It might not always seem like it, but your credit report is one of the most important assets you have. The information in your credit report shows what your relationships with your creditors are like, which influence your credit score. It’s for this reason that you should ensure your credit report always reflects the most accurate information about your debt and your creditors.
So, what if you pull a soft inquiry on your credit report and notice accounts, debt, or other information that you don’t recognize or is incorrect? If you’re like most people, you’d probably feel alarmed and fear that you’ve become a victim of identity theft – but have you?
Not always. Sometimes a credit report error not due to fraud is to blame.
What Is a Credit Report Error?
A credit report error is exactly what it sounds like: an error on your credit report. As it turns out, these mistakes are very common and affect about one in three Americans.
Some common credit report errors include the following:
- Incorrect information about you (name, phone number, address, etc.)
- Mixed files (your information is mixed with someone else’s)
- Closed accounts are reported as open
- Accounts incorrectly reported as delinquent or late
- Incorrect or missing payment information
- A debt is listed more than once
- Incorrect account balances or credit limits
Sometimes credit report errors are due to identity theft and fraud, but they are most often the results of data input and management errors. These mistakes can occur at various levels and originate from your bank, another financial institution, the credit reporting agency, or even you.
Are Credit Report Errors Serious?
They can be. Because an error on your credit report can adversely affect your credit score, you shouldn’t leave it unaddressed. Credit report errors that go unnoticed or are allowed to persist can drastically lower anyone’s credit score, damaging their reputation, limiting their ability to secure credit, and even costing them money.
Are Credit Report Errors Easy to Fix?
Some are, some aren’t. You may be able to quickly resolve relatively simple errors, such as a misspelled name, incorrect address, or a wrong account number. In these cases, the mistake can be corrected within a few days. More complicated problems, such as disputes concerning account balances or accounts in your name that you never opened, can take several days or a few weeks to resolve.
How Do I Fix an Error on My Credit Report?
You can fix an error on your credit report by filing a dispute with the credit reporting agency that provided the report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) makes both you and any credit reporting agency responsible for correcting any inaccurate information.
As you prepare your error dispute, include copies of all documentation that show the error and prove why it’s incorrect. Once you file an error dispute, the credit reporting agency must investigate your claim within 30 days. You should expect notification of the results of this investigation and receive a free copy of your amended credit report if any changes were made.
Do I Have to File Multiple Disputes for the Same Error with Other Agencies?
No, you shouldn’t have to dispute an individual error more than once. If one credit reporting agency agrees to fix an error you reported to it, the other two reporting agencies should receive this updated information.
Who Can Help Me Fix My Credit Report?
If your credit report is showing incorrect information, you can reach out to The Law Offices of Abel L. Pierre, Attorney at Law, P.C. for help filing a credit report error dispute. You should secure our legal representation as soon as possible because any errors on your credit report may be damaging your credit score.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, contact us online to schedule a consultation.