The Mortgage Man

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5 Ways To Improve Your Credit Score – Lesson 5

Over 40% of all credit reports have some form of inaccurate information on them.  Do you know what yours looks like?

Inaccuracies on credit reports are as old as credit reporting itself.  But, in today’s world, it is much worse than it has ever been in the past.  Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, and the average victim spends 100 hours fixing the problem.  Not only is this incredibly irritating, but it can cost you time from lost work, money from expenses associated with correcting the problem, and it can cost you even more money in interest rates should you decide to do nothing about it.  And the icing on the cake, less than 25% of these crimes are prosecuted.

More than 70% of all identity theft is committed by a family member or trusted “friend”.  I use the term friend loosely because someone that would open credit accounts in your name is a criminal, not a friend.  Even though I believe that these parasites on society should be hung in front of the courthouse, that type of judgment is not going to happen.  Until then, the responsibility is on you to fix it or prevent it.

The first step is to pull a copy of your credit report.  You can do this at AnnualCreditReport.com.  It is free to get access to your credit report once per year through this website, and I highly suggest you do at least that.  In addition, I believe that you should check your credit every 6 months.  For the second report that you will have to pay for, I recommend going to FreeCreditReport.com.  While this service is not completely free as the web address might imply, they will give you a copy of your credit report if you sign up for their credit monitoring service.  If you are not satisfied, you can cancel at any time.

Once you have pulled your credit report, go through each section line by line to search for inaccuracies.  This could be as simple as a misspelled address, or as complicated as identity theft.  Once you have identified the information that needs to be corrected, compile a letter to each credit reporting agency (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) describing the items that need corrected and send them to the bureaus by certified mail to confirm that they received them.  You can get a sample credit dispute letter by doing a google search for “credit dispute letter”.  There are hundreds available online, just choose one that fits your needs.

There are also a number of identity theft protection services.  But. by far the best one is LifeLock.  They offer a $1 million guarantee to protect your identity, and fix the problems up to $1 million if someone gets through on your identity.  They also work extensively with law enforcement to prosecute the offenders (that’s my favorite part).

I hope you have found this series of blogs to be informative and helpful.  I will be adding more useful information next week.


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1 Comment»

[…] Lesson 5 – Credit Disputes […]


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