If you have issues showing on your credit report you can often get them removed by employing credit repair. Credit repair is useful to eliminate many problems from inaccurate or erroneous listings to information that is fraudulent from identity theft. Any information that is questionable can be disputed to see if it can be removed.
However, if you have listings on your report that do not belong to you it is not necessarily the result of identity theft. Many of these listings are just the result of human error.
Credit bureaus use a complex program to determine what will go on your credit report. This program uses a matching criteria algorithm but because human error happens with such things as data entry mistakes, it is designed to allow a small number of mismatches.
If your name is common you may get other peoples information on your record frequently and if there is just a small difference in your social security number you may also get erroneous information. You can see that these kinds of mistakes are common.
These mistakes are called file merger errors and it is actually quite simple to repair.
First you must verify that it is actually a file merger error and not the result of identity theft. Call the creditor and see if they have a record of the account. If they do you it could very well be identity theft but if they don?t you can assume that it is a file merger error.
In the case of a file merger error, you need to issue a dispute. Explain in detail how the incorrect account does not belong to you. At the same time make sure that you ask them to block the other person?s accounts from your record. The credit bureaus will then have their customary 30 days to verify the accuracy of the information or remove it from your report.
What if it’s identity theft?
If it turns out to be identity theft you will need to contact the police. Also make sure that you request the credit bureaus to block the accounts. You will need to provide a detailed police report along with a signed statement about how the accounts are fraudulent.
To be on top of potential identity theft especially if you are worried that it could happen to you, you can always put a fraud alert on your credit report. This is a statement that requests that a lender contact you separately before issuing any credit. This is not a guarantee as some lenders may just ignore it but it is a proactive approach that you can take beforehand.
Unfortunately, identity theft is a problem that is growing. Protect your identity online and out in the real world. Another possibility is a credit monitoring service that will notify you any time a change is made to your credit report.
Image via Flickr by Kaiyan