GREENSBORO, N.C. — A new Consumer Reports investigation finds more than a third of consumers found errors on their credit reports.
“I have a very common name Robert Johnson, there are so many people that may so there have been instances where there have been errors on my credit report,” said Robert Johnson.
Robert Johnson checks his credit report up to four times a year and he’s not alone in finding mistakes.
According to the Consumer Reports investigation, out of nearly 6,000 people surveyed, more than one-third had at least one error on their credit report.
“This is stuff relating to where they have a credit card or how much in debt they are, to a certain institution. These are errors that if not fixed they can impact the consumer's credit score, ” said Syed Ejaz, Consumer Reports
That impact could affect other areas of the consumer’s financial life. Credit reports are used to determine the interest rate that a person can get on a loan, as well as they, are often referenced in quite a few employment decisions and keep people from getting a job.
29% of those surveyed found personal information errors such as a wrong name or address which can also cause problems.
“They won't be able to access their credit report if they can't get through the security verification,” said Ejaz.
Complaints to the consumer financial protection bureau about credit report errors have more than doubled since 2019.
During the pandemic, credit bureaus are allowing consumers to get a free copy of their credit report, every week through April 20, 2022, not just annually as they had in the past.
FREE WEEKLY CREDIT REPORTS
AnnualCreditReport is a government-based site to check your credit report
and now, you can check your credit report for free every week if you want to instead of just once a year.
Checking your credit report shows you what credit cards or loans are in your name. If you don't check, scammers could be opening up cards in your name and racking up bills.
This three-step process includes: filling out a form, picking the reports you want (and you should do all three, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union), and then requesting and reviewing, which will ask you specific financial questions. Be aware, you will be giving your social security number. You should print off your credit report and keep it in your files.
FREEZE YOUR CREDIT
You can ward off a scammer even having access to your financial identity by freezing your credit. This is also free. You should do it with all three credit bureaus.
WHY? Freezing your credit keeps anyone from opening up a credit card or loan or line of credit in your name. (You would only need to check your credit report once a year if you did this)
WHAT ABOUT USING YOUR CREDIT CARDS? Freezing your credit DOES NOT impact you using your credit cards. The only impact would be if you wanted to open up a new credit card or get a loan for a car or house. In that case, you would unfreeze your credit while you apply.
Why get a credit freeze? This allows you to block identity thieves from opening up credit in your name and steal your money. You should freeze your credit with all three credit bureaus. Use the links or do it by mail:
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348//1-800-685-1111
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013//1-888-397-3742
TU Protected Consumer Freeze
P.O. Box 380 Woodlyn, PA 19094//1-800-916-8800
And yes, you need to do it with all three. A freeze on one doesn’t mean an ID thief can’t try it on the other two.