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Ramon Bogdanov
Ramon Bogdanov

Think Credit Report

The difference between reporting ID theft online or phone is if you receive an ID theft report. An ID theft report helps you prove to businesses that someone stole your identity. This report helps you fix problems caused by the identity theft.

think credit report

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Credit Reporting Agencies - Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert or freeze on your credit report. Also get copies of your credit reports, to be sure that no one has already tried to get unauthorized credit accounts with your personal information. Confirm that the credit reporting agency will alert the other two credit reporting agencies.

Credit reports list your bill payment history, loans, current debt, and other financial information. They show where you work and live and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy.

Credit reports help lenders decide if they'll give you credit or approve a loan. The reports also help determine what interest rate they will charge you. Employers, insurers, and rental property owners may also look at your credit report. You won't know which credit report a creditor or employer will use to check your credit.

Credit reporting agencies (CRAs) collect and maintain information for your credit reports. Each CRA manages its own records and might not have information about all your accounts. Even though there are differences between their reports, no agency is more important than the others. And the information each agency has must be accurate.

Check your credit reports regularly to make sure that your personal and financial information is accurate. It also helps to make sure nobody's opened fraudulent accounts in your name. If you find errors on your credit report, take steps to have them corrected.

Contact the CRA directly to try to resolve the issue. The CRA should tell you the reason they denied your request and explain what to do next. Often, you will only need to provide information that was missing or incorrect on your application for a free credit report.

Making sure your credit report is accurate ensures your credit score can be too. You can have multiple credit scores. The credit reporting agencies that maintain your credit reports do not calculate these scores. Instead, different companies or lenders who have their own credit scoring systems create them.

Your free annual credit report does not include your credit score, but you can get your credit score from several sources. Your credit card company may give it to you for free. You can also buy it from one of the three major credit reporting agencies. When you receive your score, you often get information on how you can improve it.

Placing a credit freeze allows you to restrict access to your credit report. This is important after a data breach or identity theft when someone could use your personal information to apply for new credit accounts. Most creditors look at your credit report before opening a new account. But if you've frozen your credit report, creditors can't access it, and probably won't approve fraudulent applications.

If you want lenders and other companies to be able to access your credit files again, you will need to lift your credit freeze permanently or temporarily. Contact each credit reporting agency. You'll use a PIN or password to lift your credit freeze. You can lift your credit freeze as often as you need to, without penalties.

The credit reporting agency (CRA) and the information provider are liable for correcting your credit report. This includes any inaccuracies or incomplete information. The responsibility to fix any errors falls under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Negative information in a credit report can include public records--tax liens, judgments, bankruptcies--that provide insight into your financial status and obligations. A credit reporting company generally can report most negative information for seven years.

Information about a lawsuit or a judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. Bankruptcies can be kept on your report for up to 10 years, and unpaid tax liens for 15 years.

Anyone who denies you credit, housing, insurance, or a job because of a credit report must give you the name, address, and telephone number of the credit reporting agency (CRA) that provided the report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to request a free report within 60 days if a company denies you credit based on the report.

A medical history report is a summary of your medical conditions. Insurance companies use these reports to decide if they will offer you insurance. You have the right to get a copy of your report from MIB, the company that manages and owns the reporting database.

Use your medical history report to detect medical ID theft. You may have experienced medical iD theft it if there is a report in your name, but you haven't applied for insurance in the last seven years. Another sign of medical ID theft is if your report includes medical conditions that you don't have.

Policy makers need to resist the headlines and focus on the real problem that directly harms millions of Americans: the astounding number of errors in the credit reports that are the result of misaligned economic and legal incentives.

Equifax collects information from banks, mortgage servicers, debt collectors and other credit providers and sells raw data back to potential lenders. The data in your credit reports are aggregated into a single credit score (e.g. FICO score) which are widely used to determine if you qualify for a loan and if so, at what interest rate.

Lenders, especially the largest ones, have their own data and proprietary models, which they believe allow them to improve on the credit reports and make better credit decisions. Thus, they have less incentive to pay the higher fees that would be required to improve the underlying data.

This leads to a suboptimal world. Consider a credit file with a huge, but inaccurate red flag of a default. Imagine that only one lender knows that this default is inaccurate. That consumer would then be dependent on that one lender, who has the right information. Do you think that consumer would be able to shop for a good rate?

Change the liability structure for inaccurate data. Right now, no one is on the hook if there is incorrect information. The law only requires that the credit bureau check with the provider of the information that there is a claim. Penalize those who repeatedly provide inaccurate information. This would require actual investigations and would be expensive to conduct on all eight million complaints, so use a random sample. Even if only 5 or 10 percent of complaints were investigated, the threat of an investigation and the penalties from providing inaccurate information would incentivize data providers to clean up their act. And for those number of consumers who try to dispute everything, hoping to wipe out legitimate debts apply penalties to consumers and sham credit-repair businesses that make incorrect appeals. The investigations can be paid for though a combination of fees and penalties for chronic misreporters of information, with some seed funding from the credit bureaus. No taxpayer dollars would be needed.

Credit reports should be proactively made available to all consumers on a free, annual basis. If the system is still going to rely on consumers to identify errors, the system needs to provide that information more easily and freely to consumers. Whether mailed or emailed, credit bureaus know where you live and should send you the information. This would also help solve a real and likely growing problem of consumers who can not access their credit reports because of security freezes or other mismatched personal information which blocks them from obtaining the online version.

Embrace the world of big data and financial technology to lower the barriers to entry and increase competition. Increase the types of information that credit reports contain and that credit scores use, to include important information such as rent and utility payments, or regular remittances sent to family, that provide important information about credit worthiness. The existing big three benefit from industry standards that lower the cost of credit for those who use them and raise the cost for those that use newer issuers. Policy makers need to actively promote competition by creating pilot programs with regulatory safe harbors, or limited guarantees for financing that utilizes alternative credit reports and data. Absent more competition and innovation, calls to nationalize credit reporting may continue to grow, taking down a path that historically leads to less innovation and even worse efficiencies.

TIP: The credit bureaus must make sure that the information they collect about you is accurate. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law, requires this. But you want to check your credit report regularly to be very sure the right information is there. If you find mistakes, you can dispute them.

You have the right to get a free copy of your credit report every year from the three nationwide credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Some financial advisors suggest staggering your requests over a 12-month period to help keep an eye on your reports and make sure they have accurate information. The best way to get your free credit report is to

Now, you probably are wondering "Where do I stand?" To answer this question, you can request your credit score (for which there is a charge) or free credit report from (877) 322-8228 or

Whether you are preparing to buy a home, a new vehicle, or just staying up to date on your finances, taking the time to check your credit reports and credit scores can help prepare you to take the next step.

The FDIC is proud to be a pre-eminent source of U.S. banking industry research, including quarterly banking profiles, working papers, and state banking performance data. Browse our extensive research tools and reports. 041b061a72


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