With the economic challenges of the last year many people saw their credit take a hit, but some consumers are finding mistakes on their credit report are only making matters worse.
In so many ways your credit score can make or break you. You need a positive credit score to rent or own property, apply for a credit card, or even get a job in some fields. So you need to make sure there aren't mistakes in that credit report.
Complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about credit report errors have reached record levels, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy and policy organization.
The Federal Trade Commission investigated the issue in 2012 and found one in four people had a mistake on their credit report and experts say during the pandemic things only got worse.
"The credit became a problem. It always boiled back down to the credit. Like 80% of people in the United States have something that's inaccurate on their credit report," said Bree Austin-Roberts of Lakershore Credit Management & Repair Services.
Austin-Roberts became a credit expert and now runs her own company after she was forced to personally navigate major challenges with her credit that almost resulted in homelessness.
"I have been there before and it doesn't take much to end up right back there again if you're not budgeting well, if you're not being credit conscious," said Austin-Roberts. "What kind of accounts do you have? How old are your accounts? How much credit are you applying for? How many inquiries are you getting within a 12-month period? You really shouldn't get more than two."
Some of the most common credit report errors highlighted by Consumer Reports include:
- Issues related to COVID-19 deferred payments
- Accounts or loans that have been paid off, but still appear as unpaid, or have been sent to collections
- Individual loans reported multiple times
- Mixed up files, when information from someone with a similar name or social security number is reported as yours
For now, the surest way to quickly catch bad information on your report is to check it frequently.
Here are some useful links to help you learn more about your credit:
To connect with Bree Austin-Roberts for help visit https://www.lakeshorefinancialsolutions.com/
Visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action to request a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. The agencies are providing free weekly online reports through April 2021.