Inspect Your Credit Reports: Here's Why

Every year, at my annual Christmas vacation, I undertake a vast array of projects and tasks. One of those has been “check annual credit reports.” The cycle usually ends with me going to annualcreditreport.com, filling out the forms, obtaining my three reports — from Experian, Transunion and Equifax — and then filing the PDFs away without a second thought.
This year, I didn’t get to the task in December, so I kicked the can down the road until July. On the Independence Day break, I grabbed my credit reports. This time, I looked at them in detail. And, frankly, was horrified at the stuff I saw: Errors, weird entries, unusual hard hits.
So, I went through each report, line by line, and identified what was fair and what was foul. I then filed challenges against erroneous information (like addresses I’ve never lived at, phone numbers I haven’t used since the 1990s) and collections accounts on things that I’ve never heard of.
A month later, the results from two agencies are back. And I pretty much had all my challenges upheld. Spurious debt — collections from creditors I’ve never heard of, for amounts that make no sense — have been removed without difficulty.
Amazing how much incorrect info gets added to credit reports. A little bit of knowledge, and a little bit of time spent correcting errors, can go a long way.

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