Credit Repair Cloud
Now that we have a basic understanding of credit, let’s talk a little bit about what to look for when analyzing a credit report. We’re talking about all the most common issues you may find on your credit.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your personal credit report or if it’s for a friend, family member or for a client, everyone has the right to dispute anything that is questionable.
When I say “questionable – that includes:
- Any item you do not feel it’s 100% factually correct.
Inaccurate could mean…
- Errors, Mistakes and Duplicate Accounts
- Excessive Inquiries
- Conflicting personal information, like a misspelled name, the wrong date of birth..
- Mixed Credit Files (where your father with the same name is mixed with yours, or maybe even a stranger with the same name is mixed up on your credit file…)
- Or of course there may be Identity theft or Fraud or where someone opened an account using your identity.
- These are all questionable!
You also have the right to remove anything which is outdated. When I say outdated, I’m talking about the length of time the account or negative item has been on your report. There are different rules for how long negative information can appear based on several factors. I’ll teach you all those rules in the next lesson, for now let’s learn how to analyze and find all the problems!
How to Find the Errors
Let’s talk about how to find the errors on a credit report. It’s pretty easy to spot them when you know what to look for. If you have a copy of a credit report, now would be a great time to print it out and follow along as I go through all the different sections of the report.
Depending on the source of the credit report, the format may look different, but all credit reports have the same general 4 sections:
- Identifying Information
- Public Records
- Credit History
Let’s take a look at the “Identifying Information” section, also known as “Personal Information”.
This area will list your name, social, current and previous address, telephone number, date of birth, current and previous employers and sometimes your spouse’s name. It may even list your phone number.
Where do the credit bureaus get this information? Well, whenever you apply for credit, or an employer pulls your credit, or anyone else for that matter – they must input identifying information about you and that information becomes part of your credit file. Human error is one of the main reasons why this information may be wrong.
Accurate personal information is important for a few reasons.
- You don’t want to be confused with someone else, their bad credit may show up on your report as a mixed credit file.
- Lenders check it and if your personal information doesn’t match up with what you wrote on your application, it can be a red flag and grounds for denial.
- Employers may pull your credit, even insurance companies often check your credit.
Here are some things you can look for in the personal information section:
- Look for any incorrect or incomplete name listed. If you see your name is misspelled – circle it!
- Check your current address – then check to make sure your prior addresses are correct and complete. If not, circle them!
- Make sure your Social Security number and date of birth is accurate.
- Your employment information is important because employers will often check it to make sure your resume is not misleading… Look for incorrect, missing, or outdated employment information.
- Believe it or not, but sometimes you could be mistakenly identified as “deceased”. This happens if a creditor reports an account as associated with a deceased individual or if your Social Security Number was reported as deceased. If you are accidentally listed as deceased, you won’t be able to get a bank account, renew your driver’s license, get health insurance, find an apartment, or participate in many other every day activities.
Next, look at the Public Records section of your report. This section should include any court filings like bankruptcies, judgments, liens, lawsuits and foreclosures and have a serious impact on your report. Just like any other item on your credit report, there may be errors.
This is what you should be looking for:
- Do you see any lawsuits appearing that you were not involved in.
- You may see a bankruptcy filed by a spouse or ex-spouse, even though you did not file bankruptcy.
- If you filed bankruptcy over 10 years ago, they shouldn’t be there.
- Sometimes you may see a bankruptcy which is not identified by the specific chapter of the bankruptcy code, that is grounds for removal.
- Look for lawsuits or judgments older than seven years after the judgment was entered, or after the statute of limitations expired. (I’ll go more in depth about how long items can stay on your report in the next lesson.)
- For example tax liens you paid more than seven years ago, or criminal arrest records more than seven years old shouldn’t be appearing.
There are rules for how long information can stay on your report – don’t worry I’ll go over all of this and I’ll even give you some cheat sheets to print out – so make sure you are downloading all the documents I attach to each lesson!
Ok, here’s the big kahuna! Credit History! This is where the most egregious inaccuracies appear. Mainly because this is where all your accounts, late payments and collections are listed.
This is what you need to look for:
- First, keep an eye out for any clerical errors or mistakes. They can impact your score big time.
- Carefully review your accounts. Make sure all loan and credit types are labeled correctly.
- You want to look at each balance. Your balances determine your credit utilization ratio which is a measure of how much credit you’re using versus how much is available to you. If the credit bureau doesn’t have the most accurate information on how much you owe and what your credit lines are, your credit utilization ratio could appear to be much higher than it actually is. It’s a common error.
- Next – look at the status dates. The status date on each account is critically important because that date determines how long items can stay on your credit report. —- The status date is either the date of last activity – whether you opened the account, or if you made a payment – that’s when the clock starts ticking.
- Creditors and debt collectors are notorious for falsely renewing status dates to keep the item on your credit report for a longer period of time, so take a good look at each status date to be sure they are correct! In the next lesson, I am going to give you a downloadable cheat sheet that will tell you how long items can stay on your report.
- You may see you have a mixed credit file – meaning you have accounts or history for someone with a similar or the same name, they call these “Commingled accounts” – but also be aware it that if you see an account that doesn’t belong to you, there is a good chance it’s actually fraud so be on the lookout for identity theft or accounts that don’t belong to you.
- So another mistake that doesn’t happen that often, but it is still possible are an account that belongs to your spouse. You may see an account listed as joint, when only your spouse should be responsible for the account, but your listed as “joint”. Also, sometimes premarital debts show up, so if your husband or wife had an account prior to your marriage that you never agreed to, that may be something you want to remove.
- Incorrect account histories—such as a late payment when you’ve paid on time. Or maybe were only 30 days late, but you are being reported as 90 days late. When you see this, circle it!
- Something I see all the time is post bankruptcy balances. Creditors make the mistake of not reporting zero balances for debts that were discharged, you should definitely dispute them.
- Also, look for accounts that incorrectly list you as a cosigner.
- Look for closed accounts incorrectly listed as open (it might look as if you have too much open credit).
- Sometimes you can find late payments that do not include the date of the delinquency. This would be considered incomplete and is grounds for removal.
- Sometimes creditors will sell your past due account to a collection agency so you may find a delinquent account that does not show that the account was turned over to a collection agency, when it actually was – so the collection agency account line looks like another overdue account.
- If you see overdue child support that is more than seven years old, circle it.
- Just double check and make sure you are circling anything that is inaccurate, outdated or questionable.
Last, look closely at the “Inquiries Section”
- As I explained in lesson #1, inquiries stay on your report for 2 years. Soft inquiries don’t impact your credit and cant be seen by anyone but you. Hard inquiries do hurt your score so look for any inquiries that are over 2 years old and get them removed.
- The next thing I want you to look for is inquiries that you don’t recognize. Circle them, because if you didn’t give your permission, that is grounds to get them deleted.
- Next, look for “excessive inquiries” …. What I mean by “excessive” is when you see inquiries that appear more than once – even though you only applied once.
- Car dealerships are notorious for this. You apply for a car loan and they shop the loan with several or MANY banks. This results in numerous inquiries and can drag your score down.
The biggest takeaway from this lesson should be that credit reports are typically chock full of errors and you have the right to challenge anything you feel is inaccurate, outdated, duplicated, not yours or questionable in any way shape or form.
In the next lesson, I’m going to show you how to use consumer laws to remove these issues from your credit reports – so buckle up!
Please take a few minutes to read the text on this lesson, then move on to the quiz – Your going to love what comes comes next!
End of Lesson 2
Please proceed to http://veyore.com/Lesson3