According to Credit Karma, 35% of Americans never check their credit reports since they believe whatever information in them, is valid. Unfortunately, this can prove to be a costly assumption since credit information listed with credit-report agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, is often compromised.
Identity theft, data management errors, unauthorized access, illegitimate accounts and other damaging activities can seep into credit reports, resulting in lowered credit scores. Lowered scores can translate into mortgage loan denials, higher interest rates, and being bypassed for a job or promotion – the consequences can be many, and painful. If your credit reports indicate any suspicious entries or activities, you must take immediate action.
A 2012 report from the Federal Trade Commission tells us that close to 25% of Americans discovered at least one error on at least one of their credit reports. It is wise to obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major CRAs. Go to: www.annualcreditreport.com.
The Dispute Process
Thanks to the Federal Government's Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are offered protection from false, incomplete, or inaccurate information on credit reports. If you believe your credit reports have been compromised, you should take action as quickly as possible, via the dispute process.
CRAs and Credit-Report Disputes
*** Send a dispute letter to the CRA. A sample of this letter can be found in the FORMS and RESOURCES section of my website.
*** The dispute letter must include full identifying information concerning yourself and account details. Include your first, middle and last name as well as account number(s), social security and driver's license numbers, and any appropriate documentation that substantiates your dispute.
*** The dispute letter would need to be sent by certified mail, with 'return receipt requested'.
Another option is to handle your credit-report dispute online. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion allow one to use their websites to initiate a dispute; or you can communicate your disputes by phone or mail. When dealing with a CRA, however, delays should be expected since a credit reporting agency often needs to consult with data furnishers. Data furnishers would, in turn, need time to do their investigations and communicate back to the CRA.
The CRA is required by law to review every document included in the dispute, and they must conduct their own investigation, independent of the furnisher. The CRA cannot merely parrot the furnisher.
In the event you wish to dispute inaccurate information, I prefer that you retain me to dispute the items. I know what to say, what documents to include, the letter is on my letter head, and I send it by certified mail, return, receipt requested.
If you consider the results of a CRA dispute investigation as unacceptable, you could potentially pursue a cause-of-action against the CRA, as outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
If you credit reports indicate questionable activities or false information, call Foley Law today. You will receive a free credit consultation as well as a free credit-report review. If any discrepancies are confirmed, I may be able to dispute them as well as bring a possible suit against the CRAs and/or furnishers.
James Foley PLLC ~ 817-738-1633 ~ Fort Worth, Texas