Once a year you are allowed to receive your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies for free. Your credit report is what so many industries use these days to try and identify your character and decide how trustworthy you are. Many people think this is only important when it comes to credit cards and loans but it can actually impact many more areas of your life
such as insurance rates, apartment applications, cell phone services, and even applying for a job. It is essential that you pull your credit report from all three bureaus every year to check for errors. You can either pull all three at once every year or split it up to pull one every four months and just continue to cycle through.
To receive your free credit report, visit AnnualCreditReport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or send a request to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Once you have pulled your report you want to check it over for any false information. This can be accounts on file that you never opened, outstanding balances that you know you paid long ago, or other unusual activity. Don't be overwhelmed with the information. Although you may have never seen one before you should still be familiar with what accounts you have and how much you owe.
If you find any disputes, then you need to contact both the credit bureaus and the company that reported the problem requesting validation of the report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the companies are required to conduct an investigation.
Here is a sample letter from the Federal Trade Commission's website:
Your Address, City, State, Zip Code
Name of Company
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. I have circled the items I dispute on the attached copy of the report I received.
This item (identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.) is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be removed (or request another specific change) to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records and court documents) supporting my position. Please reinvestigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.
Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing.)