Credit reports are generated by credit bureaus. These bureaus gather information about your credit history, which is essentially the history of you acquiring debt and paying off that debt, and sell it to businesses that are allowed access to your credit report. Credit bureaus get most of their data from creditors but can also be found by searching court records for lawsuits, judgments, bankruptcy filings, and any county records to find legal claims.

What Do Credit Reports Include?

Credit reports include personal data such as names you previously went by, all past and present addresses, your Social Security number, your employment history, marriages, and divorces. Credit data includes the names of your creditors, types and numbers of accounts, when accounts were opened, your payment history, your credit limit or the original amount of a loan, and your current balance(s). The report will also show if an account has collection activity that is disputed.

Is There Anything I Can Do If There Are Mistakes in My Credit Report?

Make a list of everything that appears to be out of date, since the credit bureaus should remove this information from your credit report. Also, identify any other incorrect or misleading information. After identifying all mistakes, complete the "request for reinvestigation" form sent by the credit bureau. You can also send a letter listing each incorrect item explaining exactly what is wrong. Once the request is received, investigation will take place and the bureau will contact you within 30 days.

What If I Do Not Hear Back within 30 Days?

If you do not hear back from the credit bureau within 30 days, you should follow-up with a letter. The bureau is capable of performing a rush investigation if needed. If you are correct, or if the information is no longer verifiable, then the information is to be removed from your report.

What If I Did Not Make Any Progress with the Credit Bureau?

If you were unable to make any progress with the credit bureau, contact the creditor directly and ask that the information be removed by writing to a party who is capable of removing the information. Creditors are not allowed to report information known to be incorrect.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with My Credit Problems?

Dealing with your debts can often be confusing and frustrating. A qualified attorney can help you sort out your financial problems, and offer solutions, including negotiating with your creditors and possibly filing for bankruptcy. A lawyer is familiar with your state’s laws concerning consumer credit and will help to protect your interests. If you feel a credit bureau is wrongfully including information in your report, or you want to explain a particular entry, you have the right to put a brief statement in your report. The credit bureau must give a copy of your statement, or a summary, to anyone who requests your report.