Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dang Credit Report: How to Read It!

Since our show Smart 'n Savvy: Identity Theft, I have been ivestigating these darn credit reports that we are supposed to get three times a year.  They are a bit overwhelming and boy, do they bring back the memories ... geesh!

I found these tips on Equifax.com for actually reading and understanding it, so you can act quickly to address any potential issues.  Here are some easy tips for what to review once you get your credit report in your hands:
  1. Make sure all personal information is accurate and up-to-date.
  2. Examine your credit summary and account information. Be sure you recognize all listed accounts and the status of each. If you don't recognize the name, contact the lender as sometimes the name on the credit report may not match the name you are familiar with.
  3. Check to see how long any derogatory information has been on your credit file. In general, negative information that is more than seven years old should be removed (ten years for bankruptcies).
  4. Look for inquiries, collections and public records entries to make sure that you recognize them.
  5. Dispute inaccurate information as soon as it shows up. Be certain to keep accurate records of all disputes and investigations.  
Find an error on your report?  Equifax has made it easy for customers to enter an online dispute in a few simple steps through a convenient link from the Member Center.  Locate and click on the “Dispute File Information” link to view an interactive version of your report.  If you already have your Equifax Report Confirmation number, you may also initiate an online dispute at www.investigate.equifax.com.  If an error is on another credit bureau's report, you will need to contact them directly:  Experian and TransUnion.

As we learned in our show with Equifax's President of Personal Information Solutions, identity theft is a growing problem and an often invisible crime.  Say NO to financial havoc now! Be informed, keep your personal information up-to-date and accurate, so you're not the next victim.

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