If you are in the process of reviewing your credit reports, the first thing to do is make sure that the information contained within the reports is correct. In June 2004, The U.S. Public Interest Research Group published the results of a survey it conducted involving 200 adults in 30 states to test the validity of credit reporting. Their findings were as follows:
Twenty five percent (25%) of the credit reports contained errors serious enough to result in the denial of credit;
Seventy nine percent (79%) of the credit reports contained mistakes of some kind;
Fifty four percent (54%) of the credit reports contained personal demographic information that was misspelled, long outdated, belonged to a stranger, or was otherwise incorrect;
Thirty percent (30%) of the credit reports contained credit accounts that had been closed by the consumer but incorrectly remained listed as open.
(SOURCE: U.S. Public Interest Group Research; One In Four Credit Reports Contains Errors Serious Enough To Wreak Havoc For Consumers, US PIRG Press release, 06/17/04
If you find that you have errors on your credit report, follow this procedure to correct those errors.
Make a copy of the report and circle the items you are questioning. Keep your original copy for your own records.
Prepare a letter to the CRA that provided you with the report in question, and request to have the erroneous item(s) removed. If you have proof of payment for an item in question, include a copy of that documentation.
Prepare a letter to the creditor reporting the problem, especially if you feel you are a victim of fraud or identity theft. Inform the creditor that you are disputing an error reported to the CRA, state why the claim is inaccurate, and include any relevant documentation to prove your point.