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Pulling Back the Curtain On Your Credit Report
Posted By Ron On January 5, 2010 @ 5:00 AM In Credit,Personal Finance | Comments Disabled
To get a free credit report, simply go to www.annualcreditreport,com . There, you can request a copy of your credit file from each of the three agencies that maintain credit reporting data on consumers like you and me.
Here’s a hint: Since you can get a copy of your consumer credit report from each of these agencies one time each year, set up a reminder system to get a copy from one of them every four months. This gives you the ability to keep tabs on your credit more evenly throughout the year.
Okay, now that you’ve gotten your copy, what next?
Review your credit report carefully when you receive it. Why?
Although each of the three credit reporting agencies uses a slightly different format, all credit reports contain the same four main types of information:
The identifying information in your report comes primarily from your past credit and loan applications. This section will generally include the following data:
The credit history is the most important section of your credit file. It lists every credit account opened in your name. Each listing contains the following information:
Note: not all creditors report to all credit bureaus, so it’s possible that some of your accounts will appear on one credit bureau’s report but not on another’s.
The credit inquiries section lists the names of any creditors or others who have reviewed your credit report during the last two years. Only credit inquiries made by prospective creditors or employers, called hard inquiries, are reported to businesses that review your credit file.
Some inquiries that are not reported to businesses will nonetheless appear when you request your own credit reports. These include:
The public information section includes matters of public record, such as:
The credit reporting industry collects billions of pieces of credit history information every month, so errors and outdated information do occasionally show up. Look over every part of your report carefully and highlight any errors you find. If you find an error in a report from one credit bureau, make sure to check the others for the same error, since you’ll have to correct each error in each report. In particular, look for the following:
In some cases, a mistake on your credit reports may not be the result of simple human error but is actually a red flag for identity theft. The most common credit report errors stemming from identity theft are:
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, you must act immediately to protect your finances and your credit. File your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission  and with your local police department. You will also need to contact your creditors with information that you may be a victim. The FTC has published a great letter you can send (Identity Theft Victim’s Complaint and Affidavit ).
Make certain any communications you initiate with the credit bureaus is done via certified mail, return receipt requested. Doing so will allow you to have proof of your communication. Make copies of everything you send for your files.
Send a polite letter to the credit reporting agency outlining the error and requesting that they verify the information you have in your records.
Credit reporting agencies get thousands of pieces of mail every day. Give them several weeks to respond to your request for information verification. Credit bureaus will generally respond to you within 30 days. They will contact the creditor in question, asking them to verify the information they reported, then the credit bureau will have to check their records and respond to you. It takes time, but if you haven’t heard anything in a few weeks, be sure and follow up.
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 www.annualcreditreport,com: http://www.annualcreditreport.com
 Equifax: http://www.thewisdomjournal.com/Blog/go/equifax.php/
 my identity was stolen: http://www.thewisdomjournal.com/Blog/my-identity-was-stolen/
 monitoring my credit: http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2864384-10431593
 Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/
 Identity Theft Victim’s Complaint and Affidavit: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf
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