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Credit Reports Commonly Contain Errors

It is good practice for consumers to view their credit reports at least once a year due to the frequency of mistakes made. The national lobbying office for state Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG) stated that, "One in four credit reports contain errors serious enough to cause consumers to be denied credit, a loan, an apartment or home loan, or even a job." In a recent survey the PIRG found that:

- 70% of all credit reports contained errors of one kind or another.

- 29% of the credit reports contained errors serious enough to lead to the denial of credit, such as false delinquencies or accounts that did not belong to the consumer in question.

- 41% contained personal identifying information that was misspelled, long outdated, belonged to a stranger, or was otherwise inaccurate.

- 20% were missing important information that could demonstrate the creditworthiness of the consumer.

- 26% listed credit accounts as "open" when they had actually been closed by the consumer.

One of the reasons for mistakes is that not only do the CRAs track millions of Americans who have established credit, but the CRAs are also overworked and often understaffed which creates more room for error. These agencies either commit the errors and/or they allow the errors by not verifying information received. So although the CRAs are at fault for most of the mistakes, they lead you to believe that everything they report is 100% accurate. And if by some chance there is a mistake, the CRAs claim that it was committed by the people who provided the information and there is nothing they can do to change it. And they certainly won't tell you there are steps that can be taken to correct or delete these mistakes; after all, it only creates more work for them. However, by law, consumers have the right to dispute anything that is not a fair or accurate representation of their credit history; despite what the CRAs might say.