The best way to dispute credit report errors is to obtain proof that the account is an error. We will cover below specifics about exactly what you need to do but first we need to identity the most common credit report errors. Generally, there are three types of credit report errors: identity errors, account status inaccuracies, and data management mistakes.
Identity errors are mistakes in your identification portion of your report. This could be a misspelling of your name, showing an address you have never lived at or having phone numbers listed that you have never used. These types of errors are harmless and generally do not have any negative effect, so you need not be concerned with them. The only exception to this would be if you are the victim of identity theft. If you are then file a police report and fill out an ID theft affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission. The link is here https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0094-identity-theft-affidavit.pdf . The affidavit and report need to highlight the specific accounts that are not yours. You can also include a copy of your driver's license or utility bills showing these accounts do not belong to you.
The next time of error that is the most damaging is a data management errors. This is where a credit bureau either adds accounts that are not yours to your report or keep reinserting an account that has previously been deleted. Generally, police reports and ID theft affidavits will not work to dispute this, so you need to obtain proof either that the accounts should not be reporting or do not belong to you. The proof could be copies of bills, banking statements or a copy of your ID. Sometimes the derogatory account that is showing will provide you proof that it is not yours account. If not, you can file a fraud dispute with that company reporting and mail the dispute off to them.
The last and most common credit report errors are account status mistakes. You need a valid dispute for an account status error in order to dispute it. If you got behind on your bills and now feel you do not owe it, will not work. Types of errors that are common are improper dates, payment history and balance. For example, this could be an account showing as a late payment whereby you actually paid, the account listed is over seven (7) years old and should not be reporting or the balance reporting is higher then what you owe. Copies of bank statements, paid receipts, old bills and credit card payments are one way to show the account is inaccurate. The other way to prove an inaccuracy is to contact the company reporting and see what they are willing to provide. Often times they will provide contradictory records then what is reporting.
Once you have identified the credit reporting error and obtained written proof of the inaccuracy you need to write a well written dispute letter to the credit bureau explaining what accounts are inaccurate, why and to include the necessary written proof of the mistake. Mail a copy of this dispute to the credit bureaus and account holders via tracking and make sure to save copies of everything. The bureaus will respond within thirty (30) days. If the account is not fixed, you have a case. Contact us at Cook Law for a free consultation or for any questions.