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Woman fights $16K credit report error

Here's an excellent reason to pull your 3 major credit reports every year.

By Karen Datko Dec 26, 2012 5:14PM

Image: Pile of credit cards © Image Source, Getty ImagesIf you're one of the growing number of people who plan to make financial resolutions for 2013 -- 46% will, says Fidelity Investments -- let one of them be to pull a copy of each of your three major credit reports.


Who knows what mistakes are lingering there, damaging your credit scores and your ability to get a decent interest rate on a credit card or loan.


Case in point: A Roseville, Calif., woman pulled a credit report and found it listed a 2007 court judgment for $16,159 owed on a Chase credit card, according to a story on CBS Sacramento, although she did not possess a Chase card. She suspected identity theft was involved.


Heather Rose told consumer reporter Kurtis Ming that she didn't get any help from Chase or from the two credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion,  where she filed error disputes -- until she shared her story with the media.


"Those bureaus tell us they have no records of Rose filing disputes until after we got involved," Ming wrote.


Chase finally issued a letter clearing her of the debt, and the credit bureaus removed the error from her credit reports, the news report said.

Ming also notes that if the credit bureaus don't respond to a dispute, you can now contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can file an online complaint on the CFPB website on issues pertaining to credit reports, credit cards, other bank services, car and other consumer loans, student loans, mortgages and money transfers.


Of course, you won't know if there's an error on your credit report unless you take a look, and the CFPB says that only one in five consumers does every year (.pdf file). An error could cmoe from something as simple as a data entry typo, or from the result of an illegal act, such as a crook opening accounts in your name.


The New York Times' Bucks blog says only 16 million people get free credit reports through, a website that exists specifically for that purpose. There, you're entitled to one free report every year from each of the three major bureaus. It's widely recommended that you pull a different report every four months.


"By comparison, 26 million people obtained their reports though various credit monitoring services, which generally require consumers to pay for access to the information," The Times said.


The Federal Trade Commission is expected to issue a major study on credit reporting accuracy in 2014.


Have you resolved to pull your free credit reports? If you've had a problem with accuracy, were you satisfied with the way the dispute was handled?


More from MSN Money:

Dec 27, 2012 2:32AM

The credit reporting agencies have taken control of our lives.  We worry about our credit scores because they affect our ability to get a job, obtain insurance, and purchase homes, cars or whatever.  Yet have you ever tried to dispute an error on your report? 


We have become slaves to these agencies and what regulatory controls that exist are a joke.  These agencies need to be held responsible for what they report. 

Dec 27, 2012 9:13AM
Credit reports and ratings are just another scam.  Heck, they downgraded the US with hopes of  upping interest rates and increasing profits for their banking masters. These people profit from their own self importance. My opinion (and that is all they have too) is that credit raters have a F creditability rating.
Dec 27, 2012 10:51AM

Those who have negative information wrongly on their credit report should file a class action suit against the agencies for libel.

Dec 26, 2012 8:57PM
OK.  I have two bogus mortgages and four car loans but they don't show up on the credit reports because a false Social Security number was used.   Only the fake SSN shows up.  But the lender's CEO sells the information to Spokeo and it is published worldwide.  You can't prosecute Angelo Mozilo because he made a deal with the SEC, paid a fine and is free with over $600M profit.  The Social Security has the information but can't comment because it would endanger the civil rights of the person who actually has the bogus Social Security Number.  The FDIC finally acts against Spokeo (after two years) but only fines them for procedural errors, not theft, publication  and participation in identity theft.   The perpetrator of the theft is now free having paid her debit to society (She embezzled over $1.0M) and the district attorney thinks the matter is closed.  It's time someone took this type of crime seriously.
Dec 27, 2012 11:10AM

"Heather Rose told consumer reporter Kurtis Ming that she didn't get any help from Chase or from the two credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, where she filed error disputes -- until she shared her story with the media.'

"Those bureaus tell us they have no records of Rose filing disputes until after we got involved," Ming wrote."


The question is, "Does Heather Rose have a record of requesting help?" My suggest is anytime one makes a call to question this type of transaction they get the persons name, badge number and etc. then make a memo to file concerning what occurred. It is also good to follow up with a copy of the memo to the business with a return receipt requested letter.

Dec 27, 2012 1:47PM
I use to have an ultra high 845, or better, credit I have no credit rating (like an 18 year old)...I've been buying everyhting in cash the last 15, to me, credit ratings are ridiculous and useless if they don't stay intact.
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