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Check Your Credit Report Regularly to Nip Trouble in the Bud; Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC will dispute erroneous and obsolete information on credit reports without charge to you.

Check Your Credit Reports Regularly.

Far too often, people don’t realize that they have a credit problem until something goes wrong. They may get the first inkling of trouble when they are denied a loan for an important purchase or start receiving collection notices for unfamiliar debts. By then, unfortunately, the damage has already been done – and it can be difficult to undo.

You can avoid unpleasant credit surprises by reviewing your credit report on a regular basis, whether or not you have any reason to think something might be amiss. Under federal law, you can receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union -- each year by writing to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

or by visiting the official annual credit report website, https://www.annualcreditreport.com.

What’s in a Credit Report?

Your credit report contains information about who you are, where you live, what you owe and how you pay your bills. It also indicates whether you have any collection judgments against you, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy. Since your credit report directly affects your credit score, having false or outdated information in your credit report can interfere with your ability to obtain a loan, rent a home, qualify for a mortgage or even get a job.

Inaccurate information can appear on your credit report for a number of reasons. Identity theft is involved in many cases, while others result from simple mistakes like mixing up two people with similar names. In other cases, information may be accurate but outdated. Most negative information can only appear on your credit report for seven years. Bankruptcies, however, can appear for 10 years, while criminal convictions can stay on your credit report indefinitely.

Removing Old or Inaccurate Information

If you discover false, inaccurate or outdated information on your credit report, it is possible to have it removed. The first step is to notify the credit bureaus in writing of any items that you want to dispute, explaining the facts and providing documentation to support your position. If the credit bureaus do not correct the inaccurate item, you should contact an experienced consumer protection attorney for assistance. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can sue for actual damages, statutory damages of up to $1,000 and attorney’s fees.

Free Assistance

Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC will dispute erroneous and obsolete information on credit reports without charge to you. In some cases, the erroneous or obsolete information will be removed, in which case you pay nothing. If it is not removed, and you have a good case, we will file a lawsuit against the credit bureau or information furnisher that failed to fix the error. ECLG is paid through an award of fees against the defendant, or a settlement in lieu of a fee award. Again, you pay nothing out of pocket.

Typical errors on credit reports:

o Accounts that are not yours. These can result from ID theft, mixed files, or other errors.

o Accounts that show a balance owed after bankruptcy.

o The report shows a balance due on a settled or paid account

o The report shows a balance after the creditor discharged the debt with a 1099-C

o Duplicate accounts on the credit report that do not show that the debt was sold to another entity.

However, the item actually has to be erroneous or obsolete (generally, more than 7 years old). It is not possible to remove accurate, non-obsolete information from a credit report. Many “credit repair” providers claim to be able to do this. They cannot. They also charge money for disputing items on credit reports. We do not.

Avoid credit-repair companies that offer to “erase” your bad credit or create a new credit identity for you – these are scams that aim to take your money, and they could get you involved in fraud or other illegal activities in the process.

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