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Improve Your Credit: What You Need to Know About Credit Report Errors

Posted by Sami Thalji | Jun 28, 2024

A recent study by Consumer Reports and WorkMoney found that nearly half of people who checked their credit reports found mistakes. Over a quarter found serious errors, like incorrect debts, that could harm their credit scores and limit financial opportunities. Many participants also had trouble getting their free credit reports online.

Key Findings:

  • 44% found at least one mistake on their credit report.
  • 27% found errors in account information, such as unrecognized accounts, wrongly reported late payments, and incorrect debts.
  • 34% found errors in personal information like incorrect names or addresses.
  • 25% of participants couldn't access their credit reports due to security questions or system errors.
  • 11% found it hard to access their credit reports.

Common Credit Report Errors:

  • Paid-off accounts showing as unpaid
  • Duplicate loans listed
  • Incorrectly reported debts in collections
  • Wrong personal information like name, address, or birthdate
  • "Mixed files" where another person's information appears on your report
  • Fraudulent accounts from identity theft

Impact of Errors: Credit report mistakes can have serious consequences, such as:

  • Higher loan interest rates
  • Difficulty getting loans, jobs, or apartments
  • Issues with auto and homeowners insurance

What You Can Do:

  • Regularly check your credit reports for mistakes.
  • Dispute any errors you find.
  • Use for free access to your credit reports.

Steps to Fix Errors:

  1. File a dispute with the credit reporting agencies.
  2. Include documentation to support your dispute.
  3. Keep copies of all materials and send them by certified mail.
  4. If unresolved, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
  5. Consider hiring an attorney for severe cases.

Consumer Reports and WorkMoney Recommendations:

  • Improve credit report accuracy by matching more personal information to ensure correct associations.
  • Allow consumers to access their credit reports for free anytime without marketing paid services.
  • Simplify and secure the process to access credit reports online.
  • Improve the dispute resolution process and allow appeals for dispute results.
  • Limit the reporting of medical debt in credit reports.
  • Restrict the use of credit reports and scores for non-credit-related purposes like insurance rates and employment decisions.

Ensuring the accuracy of credit reports is crucial for financial health. By checking your credit report regularly and disputing errors, you can protect your credit score and improve your financial opportunities.

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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