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Credit Scores are Key to Affording Life

Posted by Sami Thalji | Jul 08, 2024

Credit scores play a huge role in everyday life. They affect your ability to rent an apartment, buy a home, get a job, or secure better rates on car loans and insurance premiums. If you have a low credit score, you might face higher costs and stricter terms.

Access to credit scores has improved over the years. In the past, people couldn't even see their credit reports. Now, by law, you can check your credit report for free once a year, and during the pandemic, you could check it weekly.

Errors in credit reports can cause major issues. These mistakes might include wrong accounts, incorrect late payment reports, or false debt collection efforts. Even small errors like misspelled names or wrong addresses can create problems. Serious mistakes, such as identity theft or mixed-up files, can significantly hurt your credit score.

Consumer advocates stress the importance of accurate credit reports. They argue that credit agencies should do a better job of ensuring the information is correct. Complaints about credit reporting have been on the rise, nearly doubling between 2021 and 2022. These complaints often involve the improper use of credit reports, errors, and difficulties in getting mistakes corrected.

One notable case involved Tammy Chambers from Tacoma, Washington. She found four delinquent loans on her credit report that weren't hers, causing her credit score to drop dramatically. It took months of effort to get the false debts removed.

Financial errors, especially those involving delinquent accounts, are concerning because they can unfairly lower your credit score. Even an incorrect name or address can signal potential identity theft.

Here are some tips to protect your credit:

  • Freeze Your Credit: This prevents anyone from opening new accounts in your name. It's free and helps combat identity theft. You can temporarily unfreeze it if needed.
  • Read Your Credit Reports: Check your credit reports at least once a year to look for errors or unfamiliar items. To be thorough, check a different agency's report every four months.
  • Report Errors: If you find a mistake on your credit report, report it to the credit bureau and, if applicable, the company that reported the incorrect information.
  • File a Complaint if Needed: If the credit bureau doesn't fix the error, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

By staying vigilant and taking these steps, you can help ensure your credit report is accurate and protect your financial health.

About the Author

Sami Thalji

Sami Thalji is a native Floridian, born in Clearwater and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sami graduated from Osceola High School in Seminole, Florida before attending and receiving both his Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida in Ga...


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