Earlier this week, various news outlets reported that an Oregon woman who discovered huge errors in her Equifax credit report was awarded over $18 million in damages after disputing the errors eight times over two years. According to the Oregonian, the woman’s credit report included an incorrect Social Security number and birth date on her credit report, leaving her susceptible to major damage to her credit history.
CBS News reports that 1-in-4 consumers have an error on their credit report, and that 1-in-20 errors cause damage to credit scores of up to 25 points. That number can make or break a person’s credit.
This woman’s story highlights the importance of regularly checking your credit report. You can get your credit report for free once a year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can also get your credit score from the credit reporting bureaus for around $10.
Tips for monitoring your credit report:
- Stagger the reports. Pull your report from one of the credit reporting bureaus once every four months. For example, pull your Equifax report in January, TransUnion in May, and Experian in September. This will give you a good picture of your financial health throughout the year.
- Check the reports against each other. Compare the information provided by each credit reporting bureau. Not all creditors report their information to all three bureaus, so the information provided by each bureau will be different.
- Take the time to look for errors. Check the accuracy for all lines of credit that show up in your report. Scrutinize account numbers, payment histories, and balances.
- Make the call. If you notice an error, contact your creditors and the credit bureau to dispute the mistake. Be prepared to fill out paperwork to prove that the information is incorrect. Ask for replacement cards, new account numbers, and passwords for all your legitimate accounts to prevent identity thieves from further accessing your cash and credit. Also request that your credit report be flagged with a fraud alert, and ask that creditors contact you at your phone number to verify all future applications.
Call the fraud departments of the three major credit reporting agencies listed below.
For more information on surviving identity theft, click here.
IRS Scam Alert: Don’t Be Tricked into Paying Debts You Don’t Really Owe posted on Oct 3
Recently, the Hotline received three calls about this scam in just one week, so it is important for consumers to know how it works and how to avoid being scammed.
Massachusetts Health Insurers Now Required to Provide Prices in Real-Time posted on Oct 1
Starting October 1, health insurance companies in Massachusetts must provide online cost estimator tools for their members to compare the price and out-of-pocket costs of certain healthcare services, procedures, or hospital admissions.
Can’t pay your phone bill? Stay connected with telephone assistance posted on Sep 10
Staying connected to local resources and emergency services can improve and possibly save many lives, say state regulators. Access to local emergency services and community resources is vital to our low-income and elderly residents. The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable (DTC) wants residents to …Continue Reading Can’t pay your phone bill? Stay connected with telephone assistance