How to Monitor Errors on your Credit Report

Monitoring your credit score is the best way to find errors on your credit report. Credit report errors occur frequently. If you discover something was not properly reported, you should act immediately to have the issue resolved.

Running a Credit Check

There are three primary bureaus responsible for keeping track of your credit score. These bureaus include: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You can visit websites for all three, and you will have the option of running a single credit report check at any of these sites. However, if you want to check all three simultaneously, you will likely find the best options through a third party provider, such as FreeCreditReport.com or a similar service. There, you will have to enter personal information in order to view a detailed score. You should be looking for any "potentially negative information" on your score that caused it to drop. If you locate this information, then investigate further to determine which creditor made the negative report.

Determine if the Debt is Valid

The first thing you should do is to track down the lender and ask them to validate the debt. Sometimes, you may find you actually owe the debt, but the creditor goes by a legal name unfamiliar to you. For example, your utility company may report a collection in your name as a collection company or law office that you may not be familiar with. If you do not recognize the creditor, or do not believe the agency has a right to attempt to collect from you, you should immediately file a dispute.

File a Claim with the Creditor

You will need to file a written request with the creditor and they will have to respond to this request within 30 days. Simply send a letter including your account number and asking for credit verification. During the period of time before the lender or creditor responds, they cannot take action to collect or report you to a credit bureau. It is important to document any step you take with the creditor. If they do not respond within the legal window, then the debt collection attempt will be invalid, and you can dispute the negative report with the credit bureau. Documenting the exact dates you request materials is integral to a successful dispute in the future.

File a Claim with the Credit Bureaus

If you determine the debt is not valid, you will need to file this claim with the credit bureaus. You can file credit disputes online though any of the bureau websites; again, you can complete all three simultaneously through a third party service. If you received a notice from the original creditor stating the debt was not valid, use this to prove it should be removed from the credit report. The creditor should technically take this step itself, but most will not follow through enough to ensure the bad score is removed from your credit. It will be up to you to file the request and provide any documentation requested by the credit bureaus. You will need to file with each bureau that received the negative information.


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