Do you ever feel like the creditors and credit bureaus have all the cards? Like nothing is to your advantage – it’s all to theirs? Like you wish you have the “inside scoop” on how to get the credit repair self help you need?
Playing Fair With Credit Repair Help
First, the basics. There are things you can – and should – do to improve your credit score. Let’s talk about them before we get to the more heavy-duty, intense measures.
Order your credit report – preferably from all three credit bureaus, as they will differ. Then go through them with a fine-toothed comb. This is the first step to help with credit repair. Start with the personal information at the top. Be sure your full name, maiden name, nicknames, aliases…are all correct. Be sure the address is correct, especially the zip code. Look to be sure the social security number and driver’s license numbers are correct, along with any student ID numbers. Check your spouse’s information, too. Also check employer information – that the names, dates, locations, and type of termination are accurate. Anything in the personal section that is wrong should be disputed first, because that will make anything else easier to dispute.
After the personal information is correct, prioritize all remaining information that is wrong. Handle fixing the biggest influences on your credit report first. This means (in order) bankruptcies, foreclosures, loans, defaults, repossessions, court judgments, and collections (be sure it shows the delinquency date, not the collection date). Next consider all past due payments, late payments (once again, check dates carefully!), credit rejections (be sure the rejection was of you and not someone with a similar name, and also know why you were rejected). Finally, check the credit inquiries. Be sure these were from you and not a matter of fraud.
Now, the “meat” of credit repair help. Start disputing information that is wrong with the credit bureaus. Attach your letter to a current credit report copy, where you’ve highlighted the information you are disputing. Tell why you believe it is wrong, and include copies of supporting documentation. Keep copies of everything and send them to the credit bureau (each of them individually) by certified mail, return receipt requested. The credit bureau has 30 days to investigate your dispute. After that time, they must either tell you it was validated or remove it from your credit report.
If there are still items on your credit report helpful to have off, you can write directly to the creditor, requesting proof that it is your debt. Many times, original agreements with signatures are thrown away and there is no proof. Without proof that it is actually your account, they must remove it from your credit report.
Give the creditor seven days to get the proof to you. After that time, take action. Contact the Attorney General’s office and let them know that the creditor is damaging your credit with an account that isn’t yours. Tell them you requested proof but they don’t have it. Most Attorney General’s offices take these claims seriously.
Also, you can take the creditor to small claims court. Sue to have the information removed from your credit report, which will help your score. Creditors usually won’t show up to court. If they don’t show up, you automatically win. If they do, they must have proof that it is really your account.