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Credit Reporting Errors Increase Dramatically During Corona Virus

US Public Interest Group, or PIRG, is reporting a huge increase in complaints about errors in credit reporting for the period of March to July, 2020.

"For the fifth consecutive month, consumer complaints to the CFPB set a new monthly complaint volume record in July, according to an analysis by U.S. PIRG and the Frontier Group. This snapshot focuses on spikes in complaints about credit reporting. While credit reporting complaints have always been among the leading complaint categories, during the pandemic the total number of credit reporting complaints has surged by 86 percent. As a percentage of overall complaints, they accounted for 65 percent in July, compared to 54 percent in February." *

Have you checked your credit report lately? You can do so free by clicking on this link:

 http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ 

You can follow the instructions provided by the Federal Trade Commission to access your FREE credit report annually from Experian and TransUnion and more frequently through 2026 from Equifax, based on a settlement from their massive release of consumer data:

Q: How do I order my free report?

The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.

To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228. Or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228 or mailing to Annual Credit Report Request Service.

You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.

UPDATE: Starting in 2020, everyone in the U.S. can get 6 free credit reports per year through 2026 by visiting the Equifax website or by calling 1-866-349-5191. That's in addition to the one free Equifax report (plus your Experian and TransUnion reports) you can get atAnnualCreditReport.com.

 

Why you should order a free credit report 

Studies show that up to one half of all credit reports contain false information. These errors are not limited solely to the names of your creditors, the amounts you owe, the current (or not current) status of your account. Other errors include wrong address or employment information for you. These errors can be a result of an identity theft attempt, or sloppy data gathering by the Credit Reporting Agency or bad information being supplied by one of your creditors. Regardless of the cause, these errors can damage your credit score, and cost you higher interest rates, higher insurance premiums and might even cost you a job or a promotion. 

 

What you should do if you find an error on your credit report

Not surprisingly, creditors and credit reporting agencies have thrown up a few barriers to protect themselves from being sued for providing inaccurate information about you. The burden is on you to notify them of the errors they made in the credit report they compile about you. 

You should carefully review your credit report, starting with the names and addresses being reported. Look at the address information also. Circle any inaccurate information even including the spelling of your name or street address. (and every other inaccurate piece of information about you). Trust us, what you do not report as inaccurate can be used against you. 

Next, go to each account ("trade line" in industry speak) and examine each entry. Do they have the correct account balance, date of opening, account status and most importantly, your payment history? If not, circle the inaccurate information.

After you have noted each inaccurate entry, write a letter and explain the errors. Provide documentation, such as a utility bill to correct an improper address, or an account statement if there is an inaccurate entry on a trade line. 

Your letter should be clear, provide back up documentation and needs to be based on facts without threats or bluster. It must be truthful. Note in the letter exactly what proof you are attaching. Keep a copy of everything you send. Send you letter by priority mail with a tracking number or by certified mail, return receipt requested. The burden is on you to prove that the credit bureau received your dispute letter. If you have a dispute with a specific account, send a copy of the letter to that creditor and include all of the same records. Note that you send a copy to the creditor on the bottom of your letter. 

Do not hire or pay ANYONE who advertises "CREDIT REPAIR." It is unlawful to promise results to repair your credit and to take payment up front, before the errors are corrected. Many of these scam businesses will send an over broad dispute letter to the credit bureaus.

What you should do if your credit report still contains errors

Generally, the credit reporting agency has thirty days to respond in writing to your dispute. Carefully check their work and if you disagree with their investigation, you can contact our firm for a free case review. You are also free to call us with any questions as you go through the process of checking your credit report. 

Your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act includes the right to claim actual damages for harm you suffered, punitive damages if the evidence warrants, a statutory penalty and to recover attorney fees. You are welcome to a free case review from our firm and we offer contingent fees on most cases where we can offer representation. 

*https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/analysis-cfpb-complaints-surge-during-pandemic-led-credit-report-complaints 

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