“To err is human, to forgive divine.” Unfortunately, when it comes to errors in your credit report, you will have to do more than forgive. You will have to take concrete steps to correct it lest you suffer the consequences which can range anywhere from a lowered credit score to outright denial of various types of loans and mortgage applications. You might even risk losing a job.
Discrepancies in credit reports are actually a common occurrence. In fact, a study done by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group reveals that one in four credit reports contain errors that seriously affect the individual’s credit rating. In this day and age of objective accuracy brought about by technological advancements, one usually wonders why such errors still occur. Unfortunately, these discrepancies are not merely comprised of honest mistakes and for the unscrupulous but knowledgeable thief, technology itself has given a lot of avenues to take advantage of the unsuspecting victim.
Discrepancies found in a credit report can usually be traced to human error when putting in data. This usually happens in cases of individuals having similar names and the information of one ends up in the records of the other. This becomes especially damaging when negative public information like tax liens and judgments that should belong to someone else gets transferred to the other debtor’s file.
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Furnishers of information like banks or department stores may also contribute to errors in credit reports by failing to report accurate demographic information which can cause delinquencies to appear in an individual’s credit report. Even credit bureaus can contribute to the problem when they suffer from technological glitches that can cause a debtor’s record of good credit to get lost in the system. They might not also have the technology to purge old information (e.g. old debts which have already been paid), causing it to appear again in the credit report.
Identity theft is another, more sinister cause of errors in credit reports. In this case, the thief somehow got hold of a person’s credit information and was able to obtain credit in the debtor’s name. This is a growing crime in the United States that has victimized more than 11 million adults in 2010.
Whether it’s a case of mistaken identity or identity theft, the truth of the matter is that no one else can determine if an entry in your credit report is erroneous or not except you. Vigilance, then, should be your buzzword.
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