reports go to this secure site http://www.annualcreditreport.com
There are three credit reporting agencies therefore ensure you download your report from all three, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
Besides information on debt payments some information on your credit report comes from public record databases. Don’t be surprised to find information about marriages, divorces, liens and bankruptcies as well as employment data. The key is to make sure the information is accurate.
If you find a mistake report it immediately in writing to the credit reporting company. Many now have an online form you can fill out to dispute items on the report.
The next article on credit will focus on the “credit score”