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Keeping the Credit Report Accurate

By Faye Mergel
Published: Monday, September 7th, 2009

dentity theft is one main reason why credit specialists encourage consumers to pull out credit or financial reports regularly. There are people who use the Social Security number in making credit transactions. A law-abiding consumer or person will just one day be surprised that a creditor is harassing him for payment. Unfortunately, these fraudulent transactions show up on the credit report of consumers as if they were their own.

Keeping the Credit Report Accurate An even sadder truth is that, most of the time, people who steal identity from responsible consumers are in some way related to them.
Bankrate.com, a finance website run by Bankrate, Inc., says that 70% of credit reports contain serious errors. These errors can well ruin the credit standing of consumers. The good thing is that these errors can be corrected. A consumer has the right to dispute questionable items on his credit report and correct these errors.

The first thing that a consumer should do is retrieve a copy of his credit report. He can do this online. This service is free and not a single cent should be spared on this. Once he gets his credit report, a person should check which items are his and which are not. There might be other fraudulent transactions which must be disputed.

If a consumer is sure that an item is not his, he must notify the credit bureau and collection agency (company asking for payment) about this error. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives every person the right to ask collecting agencies to prove that he really owes them money.  A proof of debt can settle this, which a consumer can demand from the company.

Credit lawyers advise consumers to use certified mail when communicating with a collections company. Disputing consumers should also demand replies through mail. Fraud charges sent via mail are easier to identify and provide solid evidences in a dispute.

During this period when a bill or any transaction is in dispute, collectors must stop any collection activity. If he does not, a consumer can sue him according to guidelines provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC tells consumers not to hesitate in asking credit bureaus in correcting inaccuracies or misrepresentations. The law obliges credit organizations to correct inaccurate or incomplete information in a credit report.

For guidelines on how to write a letter of dispute, consumers are advised to go to the official website of the Federal Trade Commission. The Commission encourages consumers to protect themselves against fraud and unfair business practices.

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