Your credit report contains information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. Review your credit report as it affects how much you will have to pay to borrow money, get a loan for a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion must provide you a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. They have set up one website, toll-free number, and mailing address to order your free annual report. Do not contact the three consumer reporting companies individually. Visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com, call 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.
Order your three reports at the same time or individually at different times. Provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. Each consumer reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know.
You’re also entitled to a free report if denied credit, insurance, or employment. You must ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company.
You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
Otherwise, a consumer reporting company may charge you up to $9.50 for another copy of your report within a 12 month period. To buy a copy of your report, contact:
How do you correct errors? Tell the consumer reporting company, in writing, what information is wrong.
Include copies (NOT originals) of supporting documents. Provide your complete name and address, each item you dispute with reasons why, and request that it be removed or corrected. Enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested.” Keep copies of all documents.
Consumer reporting companies must investigate within 30 days—unless they consider your dispute frivolous? When completed, the consumer reporting company must give you the results in writing, and a free copy of your report, if the dispute results in a change.
The consumer reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider. If you ask, the consumer reporting company must send notices of any corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months, or potential employers during the past two years.
Some travel, entertainment, gasoline card companies, local retailers, and credit unions may not supply information to consumer reporting companies. A consumer reporting company can report “most” accurate negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years.
Information about an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. There is no time limit on criminal convictions, an application for a job paying more than $75,000 a year; and when applying for $150,000 of credit or life insurance.
The seven-year reporting period generally runs from the date that the event took place.
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