Credit Report Errors

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September 2008

How to Dispute Credit Report Errors

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our credit report contains information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. Credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies. Some financial advisors and consumer advocates suggest that you review your credit report periodically. Why? n Because the information it contains affects whether you can get a loan — and how much you will have to pay to borrow money. n To make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up‑to‑date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.

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To help guard against identity theft. That’s when someone uses your personal information — like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number — to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to open a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.

Getting Your Credit Report An amendment to the FCRA requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. How to Order Your Free Report The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up one website, toll‑free telephone number,

FTC Facts For Consumers 2

and mailing address through which you can order Other situations where you might your free annual report. To order, visit be eligible for a free report annualcreditreport.com, call 1‑877‑322‑8228, or Under federal law, you’re also entitled to a free report complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form if a company takes adverse action against you, such and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request as denying your application for credit, insurance, Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348‑5281. or employment, based on information in your You can use the form in this brochure, or you can report. You must ask for your report within 60 days print it from ftc.gov/credit. of receiving notice of the Do not contact the three action. The notice will give nationwide credit reporting you the name, address, and The law allows you to companies individually. They phone number of the credit order one free copy of your reporting company. are providing free annual credit reports only through You’re also entitled to one credit report from annualcreditreport.com, free report a year if you’re each of the nationwide 1‑877‑322‑8228, and Annual unemployed and plan to look Credit Report Request credit reporting companies for a job within 60 days; if Service, P.O. Box 105281, you’re on welfare; or if your every 12 months. Atlanta, GA 30348‑5281. report is inaccurate because You may get your free of fraud, including identity reports from each of the three theft. nationwide credit reporting companies at the same Otherwise, a credit reporting company may time, or from only one or two. The law allows you charge you up to $10.50 for another copy of your to get one free report from each of the nationwide report within a 12‑month period. To buy a copy of credit reporting companies every 12 months. your report, contact: You need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have Experian ‑ 1‑888‑397‑3742; experian.com moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. To maintain the security of TransUnion ‑ 1‑800‑916‑8800; transunion.com your file,...
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