In the modern world, it is increasingly important to keep a close eye on your credit score. Even if you don’t have perfect credit, protecting what you have makes it easier to improve your credit and avoid costly hits to your score. Unfortunately, many of us see our credit score suffer because of reporting errors or because of fraudulent acts of others.
If you recently found errors on your credit report, you have some options. The first thing to do is take a deep breath and remember that you have a number of ways to fight back against inaccurate reporting. Errors and fraud may not clear up immediately, but with some careful research and a strong legal strategy, you may be able to get errors removed.
Reviewing your report
As you look through your credit reports (it is always good to compare the reports from all three reporting agencies), you can break down bad information into three main categories: incorrect identity information, incorrect account information, and identity theft or fraud.
The first two categories mostly include mistakes by a creditor or by the reporting agency. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both of these parties hold the responsibility for correcting these errors, but you must document the problematic information and alert the reporting agency and creditor.
Once you formally dispute information on your report, the agency hosting the bad information must investigate the issue within 30 days. The agency contacts the creditor who submitted the report so that the creditor can verify the information and report back to the agency. If the creditor does verify errors, it is responsible to inform all three reporting agencies so that they may correct your report and adjust your credit score if necessary.
Fraud and identity theft
If the bad information in your report results from fraud or identity theft, the process remains the same, but it is also important to document all of your interactions with creditors and reporting agencies over the matter. In some cases, you may have legal tools you can use to pursue fair compensation from the offender. It is important to make sure that fraudulent activity does not ruin your credit or lead to further loss of assets.
Fighting against this type of crime or abuse can prove frustrating, so make sure that you have the legal resources and guidance you need to keep your priorities in focus. Often, creditors make this process difficult to avoid dealing with a high volume of complaints. Be sure to create a strong legal strategy to protect your rights as well as your financial options.