If you want to be on top of your credit, and also avoid wrong accounts on your credit report, then it’s important to check your credit report at least once a year. If you’re planning to apply for a major loan, then you will want to check it more often than usual. If you do discover wrong accounts on your credit report, then handling it immediately is crucial, especially if the account consists of a high balance or a status that is negative. For more information about how to handle the discovery of wrong accounts on your credit report, see this article.
[Read: What to Consider When Looking at Your Credit Report]
How does The Wrong Account make it to Your Credit Report?
Occasionally, the wrong accounts can make its way to your credit report by way of human error. It’s possible that someone could have altered the numbers in your social security numbers by mistake, or maybe someone has a similar name to yours and your credit profiles were reversed. However, there are times that these wrong accounts have ended up on your credit report because of fraud or identity theft. If you have multiple wrong accounts on your credit report, then this is the most likely of the cases.
How to get Rid of Wrong Accounts
Luckily, there’s an easy way to clear your credit card if they contain accounts that do not belong to you. Occasionally, the process will work the first time, but there are times that you may have to repeat or take another route in order to finally clean up your credit report.
What steps should you take to clean wrong accounts off of your credit report?
- Order your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus which are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
- Take note of which bureaus show the wrong accounts and which bureaus do not.
- Dispute the wrong account with the appropriate credit bureaus.
- Send your dispute via (certified) mail so that you create a paper trail (this can benefit you if the credit bureau does not resolve the issue as they should if you need to file a lawsuit in the future).
If you have the proof which supports your claim, then send it by mail, fax or upload. Be sure to send a copy and not your originals. In a perfect world, the credit bureau’s investigation will end in your favor and the wrong account will be wiped from your credit report. If you suspect that your personal information has been stolen, then it may benefit you to add a fraud alert to your credit report. Also note that the thief could open up many different accounts after obtaining your information.
You will also need to contact the company listed on the wrong account on your credit card and dispute the account. It will also benefit you to close the account so that there are no more charges added to it in the future. After the company flags the account as fraudulent, then it will help you to get it removed from your credit report.
What You Should do if the Wrong Account is not Removed
If you’ve disputed the wrong account to the credit bureaus and the business, then it’s most likely because the business confirmed to the credit bureau that the account is in fact yours. If this is the case, then speaking to the business to prove the account is fraudulent is a great step to take. First, have a conversation with the supervisor, manager, vice president or even the president of the company while providing evidence that this wrong account is not yours.
Also, having a conversation with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) may benefit you by getting the wrong account marked as fraudulent and having it wiped off of your credit report. Do not be mistaken; the CFPB cannot make a company take an action that will end in your favor, but having a government agency involved in the process may encourage the credit bureau along with the information provider to take a closer look into this wrong account. Companies who have a history of not doing as they should can face penalties from the CFPB.
[Read: How And When To Check Your Credit Report]
After you’ve followed all the proper procedures, such as disputing a fraudulent account with on your credit report, then you do have the right to sue a credit bureau. Keeping that paper trail of your correspondence with the credit bureau will prove that you have served your due diligence in trying to resolve this matter. If all else fails, get into contact with a consumer rights attorney who practices in your state. Discuss suing the credit bureau for damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
For even more information on how to dispute wrong accounts on your credit report, check out this YouTube video: