To help ease consumer concern during the Coronavirus pandemic, the three major credit-reporting companies are providing free weekly credit reports through April 2021. It’s an opportunity to review your report more often to make sure the information is correct, complete, and current.
Scams tend to increase during crises such as the Coronavirus pandemic, so it may be wise to take advantage of these free reports. If you have worked with your financial institution to defer loan or credit card payments, these accounts should still appear in good standing on your credit report. You’ll also want to check it frequently if you have been the victim of identity theft, you plan to apply for a loan for a major purchase such as a house or vehicle, or you are applying for jobs.
Request your credit report from the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—by going to AnnualCreditReport.com.
What to Watch For
Review your credit report carefully for any inaccurate or false information, such as:
- A misspelled name, outdated phone number or address, or a wrong employer. You might also see your information mixed with another consumer’s, which can occur if you have the same or similar names.
- New accounts in your name that you didn’t open or addresses you’ve never lived at attributed to you. These are signs of identity theft.
- Incorrect account balances or credit limits.
- The same debt listed more than once, or an account listed more than once with different creditors.
- Closed accounts reported as still open or accounts incorrectly listed as late or delinquent. Make sure past delinquencies that have been resolved are not still showing as unpaid.
It’s important to correct errors on your credit report immediately. An inaccurate report could affect your ability to get a job or a loan. To dispute information on your credit report:
- Send a letter to the credit reporting company requesting that the inaccurate information be corrected or removed. List each item you dispute and why, and include copies of supporting documents. You may want to include a copy of your credit report with the letter. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.
- If the error is related to a specific account, send a dispute letter to the company that provided the incorrect information to the credit bureau, for example a bank or credit card company.
Both credit reporting companies and information providers must investigate your dispute, usually within 30 days. Once the investigation is complete, the credit reporting company must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if it is updated. The information provider is required to notify all three credit bureaus of any corrections. You may also request the credit reporting company to send updated information to anyone who received your report in the past six months.
It may take time for updates to appear on your credit report. If you don’t see a change within a few months, contact the credit reporting company.