A third of Americans find credit report errors. How to fix mistakesJune 12, 2021
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Before you take out a mortgage or car loan, check your credit report.
It may have a mistake that could cost you.
It’s not as uncommon as you may think. More than one-third, or 34%, of Americans found at least one error on their credit report, according to a new Consumer Reports investigation. Consumer Reports asked volunteers to get a copy of their credit report and check for errors and 5,858 did so between Feb. 1 and April 1.
Twenty-nine percent found personal information errors and 11% found account information errors.
Mistakes about personal information may not hurt your credit score, but could make it more difficult or impossible to access your credit report, said Consumer Reports policy analyst Syed Ejaz. Mistakes about account information, on the other hand, can damage your credit score.
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That three-digit number has a direct impact on your ability to get loans, such as a mortgage, and what interest rate you will pay.
“Unfortunately, sometimes folks find out way too late, when they are in the middle of getting a loan for a new house or car,” Ejaz said.
“That is why it is really important to make sure you check your credit report and assess it for accuracy.”
The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the major credit reporting companies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, issued a lengthy statement in response to Consumer Reports’ findings. It called the story “completely false and misleading” and said the industry has a 98% accuracy rate.
“Accuracy is the bedrock of the credit reporting industry and getting credit reports right for consumers is our most important job,” the statement said.
Consumer Reports isn’t the only organization to report on errors. A 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission found 25% of Americans had a mistake on their credit reports.
The best thing to do is to stay on top of your credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com. While typically available free of charge from each reporting firm once a year, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are offering free weekly credit reports through April 20, 2022.
Fixing a mistake
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If the error is about your personal information and it is preventing you from accessing your credit reports online or by telephone, write a letter directly to the reporting firms, advised Ian Lyngklip, an attorney at Lyngklip & Associates Consumer Law Center in the metropolitan Detroit area.
Make sure you include the appropriate identification, like your driver’s license, as well as proof of your address, such as a bank or utility statement. You can black out any financial information, he said.
For other mistakes, you’ll have to dispute them with each credit reporting company so that they are corrected. Clearly explain in…