Credit Report Errors

When was the last time you checked your credit report?  Have you ever checked your credit report?  Do you know how to check your credit report? 

With the pandemic, errors have doubled on credit reports.  Why?  Certain programs implemented during the pandemic, such as forbearance periods on federal student loans and federally backed mortgages, have ended up impacting credit reports as a result of complications of processing delays and suspended payments being marked incorrectly.  So, just when you think that you were doing what was necessary to protect your credit rating, it could have impacted you negatively.   These negative impacts could result in higher interest rates on loans or credit cards, being turned down for a job or an apartment lease.  Even if you aren’t applying for a loan, a job or an apartment lease, you should still take a look at your credit report. 

The pandemic has enabled everyone to get a free weekly credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting bureaus until April 20, 2022.  Historically, you could check each of the three bureaus once a year without impacting your score.   

AnnualCreditReport.com provides a form for you to complete to enable you to review your credit reports online.  If an error is found, you need to contact the credit reporting agency to dispute the error either online or via mail.  Within 30-45 days, the bureau is to have investigated the matter and responded with their results in writing.  If the information is found to be in error, then it will be corrected.  If you still dispute the results after an investigation, request that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and future reports.  You can also contact the creditor that reported the information and dispute it with them directly.  If the creditor finds the information to be incorrect, they must notify the three reporting bureaus for updating or deletion. 

If you have been a victim of identity theft, additional action may be needed by you to have a fraud alert or a security freeze placed on your credit report. 

While correcting an error can be time-consuming and emotionally draining, it is important that you do your part to make certain incorrect information is resolved as it can have an impact on you in more ways than you might realize.

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About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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