7 Steps to Clean Your Credit Report

Remember to check your credit report on a regular basis and not
when you are trying to make big purchases. In case you find errors
on your report, you need time to fix them.  Here are seven
steps to help clean your credit report.

1. Order a copy of your credit report

You are entitled to a free copy of
your credit report once
every 12 months from each of the three major credit-reporting
agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This can be obtained
through AnnualCreditReport.com.

2. Check the identification information

Make sure your name, address, social
security, birthdate and other identifying information is correct.
Small discrepancies, like nicknames, don’t affect your score, but
if there’s a more serious discrepancy such as an incorrect Social
Security number, you will need to fix it.

3. Scan your report for discrepancies
or old accounts

If you see an account you do not recognize, find out more about
it. Make sure it is your debt and not a mix-up.  Negative
information should fall off after 7 years and 10 years for
Bankruptcy.

4. Watch out for debts that appear
multiple times

This can occur when a debt has been
sold to a collection agency and sold numerous times. Sometimes the
original creditor does not strike the balance from its records.
This will appear that the consumer has two outstanding debts.

5. Dispute any mistakes

If you find an error on your credit
report, dispute
it.

6. Follow up

Keep notes and copies of all communication, and follow up with
the disputes.

7. What not to
worry

There are a couple items on your credit report that you should
not worry about such as closed accounts in good standing can remain
on your credit report and some credit inquiries. It is important to
concentrate on what is in the report and not the actual credit
score.

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