More and more, credit reports are used to determine if you are worthy of buying what you’re requesting — a car, a house, that new retail building. But what´s on that report may surprise you. According to a study by U.S. Public Interest Research Groups, one in four people have mistakes on their credit report. These mistakes have cost jobs, rejected loans, and ruined many people´s lives.
“Credit is connected to our lives in every area and our scores determine our interest rates, insurance premiums and very livelihoods,” says Denise Richardson, consumer advocate and author of the new book Give Me Back My Credit! “We need to expose the high price consumers are paying for dirty data in order to fix a system gone terribly wrong.”
Richardson is just one of the millions battling errors on her credit report. She paid a little extra on her mortgage each month, hoping to shorten the length of her mortgage and pay less interest charges. That simple, recommended practice catapulted her into an epic David vs. Goliath battle stealing her true credit identity and a decade of her life. When her 10 year saga ended and she reclaimed her good name – that victory would be brief. Soon she realized others were shredding her credit and their illegal acts perpetrated against her would ultimately steal another five years from her.
That’s something that could ruin your small business. Here are five key steps to take to prevent credit errors from affecting your credit identity:
1. Check if your loan payments are applied accurately. Misapplications of your loan payments can prove costly.
2. Order your free annual credit report from the right place. annualcreditreport.com is the legitimate government mandated site. Watch for deceptive advertisements and copy cat websites that offer “free credit reports” but end up costing you.
3. Check the accuracy of open and closed accounts and any inaccurately applied late fees.
4. Check to see if paid off accounts are properly reflected as paid off.
5. Log all attempts made to correct inaccurate information in a day book or journal and send all requests for investigations of disputed accounts by certified mail.