Credit reports are of growing importance in our day to day lives. A poor credit report can negatively impact your mortgage and other loan rates, your ability to obtain credit, and your employment prospects. Further, improper use of your credit reports by third parties can lead to identity theft.
Credit reports often contain errors that are unknown to the consumer. The consumer first learns of these errors when applying for a job or a loan. At that point, it is often too late to address the errors. The consumer is stuck with a higher interest rate, inability to obtain credit, or job rejection.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) provides protections to consumers for errors on credit reports and improper use of credit reports. The FCRA allows consumers to dispute inaccuracies on their credit reports and, in certain situations, obtain damages from those at fault for the inaccuracies. The FCRA also specifies who can obtain a credit report and how they can be used.
You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every year from each of the “Big Three” credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can obtain your reports from annualcreditreport.com. Viewing your credit report in this manner does not negatively impact your credit score. It is important that you review your credit report before it is too late. I recommend that you review your free reports on a yearly basis and, if you see an error on your report, contact me to see if I can help.