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What should I do when there Is Inaccurate Information On Your Credit Report

Inaccurate information is the easiest type of error to correct on a consumer credit report because credit reporting agencies—e.g., TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian—are required by law to ensure that only accurate information is made available through one's credit report.

It is common for a consumer to monitor their credit report in an effort to resolve issues resulting in a less-than-desirable credit score. It is, however, in every consumer's interest to monitor their credit report at least annually to ensure all reported information is accurate. Inaccuracies are relatively easy to correct and are more likely to be resolved in the consumer's favor the sooner they are identified and addressed.

Some of the most common types of inaccuracies include: marking a timely made payment as ‘missed' or ‘late'; reporting a credit account on the report of anyone other than the debtor; failing to change the status of a charge-off account once it has been paid or settled; stating an inaccurate account balance; and reporting ‘mixed' information from two or more individuals in a single report.

If the inaccuracy at issue is most likely due to a reporting error by a creditor, the consumer can ask the creditor to correct the error or update the account information with the reporting agency. If the consumer is unable to have the inaccuracy corrected through the creditor, they can file a dispute directly with the credit reporting agency, as described below.

In some cases, an inaccuracy will result from an error in information available through public records. In this type of instance, it is critical to resolve the inaccuracy in the public record before attempting to correct the inaccuracy on a credit report because the reporting bureaus will refer to the public record for evidence of the consumer's claim in dispute. For example, a court judgment that has been paid in full will continue being reported on a consumer's credit report unless and until the court records the judgment as being fully satisfied.

After an error in the public record is corrected, the consumer should file a dispute directly with the applicable reporting agency(ies) and include copies documents showing the old (or erroneous) information, as well as documentation of the corrected information. Likewise, a consumer should file a dispute directly with the appropriate reporting agency when the inaccuracy appears to be an agency error or where the consumer is unable to have the inaccuracy corrected by the creditor or other responsible party.

To request correction of inaccurate information on a credit report, a consumer may file a dispute directly with the agency reporting the inaccuracy—typically, TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian. The big three reporting bureaus each provide a portal for online filing, as well as a mailing address for filing a dispute by post:

TransUnion

Online Dispute Form

Consumer Dispute Center

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19022

Equifax

Online Dispute Form

Consumer Dispute Center

P.O. Box 740256

Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian

Online Dispute Form

Consumer Dispute Center

P.O. Box 4500

Allen, TX 75013

Whether a dispute is filed online or by mail, the consumer should be prepared to provide the following information: full name, date of birth, tax ID (SSN or ITIN), phone number, current address, and a letter detailing the nature of the dispute. The consumer may also need to include documentation, such as copies of old/erroneous public record information and documentation of new/corrected information.

Once a dispute is opened, the reporting agency has 30 days to investigate the consumer's claims and report back to the consumer whether the claimed inaccuracy was verified and corrected or successfully refuted by the creditor or, as applicable, by information available in the public record.

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