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Disputing your credit report to protect your credit score

By Ruth Racey
Published: Sunday, September 20th, 2009

It is not unusual for people to dispute the validity of their credit scores. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act contained in 15 United States Code Section 1681, there are three conditions in which you can dispute credit scores issued by credit bureaus. These three conditions would be if the information used in the report is obsolete, the information is inaccurate, and the information is not yours.

The Act states some information may be too old to be included in the computation of a person’s credit score. Information about bankruptcy, tax liens more than 10 years ago, records of arrest, judgments, civil suits, unpaid debts more than seven years ago are some of the information that are considered irrelevant to the computation of a credit report. When information in your report falls under any of these categories, you have every right to dispute the credit report of the issuing bureau.

Inaccurate entries in your report are also valid reasons to demand re-assessment of credit scores. Erroneous information about payments and other data in your credit history are some errors that contribute to poor credit scores. Information belonging to a relative or somebody else may have been inadvertently included in your files. You have to be ready to present documentary evidence to prove that indeed the bureau has committed a mistake.

The most frustrating scenario is for your identity to be used by others. With computer hackers, this is not an uncommon occurrence. In fact there are lots of cases of identity stealing which have resulted to people accumulating mountains of debts without their knowledge. Your report will include entries that you know absolutely nothing about. Under the Act you are entitled to dispute any information included in each report and demand re-computation of your credit score.

When filing for disputes in your credit report, you can contact the agency that issued the report, and identify items that you want to question and why. Another way is to write the agency directly with all details of your dispute including obsolete, inaccurate information on your report or the fact that another person has stolen your identity and used the stolen information to enter into financial transactions.

Once the dispute is received by the reporting agency, it is obligated by law to conduct proper investigation without charging you anything. A resolution to the dispute must be provided within 30 days after your submission. Should it be proven that the report actually contains inaccurate entries or information not relating to you; the agency has to correct it immediately.

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