Thanks to a recently passed law, the FTC has made obtaining full copies of your report DIRECTLY FROM THE BUREAUS, fast, easy and free. Here are a few, fool-proof steps to disputing any erroneous information on your credit report and clearing your name.
- Draft up a signed and dated letter that states your:
a) Full name, address, social security number, date of birth plus
b) mother’s maiden name and previous addresses back to 10-years along with
c) the name(s), date(s) and balances of the account you are disputing
Make three copies of the letter, addressing one to each of the three credit bureaus Equifax(.com), TransUnion(.com) & Experian(.com).
Get to the Post Office early on a Saturday morning and mail each letter certified, return receipt requested. This is a manual, old fashioned way to make your case, but it also an extremely effective way to initiate and register what will probably be a timely procedure (especially for derogatory items).
You can also do this much faster online at AnnualCreditReport.com, but in our experience, nothing beats certified mail.
Whichever you choose, you will begin to receive written responses from the bureaus within 30-days. Your Sole Mission is to have them supply you with WRITTEN PROOF of liability (signature pages) for the items in question. When all else fails, the burden of proof (of financial responsibility) is on the reporting agencies and the creditors they serve.
KEEP A WRITTEN, DATED RECORD OF ANY AND ALL CONTACTS (PHONE INCLUDED) WITH CREDITORS, CREDIT BUREAUS AND THEIR REPRESENTATIVES.
Lastly, definitely DO invest in ID Theft Protection. Ask around and find a satisfied customer before buying into every one you hear about.
We have also had excellent results with a couple of professional credit repair agencies. For a nominal fee (in the $100’s), they handle 2-3 complete rounds of dispute letter writing and response. Drop us a line for more on that.
Perhaps the free version of your credit report doesn’t list the name and account number. If indeed someone has taken credit in your name, it’s now probably worthwhile to buy the report. I buy credit monitoring services from Equifax and all my reports indicate the creditor, account number, and usually a contact phone number.
I work in the information security arena where all we do everyday is try to find more and better ways to protect the personal information our organization collects in an effort to protect privacy and counter identity theft.
ID theft is the fastest growing crime in America and I personally believe the $120 per year to monitor my credit is worth it. The average victim spends more than 100 times that in repair efforts. Best of luck to you.