CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT
You may be unaware of missed bills or other payments, so checking your credit report may make you aware of missed payments or other problems that you can improve on. It can also reveal some things that aren’t meant to be on there, such as errors by banks or credit institutions.
There are 3 credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), and each is required by federal law to provide a free credit report once per year. You can submit for your free credit report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 877-322-8228.
Look over your report carefully. There are a couple things you can look for:
- Late or overdue payments that are listed that you might be able to prove that you actually paid
- Is there another name or address listed under your name? Only your name should be listed on the credit report. If there is anyone else, you might be the target of identity theft.
If there is incorrect information on your credit report, you must notify both the credit bureau and the information provider (i.e., wherever you got your credit report from). Include copies of any documents that may support your claim (cancelled checks, statements), but be sure to keep the originals for your records. Send your credit dispute by certified mail with return receipt requested. The investigation will take about 30 days, and you will receive notification of the results of the investigation. If the credit bureau finds that there was, in fact, incorrect information on your report, you should be sure to contact the other 2 credit bureaus to make sure your report is updated with the correct information.