How to Fix Stupid Errors in Your Credit Report And Boost Your Credit Score

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Your loan officer just called to tell you that your loan application has been rejected. According to your credit report, you died not long ago! This actually happened to a very much alive 30-year-old Detroit guy. His alleged deceased status kept him from getting a new car loan. Here is how to find and correct errors to stop this from happening to you.

Start by getting a current copy of your credit bureau reports. Get all of them - TransUnion, Equifax, and Experion. Be advised, they will not give you details over the telephone and most likely will make you wait to have your reports mailed to you.

You can also go to a credit monitoring company and get your score and credit reports after signing up for their monitoring service. These are readily available online.

Federal law now provides Americans with one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. These too are available online. Do a search and look for "free credit reports" to find the approved government program to apply.

Many people find one or more credit report blunders in the reports. These include information that is downright inaccurate and mistakes that reflect errors you have made. Some are minor but some have damaging effects like out Detroit guy found out.

For example, you might find some surprising errors, the not-your-fault stuff, that can include accounts mistakenly attributed to you. I once found I had a credit card on file that I never applied for. It was in the same name as mine, including the middle initial, but the guy lived in Phoenix. I had never been to Phoenix in my life! The card had never been used but it took two phone calls and a notarized letter to verify my Social Security number to get it cleared.

Errors can also include omissions, such as the presence of a delinquency that you have already remedied, or an old collection action that is still being reported as overdue even though you took care of it. You may also have an out-of-date home address or employment information. The your-fault stuff can include application notices that you didn't fill out. There are a multitude of possible errors and you must identify and correct as many as possible.

It is possible that a credit rejection is what will make you aware that you have a problem. Keep the original report and send the credit bureau, and the company that provided the erroneous information to the credit bureau, a photocopy of your evidence. Why keep your originals? In case there is a lawsuit involved, original documents, not copies, are required by most courts.

Keep all your records in good order and maintain records of all communication with the credit bureau and the information provider. Write down vital information of all phone conversations. Note the dates and times of conversations and the names of whom you spoke to each time.

As for handling inaccurate information in your credit file, the best way to approach the cleanup process is to start with the source. In most instances, it is listed right there on your credit report. This would be the company or person who reported your information to the credit agency.

Notify any "soft" inquiries of corrections. Soft inquiries are simply companies that you somehow authorized to look at your credit report when you applied for a loan, credit card, or employment. If an error persists, even after you have done your best to correct it, ask the credit bureau to inform any parties that may have looked at your credit report in the past six months.

You can also ask for any corrected credit reports to be sent to potential employers that looked at your credit report in the preceding two years. Credit errors may keep you from getting a job and you might not even be aware of it.

If data in your credit report is correct but negative, or your dispute cannot be authenticated, you are in a bit of trouble. Under the law, this negative data can remain on your credit report for seven to ten years especially if you have filed for personal bankruptcy. If this is the case, it may take an attorney to act on your behalf to straighten things out.

After errors have been corrected, wait a few months and then request your credit reports again. Check to make sure that the disputed information has been removed or corrected. If it has not been cleaned up, you are back at square one but be persistent until corrections are made. Persistence does pay off.

Credit reporting mistakes can be emotionally draining and correcting those mistakes can seem overpowering but it will be much easier if you keep your emotions under control during the process. If you find yourself dwelling on your credit too much or if you find yourself becoming severely depressed over it, talk to someone about it. Your banker can be a good financial friend. Most banks have specialists ready to advise you for free.

Above all, remember that a credit problem is fixable. With the right steps it does not need to become an emotional disaster for you. You need to get educated about what to do. Jim DeSantis, The Internet Reporter and former TV News Editor, provides a detailed free ebook that will show the right steps to take to fix your credit and raise your credit score.

Jim DeSantis is a retired TV News Director who blogs at On Line Tribune - here! Jim also edits "Gifts from Jim DeSantis" where you can pick up two free ebooks: "Credit Rescue" and "How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft."

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