Know what’s in your Credit Report!
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently disclosed the results of a study of the U.S. credit reporting industry. What they found will astonish you, but mostly open your eyes to what you can do.  For example, did you know …

  • 5% of US consumers have errors on one of their 3 major credit reports?
  • One in four consumers identified errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores? AND,
  • One in five consumers had an error that was corrected by a credit reporting agency (CRA) after it was disputed, on at least one of their three credit reports?
  • Four out of five consumers who filed disputes experienced some modification to their credit report?
  • Slightly more than one in 10 consumers saw a change in their credit score after the CRAs modified errors on their credit report? And,
  • Approximately one in 20 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 25 points and only one in 250 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 100 points?

“These are eye-opening numbers for American consumers,” said Howard Shelanski, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics.  “The results of this first-of-its-kind study make it clear that consumers should check their credit reports regularly.  If they don’t, they are potentially putting their pocketbooks at risk.”
Your credit report includes personal information about your financial history.  Information that can severely impact your ability to get insurance, buy a home or a car, get a loan, or a credit card. The first action you should take is get a copy of your credit report today.  While there are many companies that advertise on television that you can get your credit report –for a fee, the really good news for you, as a consumer is that you can get your credit report for free from www.annualcreditreport.com.  If you find an error, they will help you fix it.
Congress directed the FTC to conduct a study of credit report accuracy and provide interim reports every two years, starting in 2004 and continuing through 2012, with a final report in 2014.  The reports are being produced under Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACT Act.
Information for Consumers
The FTC has a wide range of general information for consumers on credit reporting issues, including Free Credit ReportsDisputing Errors on Credit Reports, and Your Source for a Truly Free Credit Report? AnnualCreditReport.com, as well as a new consumer blog posted titled It Pays to Check Your Credit Report.
It also has information available on how credit scores affect the price of credit and insurance andwhat consumers need to know about their credit reports when looking for a job.  Finally, the FTC has a video for consumers on how to get a free credit report.  

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups.

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