When was the last time you checked your credit report? If it’s been longer than 12-months it’s time to check it now. Credit reports/profiles are used for far more than just “credit” these days Credit reports are used in background checks, the hiring process, to price your insurance and a whole host of items/processes that not only impact the interest rates you pay for items you buy on credit but also can impact your day to day livelihood. We’re going to show you how to get your free credit report following this brief commentary on why checking your report is so important and generally what you should be looking for when you review your personal credit report.
Identity theft is one of the leading crimes in the world. That’s right, the world. International criminals are looking for opportunities to steal your identity for every type of crime you can conceive. Persistently monitoring your credit is one of the many ways of protecting yourself. The only way to be aware of what is in your credit profile is to periodically review it.
When you review your credit report (profile) here are a few things you should look for:
Variations of Your Name – Check to be sure the names and alias on your credit report are correct. Your credit profile will reflect all the names or variations of your name that have been used to request credit or inquire about credit. Simple misspellings, say, “Mark” vs “Marc” or probably not too concerning, especially if you have applied for credit over the phone. You will want to write the credit bureaus and have the misspellings removed, even if you think it is an honest mistake. The bureaus will provide a form for you to use to make corrections. What should raise an alarm is when a name that is completely foreign to you appears on your credit profile, say “Robert” instead of “Marc.” In addition to having this removed you will want to carefully review all items, i.e. addresses, credit accounts, job history, etc., to be sure there is no inappropriate activity within your credit profile. If you notice inappropriate activity within your credit profile do not hesitate to contact the credit bureaus and or law enforcement to begin the corrections and to protect yourself. The information necessary to begin that process including contact information for the bureaus will be included with you free credit report.
Social Security Number – You only have one social security number! Be sure your credit profile doesn’t have any variations of that number. Variations to your social security number should be a red flag and be of concern to you. Carefully review every aspect of your credit profile for fraudulent activity: i.e. addresses, names, credit accounts not belonging to you, etc. Move quickly to address any concerns and have the variations in your social security number removed.
Date of Birth – Be sure your date of birth is correct, including month, day and year.
Addresses – As with your name, you should check the addresses that appear within your credit profile. Take action to correct, remove and or inquire with the bureaus to rectify any errors.
Job History – In many cases your job history will appear on your credit profile. Ensure this information is correct.
Credit Accounts – There are a couple of areas you should check with respect to your credit accounts. First, be sure all the accounts on your credit report are accounts you opened, intentionally. If you have collection accounts, at times it may be difficult to tell who the original creditor was. You may have to read the notes very carefully. If you don’t recognize an account and think that it is an error, contact the bureaus to have it investigated and or removed. You have the right to ask the creditor to prove that you are the owner of the account.
Next, check to be sure all of your credit accounts are being reported correctly. Correct reporting of credit activity includes, timely reporting of payments either on-time or late; balances are being reported correctly; closed accounts are indicated as closed or paid or transferred, etc., and the account numbers on accounts are the number reflected on your credit cards and or your billing statements.
A couple of final notes: reviewing your credit report has no impact on your credit score. It is not an inquiry that is counted against you. When Valley National Mortgage Company LLC reviews your credit report/profile we check for all of these things to verify that you are you, so should you!
These tips are things you should review at a minimum each year to ensure the integrity of your credit profile. Maintaining an accurate credit profile is critically to your financial health. In future posts we will discuss how to remove incorrectly reported items within your credit profile.
Get Your Free Credit Report!
You can receive a FREE copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus each year by clicking here.
Want more information on credit or other mortgage-related topics? Visit: www.justmymortgage.com