HOW TO GET FALSE INFORMATION CORRECTED ON YOUR CREDIT FILE
People occasionally want to have information removed from their credit file, but are not sure exactly what is wrong.
FIRST: get a copy of your credit file from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
To order by phone, you can call the central source for these files, at 877-322-8228 (877-FACT-ACT). This is a phone call, and the process takes about 10 minutes. This call is to the central source for Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You will need your name, address, prior address if you have lived there less than 2 years, and your social security number.
To order by mail, you download the form, print it and mail it. The address is Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
SECOND; Determine what is wrong.
Once you have your credit file, you will need to read the contents.
For each of the 3 agencies, there are 4 areas to look at.
Personal identifier information: This is your name, address, sometimes former addresses, social security number, and maybe a phone number. Check this information for inaccurate identification of you. This indicates that there are serious errors.
Public records: anything filed in courts, like Bankruptcies, judgments and tax liens. Generally, it is not good to have anything in the public records. Judgments can be reported for 7 years, Bankruptcies for 10, and tax liens can be reported for 7 years after they are paid. (while they are unpaid, the clock does not start)
Trade lines: these are the accounts in your name. There are 2 kinds- negative, and positive.
Negative: These are the accounts that are in your name that have something not good about you. Late payments, defaults, charge-offs and other negative information. Negative trade lines can be reported for 7 years.
Positive: These are the accounts that are in your name that have only positive information about you. On time payments, and accounts that have been paid are examples. These accounts can be reported forever.
Inquiries: This is a list of who has looked at your credit file in the last 2 years. Some inquiries are for the preliminary purpose of qualifying you for a loan. Some are inquiries made by creditors or potential creditors to determine if you are someone they wish to do business with or wish to continue doing business.
THIRD: Dispute inaccurate or false information.
If there is information on it that is wrong or false, you should write a letter and send it by certified mail, return receipt requested to the agency that has the false information. Many people try to start with the information source, but this does not preserve your rights. It is a good idea to write to the information source, but it is not required. Do not write the same letter to the information source that goes to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Keep a copy of the credit file, your letter, the certificate of mailing, the return receipt and the response you get from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Your lawyer will need this.
The next phase is is really a repeat of the third phase, with more information-send an affidavit to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, showing that the information is inaccurate, and asking them to correct this information. If the account is incorrect due to ID Theft, you should use the FTC’s ID Theft Affidavit. Again, send this by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. Keep a copy of your letter, the certificate of mailing, the return receipt and the response you get from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
Keep trying, and it is possible that they will correct the inaccurate information.
If they fail to fix the information, you can come see us. Please bring with you all the information, including the credit file disclosures they have sent you, the mailing documents, and the letters you sent.
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Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.
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Richmond, VA 23230